Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Time and Again

I was in or at six different polling places one week ago, and something really jumped out at me.

Most people involved in the political process-- the candidates, the election workers, the campaign volunteers, and even the voters are all old.  There were exceptions-- some young candidates and their helpers.  For example, a 26 year old ran for council in the town where I live.  A 23 year old is on his way to becoming a Scranton school director.  Those exceptions were few and far between.

So, that leads us to the question:  How do we get younger people involved in the process?  You can't follow my example.  I was always a news geek, staying up late at night to watch Tom Powell crunch the election numbers on the old WDAU.  Watching old network TV election nights is one of my favorite You Tube pastimes.  By the way, people raved about Cronkite and his team at CBS.  They were great-- but, John Chancellor over at NBC was as smooth and knowledgeable as they came.  Chancellor was always underrated. 

Are schools dropping the ball?  Probably.  I meet a lot of college kids and industry newbies who know very little about the political process.  Can we do a better job as broadcasters?  Likely.  We need to show more things people "need" to know, but will people watch?

Something else jumped out of me when I examined the tear off strip at the bottom of my paper ballot.  I was the first independent to vote in my ward, and I cast my ballot around 1 PM-- six hours after the polls opened.  The powers that be did an extremely poor job of letting non Democrats and Republicans know they could vote on ballot questions and members of the Lackawanna County government study commission.

Turnout, overall, was poor-- in spite of some very important things going on.

I really don't have a good feeling about the future of our system.