With mid-term elections just around the corner I find my thoughts drifting back to the elections a few Novembers ago, yes, that election. (I’d only been back in the U.S. for a few years so was thrilled to be able to watch the debates (live and on T.V.) and get caught up in the drama, the arguments and the intensity of it all.) Some view the day the final tallies came in as a death others as a rebirth. But, I’d like to argue that the greatest victory of the last election had nothing to do with a result and everything to do with a resurgence of community engagement. Do you realize that the voter turnout was the highest it had been in over 30 years (http://to.ly/7awG)? People not only talked about their beliefs, they actively did something to back them up.
As we approach November I’ve noticed that something’s missing… it’s eerily quiet. Sure there’s lots of political noise occurring on newscasts, the radio and TV but the activity seems to be contained to those spaces & the community at large isn’t talking about these elections. In fact, most people don’t even know there’s an election coming up. In 2008 everyone was talking about the election, you couldn’t escape it. Tina Fey even came out of semi-SNL retirement for the conversation. I get it, the mid-term elections don’t have the level of pomp that you’d see in a presidential election. We’ve all been told that the decisions of the president have less bearing on our day to day lives than those made by the Senate, the House or local councils but a lot more work is required to learn the names, faces and deciding issues for those elections. I don’t really know where I’m going with all of this. I guess coming out of the last election I’d hoped that the energy and spirit of 2008 would spill over to the community at large, that we’d continue to engage in the issues and decisions that affect our lives. Maybe it has but I’m not seeing it.