In journalism school, we like to talk a lot about reporters’ role in a democracy. Inform the public of affairs! Power to the people! Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable!
Too bad there’s a lot of pre-election reporting that falls into the so-called Horse Race; rather than covering the issues, journalists pick up on the minute details of a politician’s behavior, or unflattering fashion choice, or accidental speech flub. When paired with the negative campaign ads that saturate the t.v., is it any wonder that voters get turned off from politics?
In fact, on Tuesday, only one-third of Missourians are expected to go out and vote.
Perhaps our election coverage should cover voting itself. We’ve come a long way since the new American nation considered land-owning white men as the only people worthy of voting. It’s important to remember that women and minorities had to fight for their right to vote. It’s also important to remember that laws continuing to disenfranchise minorities still exist.
I know that the upcoming elections are only the mid-terms. Maybe it’s not glamorous or exciting to vote on state amendments or local ballot issues, but they have direct implications for you. You’ve got a day left–that’s plenty of time to get educated about your state, district or town. (If you’re in Missouri, by the way, here’s a good place to get yourself up to speed.)
So in the end, it’s up to you. Power to the people! Go and vote!