Monday, November 1, 2010
Midterm Elections are Tiring.
We are a nation filled with candidates who smear one another, a nation of Americans who need to hear about witchcraft or a Nazi reenactment to become engage in a political conversation. We are seemingly more like a nation with Attention Deficient Disorder who cannot focus for too long on an issue, rather than a nation who is about to see significant change sweep our country.
I spoke with Allison Hibbs, 31, student and freelance writer from Albany, New York regarding this years midterm elections. It’s safe to say that I am not the only one who thinks negative campaigning is taking away from the issues at hand.
“Most obvious this season, I think, is the negative campaigning and general vitriol that has been spewed throughout the campaigns,” said Hibbs. “For example, I do think it's relevant to voters to know that one of their candidates occasionally enjoys dressing up as a Nazi with his son... but I don't think it matters one bit whether someone practiced Wicca years ago. Yet, O'Donnell has gotten FAR more negative attention for that than for her policies.”
Christine O’Donnell has been plastered all over the news for her comments regarding masturbation and witchcraft. I could not tell you a single policy this woman stands behind but I can tell you that she questioned the separation of church and state. Is this important? Of course, but I also need to hear about the issues.
When it comes to who owns the coverage of the elections I could not give you a straight answer. With the rise of social media election coverage is everywhere. My personal Twitter account if filled with tweets from news sources regarding the latest happenings in the political world. The New York Times recently posted an interactive graphic showing the latest tweets regarding the election from October 21 to November 1. As people post tweets related to the candidates running for governor or the Senate, their circles grow and shrink. Clever.
Where does a girl without a television go to for political news? Well, a hell of a lot of places. I frequent The New York Times (The Caucus Blog: The Politics and Government Blog of The Times), Politico, Times Union (Capitol Confidential), NPR, Drudge Report, Stars and Stripes (to get the military aspect), and I love Esquire Politics blog. I also follow Election Projection to see how things are playing out. Aside from that, I check out the candidates personal websites and watch debates.
Star and Stripes had a post today outlining what is at stake for the military in the upcoming elections. “What election night could mean for the troops” by Leo Shane III highlights several issues including the repel of DADT, troop withdrawals, and the closing of Guantanamo Bay. These issues hit especially close to home and if the GOP make major gains like some predict the military will be in flux.
Whether it is through her phone apps or RSS feed, Hibbs is also very connected to the election. “I really like MSNBC (and their new Lean Forward tag line), I have a CNN Election Center App on my Droid, I try to read the Times and the Post when I have the time, I occasionally check in with CNN.. and I have a whole host of political RSS feeds,” said Hibbs. “Also, I've been very involved in the state elections, so I watch and read YNN and the TU pretty regularly. I have certain blogs that come right to my phone and laptop.”
After tomorrow all speculation ends when the votes are tallied. There will be debates over coverage, campaign ads, what hurt or helped a candidate, and who reached out to the voters. Regardless of the ridiculous spectacle known as the campaign season, we will finally have the answers to what party has gained or lost, where the country is leaning, and what issues take precedence.Don't forget to vote!