by Aaron Brehm

In terms of life’s big guarantees, birth and death seem to bookend the timeline; however, many other assurances fill in the timeline’s gaps. One of these crevices is filled with politics. There’s an infection — a global, inescapable spread of political communication that seeps into a person’s life. From childhood to adulthood, political messaging and bias can be seen on mass media outlets, purposely shaping and fueling an individual’s stance. Turn those outlets off, and you’re still greeted with the opinions of your family members. Ignore talking to your family, and you’re still bombarded throughout the day by just being a member of their respectable community as issues inside your own community are always politically based. An interaction with politics is inevitable as political features are tiresomely abundant throughout the routine of the everyday.

From an early age, the influences of political messaging can be trickled down into the minds of those growing up. A major cause for political party affiliation comes from the home, where everyday situations can steer a person’s opinions. Everyday life moments like talking to your father (Informant 10) or mother (Informant 3) could create that party preference. The environment can shape the direction as well; growing up poor (Informant 3) or rich for instance. Small moments over time, from talking to family, guardians, friends, to being from a specific background can develop the way an individual thinks, eventually causing that thought to transition to a political preference. You can gather that the repetition of family opinions can assist in molding political stances during the delicate years of your youth, especially when it all spews from a habitat that’s filled with unavoidable relatives.

Nowadays most news outlets are forced into two categories: the liberal media or the conservative media. These terms are generalizations that can be argued case by case, but their usage is common. This is because multiple news organizations and channels have been linked to a specific bias.  While our informants realize this bias, they still have their own specific channels for information. The Star Press was found to be most common for local news, while IPR and NPR were most watched between informants for global news. While people sit down to eat their breakfast at home, lunch at work, or dinner with the family, they may be unintentionally soaking up a bias from the information being provided to them via televisions, social media sites, magazines, and/or newspapers.

With all of the talk about politics towards the upcoming election, you’d think that the decision for the next president of the United States would be one held with great interest. However, the opposite can be seen from our informants, who talk with a great distaste towards the political process. The process has been related to that of a circus (Informant 5), a waste of time (Informant 13), reality television (Informant 11), and absolute chaos (Informant 1). There’s a scary (Informant 14) and worrisome (Informant 12) feeling towards the results, rather than one of hope and change (a motto that now feels difficult to accomplish, Informant 9). The system is seen as broken (Informant 5) and as a corrupt bureaucracy (Informant 13). And to add injury to insult, our informants overwhelmingly found politicians to not be representations of the ordinary people, leaving both a trust and understanding gap between the two branches of individuals.

While politics on a grand scale seems to be seen as lackluster and impaired, political involvement in the community is highly supported. Nearly all of our informants are engaged within their communities, working to develop and repair them constructively. The overwhelming participation and optimism towards the politics of the community over those of the nation seems a bit jarring when first thought of, but when closely examined, it all makes sense. Our informants enjoy aiding their communities because they see results and feel that they’re making a difference. They’re experiencing real time change from their own efforts. This is an emotion they’ve lost in terms of politics on a national scale. They don’t see the results immediately or at all; they don’t have control or the feeling of control. Working to fix the things around themselves, things they experiences on an everyday basis, can be easier than trying to mend a whole country.

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