When I hear the word “politics” I cringe and really try to avoid any situation where that topic may come up. Today it has become a topic to be avoided at all costs in conversation with those you live with, work with, or are friends with. It can very easily ruin friendships, create hostile tensions in the work place, or break up marriages. What is the cause of this? That is a very good question and can have many different answers for many different people. Personally, I am not very involved with the political campaign process or even politics in general.
Although, if I feel strongly enough about something I will stand up and fight for that topic and politics just happen to not be one of those topics. However my roommate is quite the opposite and I enjoy getting him fired up about politics and the presidential race because he knows I do not care nearly as much as he does. After talking about this assignment to my roommate and seeing what his thoughts and opinions were I started to pay closer attention to some of the things he said.
The more I would watch the news or get online to surf the web the more I noticed how much political analysts, news anchors, and writers really do influence the general population. Their opinions are everywhere and you cannot go a single day without reading or hearing something about politics. I really believe that people are very easily influenced today by what they hear and read. It is almost as if whatever the news anchors say on TV or what the newspapers write is the absolute truth.
People do not take what they hear with a grain of salt and often times the networks and newspapers are skewed because of the political ties or affiliations they have to either party. Another huge problem that I have noticed is that many young Americans do not vote or even refuse to vote. I think this is due to the fact that they do not feel their vote matters, and also I feel that people do not trust politicians. While doing some extra readings to prepare for this assignment I located an article in the JSTOR database talking about what Americans think about politics.
A very interesting fact I took from the article was that: “The 1994 National Election Study found, for example, that 77% of Americans under 30 said they trusted the Federal government to do the right thing only “some of the time” or “none of the time”; 79% thought that Washington was run to benefit just “a few big interests looking out for themselves”; and 54% believed that “quite a few” of the people in government are crooked”. That study was from 18 years ago and while I was reading through the article those numbers just jumped right off the page to me. I honestly believe that those numbers are even higher today.
There are many hot button issues today that are constantly debated and talked about that in my opinion cause Americans to trust the government even less. These topics range in from a wide variety but today the mains topics of discussion seem to be the war in Iraq, gas prices, and the state of our economy. Also I believe that the lack of trust is from all of the “mud-slinging” that goes on in a presidential campaign as well as some of the scandals that have arisen. A prime example of the recent scandals is the sex scandal the involved possible vice presidential nominee John Edwards.
I remember that being all that you heard of for the longest of times. An example of mud-slinging I believe being done is the media has to do with the Republican Vice President Nominee Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter being pregnant. It is sad to say that politicians are now followed as closely as many of the largest celebrities. They have people following them and trying to dig up every bit of dirt possible. Today’s political campaigns seemed to be filled with all of these promises that will never be fulfilled. In my opinion Presidential candidates will say whatever it takes to get the votes.
Each time they go speak to a certain group of voters it seems so obvious that their speeches make the promises and speak the words that the demographics of that crowd would want to hear. The young Americans of today’s societies are not as naive and stupid as some people make them out to be. I being in that category I know how the older generations of people think about my generation. I think if people want the Americans under 30 to start becoming more involved and care more there needs to be a complete overhaul of how things are done, such as the need for more balanced media coverage.
As mentioned earlier many of the opinions of newspapers or television stations are skewed are the political affiliations of the people in charge at that particular institution. I feel my opinion about politics are shared by many, and will only be recognized by more. The longer the political campaigns lengthen their time the more money that will be wasted on commercials trashing the opponents of whatever election is coming up. It is almost a way of life now.
Politics need to stop being such a soap opera and need to start meaning something today if people really want change to happen. Until more people get involved nothing will change, and less people will care. Change will be the only true way for Americans to start trusting politics again. When the promises start being fulfilled and the scandals stop happening is when I think Americans will stop hating the word politics and everything that the word means and stands for. Bibliography Bennet, Stephen E. “Why Young Americans Hate Politics, and What We Should Do about It. ” Political Science and Politics 30 (1997): 47-53.