Saturday, October 21, 2006

Media and Elections

How can we effectively get information about candidates running for political office? How much do TV commercials influence our opinions? Why is voter turnout in the US so low? Are voter “apathetic” or do they feel their voice is falling on deaf ears? Who actually votes?

PLEASE remember to collect and bring in any political mail, or TV commercials for Wednesdays class.


Superfly said...

In class Ms. Grantz brought up voter apathy and Brown and the few people that felt like speaking that day denied that people aren’t voting because they really don't care. I can only speak from my own experience (write what you know, ah ha) but I really must agree with Ms. Grantz on this one, even if the only real example that I have to go on here is my mother.

Whenever I ask my mother who she's voting for, she states explicitly “I don't care.” Who cares about senators and congressmen and assemblymen and whoever else? It's not the president. Maybe she doesn't know that the president is not the all-holy lawmaker that we make him out to be and maybe she doesn't realize that she has the power to affect change in her community, but I am still inclined to think that she, like many people, just doesn't care. If it is not affecting her directly (AKA: the person for whom she's casting her ballot isn't taking off their shoes and sitting in our messy living room, getting cat hair on their pants and chatting about team sports) she does not care.

Most Americans are happy if there's gas in their SUV's (grumbling about the price is easier than actually trying to do anything about it), beer in the fridge, and something exploding on the television set. It takes too long to affect change, to have tangible results, and motions passed. You don’t get that instant gratification that Americans have been conditioned for, so most Americans have just stopped caring.

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by
the majority who participate.”
-Thomas Jefferson, third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

W Brown said...

Excellent use of the Jefferson Quote!

carolina barberii said...

I agree with Superfly, I think people don’t care because they think whatever a congressman/senator/assemblymen etc. enforces wouldn’t apply to them or affect their everyday life. I think that those who don’t vote simply don’t have the time to do any research on the running candidates. Political commercials today just aren’t reliable, most are used to bash the other candidate and exaggerate over their own achievements. Unfortunately enough commercials are a main source for most people to realize there is an election going on. I also believe that social classes play a major role in who votes and who doesn’t. The lower class is primarily uneducated and therefore uninformed of what the right decision would be, the middle class is simply too comfortable. We have free public schooling and other advantages what else could we ask for? And the upper class and senior citizens are probably the only ones with enough time on their hands to make a well thought out vote/decision. I don’t mean to put down those with less money but this is unfortunately what our society has come to be. I think a lot people don’t realize that they can make a difference in the simplest ways. I strongly encourage those who are qualified to vote to do so; I think the results would be very interesting and appealing to everyone for a change. Speaking to my sister the other day I actually realized how much we put in the hands of our senator per say. Frank Padavan makes plenty of major decisions for the businesses in our area. My sister works at the Queens Center for Progress, a facility for the mentally disabled; Frank Padavan determines what rules to go by and how much money to grant them for crucial funding such as providing free intakes for people who don’t have insurance etc. These are life changing decisions that we put in this mans hands and most people don’t realize that. Of course voting for senator may not be as directly crucial as for voting for president but it goes hand in hand. We deserve to know who is taking control of local decisions because they could somehow affect the way we live.

zohra said...

I think that voters need to be more aware of the power that they hold. Voting is a right that is given to those who are of age, and responsibility for it. It is a known fact that Americans are slow to the polls and only get less than 20% of the people out there to vote, compared to India which we had mentioned in class gets about 90% of the people to vote. I wondered why that is being that America may be the more successful country, but I feel that you have to look at whose willing to push for change and whose laying low and letting the rest take care of it. I think Americans are lazy to vote and don’t care because of the type of situation they might be in. I think that since Americans are so lazy to vote, and spend most of their time watching television, the television is the best way to attack those couch potatoes and those who watch the news and see the commercials in-between. These political adds become a dog eat dog campaign cutting all the stops out and getting down to dirty politics. These advertisements pull out low blows and try to reveal the dirty of their opponent. I think that if I was a discouraged voter, and saw the childish and absurd comments being portrayed through commercials to bash another opponent It would make me disgusted and not even bother to vote. Being an American almost everything on TV lies to you and isn’t guaranteed, I think that the people running the country should at least have the decency to not lie or pull their dirty tricks out just to gain votes. Doing this doesn’t show the best part of your candidacy but the dark side to the fake personality. I strongly believe that voters are not encouraged to come vote because they aren’t being told of what the candidates really stand for and want to achieve. I think that voters do feel that their voice falls on deaf ears because they feel that no one else is waking up to vote to change tomorrow, and feel that their just going to be another unimportant vote. I always agree with Superfly in the fact that in this fast and upbeat day to day world, many don’t feel they have to vote because it doesn’t affect their life at home, or work, so why bother going out to vote. Voters need to be informed not by dirty advertising but solely on what they have done, and plan to do when elected. There is no need to fling dirty remarks towards candidates and compare themselves because they are running against each other because of their different views.

Don't Panic said...

The words " I don't care" seem to be used alot when referred to voters thoughts and actions. Doesn't it occur to them that they are losing sight of what this country is. This country relies on the thoughts and votes of people. For those who say i don'r care or how does it affect me. Any voting or anything to do with the country or you state does have value. The candidates will say different, because they want to work with the little numbers that come out to vote. I agree with Joanna it may not be hurting us as an individual but it is hurting us as a whole. We have to vote and use our rights to help with the descisions of everyday life. I believe this generation should learn and by the time we come of age to vote (which is soon)we should all be there voting and raising the numbers. Whether we like it or not we all care and have an oppinion of how this country should be run.
Michelle Asciote

~RitaMarie~ said...

I completely agree with superfly and carolina. I'll admit that up until I took this class, I was the same way and cared less about politics and what was going on in the world around me. I guess it was never presented to me on what seemed to be a relevant or practical point. I didn't plan on voting when I turned 18 because, as was presented and spoken about in class, I felt I was not politically educated enough to make a decision and that someone who was could feel free to decide for me. Now, I think completely different and I am constantly amazed at the stupidity and irrationality in the world today. Even if I as one individual person think this way, I am sure that this class has made others aware so that we don't take the oppertunity to vote for granted.