Home > Uncategorized > Blog 11: Democracy Through the Decades

Blog 11: Democracy Through the Decades

The pathways to disconnection from government are many: adults are frequently negative about politics, the tone of the press is often cynical, candidates seldom appeal directly to young voters on their own terms about their concerns, politicians have poisoned the public well (particularly in the United States) with vitriol and negative campaigning, and young people see the media filled with inauthentic performances from officials who are staged by professional communication managers.

From generation to generation, the goals of our American democratic society have been constant. We already know that in order to maintain our status as a democratic nation there must be a number of qualities present. Examples would included different levels of government, a system of checks and balances, policy reflecting the will of the people, free and fair elections, civil rights and liberties, etc… We have all had American government. However, what has changed since my parents were in their 20’s is the level of informed citizenship and the interest in politics as a whole.

The article we read for this week talks about how politics has become a dirty word rather than a commonly accepted vocabulary for personal expression. My parents were in their early 20’s around the early 1970’s. During this time there were a number of prevalent issues including America’s involvement in Vietnam and an on going Civil Rights battle. Although we are still facing major issues in today’s society such as the war in Iraq and current economic turmoil, the 70’s seemed to be a time of significant political involvement and outcry from young citizens. Today, the internet and other more modern forms of potential political engaging tools has offered a new way for youth to be involved politically. However, many people argue that there is also a disengaging factor for the younger generations that has witnessed a decline in face-face and local participation, interest in news and public affairs, and a general trust for individuals.

As far as my grandparents are concerned, their political opinions have certainly been put to the test throughout the decades. This is in large part to the constant evolution of the media. First, there was the “Fireside chat” via the radio. Then, they had access to about three television channels, one of those being devoted to news. As time rolls on, so has the development of television, radio, and most recently, the internet. Personally, I notice that my grandparents involvement in politics is definitely different than mine. I rely on the internet while my 88 year old grandfather doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer. He would much rather spend the morning reading the paper and watching Katie Couric. Obviously, media developments over the decades has had influence on how citizens have chosen to exercise their democratic rights.


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