Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I finally registered to vote

With so much of the media's coverage being of the presidential campaign, it is hard not to get involved in the 'race' in some form or another. No matter where I turn, I hear about the debates, or how Hillary cried, or how Obama and Hillary are fighting, or how Bill Clinton has gotten too involved, and all sorts of other stories. The stories are on the televison, they are on all the news websites, they cover the front page of the paper, and they are discussed on the radio. Now, more than ever, the media has forced me to pay attention to politics. Likewise, I feel that my fellow classmates and friends have become involved in the campaign as well.

The fact that the campaign is described as a 'race' or the 'fight' for the presidency, it involves fighting, rooting for your 'team', and joining with others to discuss these important topics. Not only is this a presidential race, it is something that has brought people together for a common goal, to get their candidate elected. Never before have I cared so much about politics until these past few months; and I have the media to thank for that. They have helped me to set my agenda, not forcefully but because everywhere I turn I can't help but hear about a candidate and the conflicts that are taking place. The way they describe it as a 'race' and a 'fight' makes it not only interesting to read, but extiting. I want to see who 'won' the debate last night or who thought of better comebacks when they were confronted by the other canditates. Even if I was not able to watch a debate the night before, I will look online or grab a newspaper the next morning to see who 'won' or who is leading the 'race'.

Schudson talks about this idea in his book 'The Sociology of News'. He says, "..journalists see politcal careers as more oriented to politics as a game than to politics as policy." (pg 92) He goes on to say, "The tendency of reporters to emphasize the game rather than the policy implications has increased over time..the plundge of journalism into the entertainment business, this is an old complaint." (pg 93)

This idea of turning politcs into a game and entertainment, I see more of a good thing than something to complain about. The fact that I find this eleciton entertaining and interesting has caused me to become involved with the process and even motivated me to finally register to vote. Turning 18 was great for me but not because I could register to vote. I had never taken interest in politics before and just because I turned 18 didn't make me become more involved. But now, two years later, this presidential race has engaged me and made me excited to vote. I wouldn't miss my chance to help change the future of my country. While I do see how some would be annoyed with the 'race' and 'entertainment' view the media has placed on the campaign, I believe that it has helped many who have never cared for politics to become involved. One just needs to be smart enough and aweare of the media's presence and do as much research on the candidates as possible. While they may read about a fight between Obama and Clinton on healthcare, it is their responsibility to not only know who won the 'fight' but WHY they won it and WHAT their position is on health care.

I am excited about politics for the first time in my life (along with many people my age) and I have the media to thank for that.

1 comment:

ArtfulDodger said...

I think it's great that you registered to vote, and that you find the "race" portrayal of politics to be entertaining, and engrossing. As a big fan of politics, I'm glad to hear that another person is making their way in.

While I don't necessarily think the portrayal of politics as a "game" is very good, it's reassuring to know that it can bring educated people into politics. As long as people stay aware that it's not trivial, it's not a game, and that it's real life. Come for the excitement, stay for the reality I suppose...

Welcome to the fray, it's fun and frustrating but we're glad to have you aboard.