Turn to Stone: Why the State of Modern American Politics has Depressed both Turnout and Interest in the Electoral Process
With every election cycle, it appears voter turnout is on a downward trajectory. Many factors have led to decreased turnout and depressed interest in elections. I will do my best to explain these factors in the next paragraphs.
A major factor in depressed turnout is the perception of an out-of-touch government. And who could blame them? Congress acts on its own accord, passing laws without public consent, and townhall meetings have been reduced to campaign rallies and canned stump speeches. Eventually, the public realizes that they’re not given a real choice in the elections. They’re just voting for the lesser of the two evils. And soon enough, the public gets bored with the whole thing. Why do you think turnout is, best case scenario, 30% in most places? People have lost interest in voting for a Congress seemingly independent of the people that voted them in and canned stump speeches. Then there’s the matter of the endless campaigning.
Campaigns, it seems, tend to start the day after the last election was held. It is believed that the only way to remain visible is to do the political equivalent to Bob Dylan’s “Never Ending Tour.” Instead of campaigning all the time, the politician needs to represent the values of his constituents and be held accountable for how he votes. Townhall meetings should be utilized to get the pulse of the voting public regarding one matter or the other. But that would be too inconvenient for the politicians, wouldn’t it? This is why Congress’ approvals don’t crack double digits. And have you seen some of the advertisements they run, which trash their opposition? Ugh.
When a politician hasn’t done his job right and he knows it, he doesn’t admit his sins to the public. Oh no. Instead, he seeks to define his opposition through the use of attack ads. These ads are considered his best option if he wants to survive this election cycle, and, to some extent, they are right. These ads have been known to swat on-the-fence voters who tune into the election later than most. But they can also leave a sour taste in people’s mouths, resulting in a politicians’ eventual defeat. These ads also play a pivotal role in turning people off entirely to politics, which often leads to depressed turnout.
These are what I believe to be the major reasons for the high level of disinterest in participating in our electoral system. I hope I have presented my reasons in a clear and ordered fashion, and have educated people in the process.
PS, 3 years ago yesterday, the Tea Party came to the forefront of modern American Politics. This is a tribute to them.
“Turn to Stone” is an unsung political anthem written by Joe Walsh and Terry Trebandt, which describes the frustrations of average Americans toward a seemingly corrupt, tyrannical government(written during the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s resignation). The term “turn to stone” alludes to Americans performing a sort of Midas Touch on the system, except the government is not deemed worthy enough to be turned into gold. They are, instead, turned to stones. In other words, the government officials are reduced to what the average American experiences on a day-to-day basis.
This is one man’s interpretation of the song. Enjoy.