Watch, Listen, Evaluate!

President Obama officially began his campaign for reelection last week. The consensus among most is that Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate seeking the presidency. In a couple of months the political conventions will have been completed and the speeches will begin in earnest. Certainly you must vote, but between now and November 5 you must also watch,  listen, and evaluate.

There are distinct differences between the two men in the direction each thinks our country should go. You also have definite beliefs about our country’s direction. Determine for yourself what those are and then make a decision on which candidate will best carry out your beliefs. To do that you have a responsibility to listen to their speeches and their answers to questions from us constituents, evaluate those positions, and then vote for the best candidate.

As you watch them speak, determine which one best seems to speak with the most passion, the one who seems to care most for his audiences, and the one you think will best represent us to the world.

Listen for key ideas that tell you which policies he wants to implement as President. What evidence does he present for each key idea?  Is there enough evidence to warrant such a plan?  Listen for examples that explain what he wants to do as President. Does he demonstrate depth in his knowledge about issues at home and abroad?  Can you follow his train of thought easily, demonstrating that he has thought through carefully the ideas he is advocating?

Listen to as many speeches as you can to check for consistency in his ideas and beliefs. Does he seem to pander to an audience what they want to hear? Or he is willing to say some things they might not want to hear, but that are in the best interests of our country? 

Finally, evaluate what you have listened to. As you listen and answer the questions above, then you must make a choice. That choice cannot be based on which one is the best looking or which one comes across best on the late night talk shows. You must watch, listen, and evaluate to fulfill your responsibilities as a United States citizen.

Even if your choice does not win in November, at least by practicing these three critical skills you have earned the right to complain when policies are implemented that you disagree with!

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Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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