Editor: Frank Gormlie recently posted his third in a series about “Left versus Right” and asked for feedback from OB Rag bloggers and friends. Nate responded with the following – and in doing so reminded us of some of our weak points in describing politics. Politics CAN be fun. OB political activists have enjoyed a lot of fun over the decades in being political. So, we asked Nate to tweak his response a bit and post it. So, please bear in mind, that we can benefit from this type of discourse with our fellow citizen journalists and wish to improve our communication skills.
Let me preface this by saying that I once got a ‘D’ in a political science class. Yes, that’s right. I showed up to class, took notes, wrote entire papers, went to the final, and still got a D.
You see, I’m extremely talented when it comes to “filtering-out” things I find boring. Been doing it my whole life! When I was a kid, it was zoning-out during the commercials that interrupted my Saturday morning cartoons. Today it’s skimming past ads in the margins of a website. Call it ADD if you want. But I believe it’s just how I deal with the daily bombardment of information.
In the third installment of “Left vs Right“, Frank brought up the subject of political apathy. Now I’m going to blow the lid off this previously undocumented phenomenon:
Reasons I’m turned off by overtly-political discussions:
- too many -isms
- I like to be persuaded by facts, not by emotions, finger-pointing or oversimplifications
- strong opinions make me dubious
- my ears cancel-out the following words: libs, conservatives, dems, GOP, etc…
- I’d rather chat it up with a telemarketer
- zone out
- think about old episodes of “Full House”
- seek alternate forms of information/entertainment
- question whether this is even a legitimate problem
I wholeheartedly agree with Frank’s sentiment: being turned off to politics so much that you tune it out is a dangerous game… The world needs political debate! But I prefer listening to an objective analysis, when issues are broken down into their parts. That way I get to decide for myself. Here’s a few tips on how to reach the politically apathetic.
Stick to the facts (just the facts, Ma’am). Then I’m more likely too:
- attempt to find patterns
- decide how the matter affects me
- discuss the issue later, say, at the dinner table
Humor doesn’t hurt. I think it’s wonderful when people:
- acknowledge the flaws in their own logic
- identify the limits of what they know
- tactfully debunk a popular idea that’s being taken for granted
- ridicule themselves, not attack a TV personality or political figurehead
In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with the BIG questions facing political apathy today:
- What are the joys of being turned on to politics?
- What are the trade-offs?
- What’s the best way to reach listeners? Emotional appeal? Scare tactics? Logic?
- Will talking about politics make me cool? If so, how cool are we talking?