October 16, 2012

A New Blog by a Political Science Student

I wanted to call your attention to a new blog, Life in Politics, by Mackenzie Scholte, a junior political science major at Anderson University. She just started working for the Indiana Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign. In the past week, Mackenzie has attended the Bill Clinton rally for Joe Donnelly and John Gregg, gone door-to-door canvassing voters, and made endless phone calls trying to determine the extent of support for Democrats.

What is most interesting is that her blog both records and analyzes her experience.
For example, she recently wrote about how some of the people that she called scolded her for working for the Democratic party. But after noting those responses, Mackenzie writes:
While this response isn't all that surprising to me, it does bother me. One of the many reasons that I want to be involved in politics is because I'm tired of this partisan animosity. It would be wonderful if people were even willing to talk to each other! I'm not saying you have to agree on ideology, just agree to a conversation! More upsetting than people who were so set in their ways that they hung up on me after hearing the word "Democrat," were the people who listened to what I had to say but told me they didn't care or didn't know. It's heartbreaking to me that we live in a country where we are given the right to actively participate and so many people choose not to.
I, too, am concerned about the lack of participation (62% turnout in 2008, 41% in 2010) and general apathy among the American public. I've been wondering recently whether there are different kinds of apathy. I'd like to know what percentage of citizens are truly apathetic (don't care at all about politics) and what percentage are "apathetic" because of the polarization and incivility in political discourse. Perhaps many people choose to avoid politics because they've had to pay an emotional price for asking a question or expressing an opinion. I have yet to do the research on this question, but it's one I think is worth asking.

In the meantime, I'm thankful we have students who want to make a difference by countering that partisan animosity with Christian humility.  My hope is that those qualities permeate the Political Science program at AU. The more that happens, the greater the hope I have.

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