As this newspaper went to press last night, it was the grand finale of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

As this newspaper went to press last night, it was the grand finale of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

That coming on the heels of the Republican National Convention the week prior in Tampa.

For one, thankfully this political theater is over. These choreographed events have become nothing more than an exercise in telling everyone how wonderful they are and how bad the other guys have become.

These conventions might be better viewed on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" where the robot guy and his human buddy could at least say some funny things for the audience. Without that, it's dry, dry, dry.

The problem with these conventions is they all all scripted for television. That's a long way from the old days when cigar-chomping delegates would get into fistfights on the floor over their favorite candidates.

Hey, maybe UFC could get involved with the conventions?

Seriously, though, the fact the conventions are now over mean the campaign has begun in earnest.

Our television screens are already being bombarded with commercials telling us how bad these people are or how good those people are, etc.

In this day and age of big money, the political machines are hoping they can use the power of sound bites to persuade you how to vote. They believe the short attention spans of people will simply buy into these commercials whether they are true or not.

That's were people can make a difference.

Everyone should do as much research as possible on all of the candidates. Don't believe some paid actor in a television commercial who tells you this guy is the worst person in the world. Paid actors are just that, paid to tell whatever they are told to say.

One of the beautiful things about this day and age of instant communication is how accessible information has become.

All candidates have websites and all of them put up their positions on various issues. It's out there for the taking but, unfortunately, most people don't take the time to look.

There are also many independent, fact-checking organizations who put out information about what candidates say versus what is actually the truth.

Make sure you find an independent group, and there are many, then delve in and search for the truth. Sometimes, the truth is hard to bear because your favorite candidate might just be saying things which aren't quite true.

It is better, however, to know the truth before you make the decision about casting a vote.

It is unfortunate that most people won't take the time to do the research and find out about issues for which they care deeply. Too many will fall prey to the political fat cats who use the power of persuasion to influence how people vote.

That's not only a sad comment about the bought-and-paid-for party hacks who will say anything and do anything, it's also a sad comment on society as a whole.

All of us should take some time and just think about how we hurry through everything and then when serious issues arise, we are uninformed. We are all guilty of this at one time or another.

So the challenge to all of us is do the research and cast your vote based on an informed decision, not on information spewed in your face by someone who only wants to sway your thoughts.