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COLUMN: Stay interested, stay awake



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Donald Trump and and Hillary Clinton shake hands on stage after the second debate between the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.  Tribune News Service / St. Louis Post-Dispatch Buy Photos

For my last column of the semester, I’d like to give a bit of advice to readers of all political ideologies: question everything.

As we enter a new four-year term, don’t lose your interest in politics. Keep reading the news, keep forming your own opinions and know that politicians say and do everything for a reason. Nothing is done without some sort of ulterior motive, and knowing those motives can help us better understand how the government is working for — or against — us.

Read articles from sources that challenge your own viewpoint. Try to find data to back up statements, and if you can’t find any, don’t let a passionate claim persuade you.

Democrats need to stay just as alert in the future as they have been during the campaign. Painful though it may be to watch Trump take over the White House, he should have our attention and scrutiny every step of the way. Don’t stop protesting. Even after the post-election chaos has died down, keep fighting for your beliefs, especially when the policy making process begins.

In one of my previous columns, I contrasted this loss with a World Series defeat — it’s not something we can get over in a few days. It’s also not something the country will recover from in the next four years, or maybe longer. Don’t forget the reasons you were upset Nov. 9 because they will continue to create issues with our governance, and we need to pay attention.

And Republicans, don’t take Trump’s words at face value. Even if you agree with some of his views, refuse to internalize all of them without evaluating how they align with your own values first. Take a closer look at his cabinet choices; look into their backgrounds, their finances and their ulterior motives, along with the conflicts of interest that may arise because of those motives.

In my first column, I emphasized the importance of paying attention and holding our government accountable. It’ll be more important now than ever to watch how our state representatives vote and listen to what they say. So, have a great holiday season, enjoy 2017 and please, stay awake.

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