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I am a registered voter who identifies as an Independent. I’ve lived in two red states and one blue city. For 32 years, I’ve rarely had a candidate to consider and forced to evaluate prospective and incumbent candidates from the two major political parties, Democrat or Republican.

To be a consistent and determined voter without any major party affiliation compels me to work extremely hard to make the best decision. Truthfully, we should all aspire to be informed voters and make our own decisions even if it means going against party, family, or friends from time to time.

Several speakers at this year’s conventions stated that we should vote for the person who speaks to you and speaks for you. I emphatically agree with that statement. However, as an independent and informed consumer, I am still waiting to hear about roadmaps for my city, state, and country.

Agendas, platforms, and ideologies do not create a sense of hope for improving schools, criminal justice reform, economic growth and opportunity, quality of life, health care, and how to be better stewards of our natural resources. Many of them are baseless statements which foster divisiveness and endless propaganda. They are not solutions to the many problems affecting humankind locally, nationally, and internationally.

As we enter the election season, many registered voters will strive to seek credible information from the prospective and incumbent candidates. I have spent countless hours watching both national conventions and the subsequent commentaries and analyses on MSNBC, Fox News, and the traditional broadcast news stations.

This practice is exhausting but necessary. Sadly, this year it feels depressing because we are not speaking to each other nor framing an environment which fosters diverse and productive discourse.

To those voters who are frustrated, undecided, or feeling helpless, I say educate yourself and vote. Honestly, I feel I have voted against someone more than I have voted for someone but I vote! I vote for a person not a party because there is a spectrum within each political party. You cannot assign an entire party to the left or the right.

We must omit the term ‘all’ and research the original principles of the parties and determine where each candidate resides philosophically. Candidates need to know and understand that independent and undecided voters want to be informed and respected not entertained, discarded, or taken for granted.

Philip Walker,

Hendersonville

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