Election day volunteers work a polling location at a middle school (Photo by ragesoss/Creative Commons-Flickr)
By Mike Matejka
This past Saturday I volunteered in Iowa, knocking on doors for President Obama.
With as ugly as our political scene becomes on talk radio, the internet and television, it’s always refreshing to visit with people and realize average Americans still are common sense and cordial individuals.
Maybe because it’s Iowa and the Midwest, people were friendly, even at households supporting Mitt Romney. People just smiled and said, “we’re supporting the other guy” or gave me a thumbs down. Concerns were shared and noted.
One woman wanted to know why the President hasn’t stopped gas prices from going up simultaneously across town. I explained I didn’t think the President had the power to stop gas stations from all raising their prices within minutes of each other, but it certainly was a legitimate concern and spoke to the power of Big Oil.
Another older woman was very worried about Iran and the U.S. possibly getting into another Middle Eastern War. I could only nod my head and agree with her fears. Politics can quickly become emotional, because in choosing our political leaders, we usually are voting for people who reflect our perspective.
Depending on how we view the world, we place our hopes and aspirations on our political leaders to reflect those. The only complaint I heard in my door to door trek was about political advertising. We don’t see it in Illinois, but the media in Iowa is saturated.
And of course, the message is rarely positive about what a candidate can try to do for the nation, mostly it is how terrible the other guy will be. Even though they could not escape the advertising, most of the Iowans are spoke with were taking it with good cheer, even though they were very tired of it.
With the millions being spent I am sure the political experts know what they are doing, but I think there’s more to be gained by average people speaking calmly with each other about our coming election.
This is Mike Matejka on WJBC’s Forum.
Mike Matejka is the Governmental Affairs director for the Great Plains Laborers District Council, covering 11,000 union Laborers in northern Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. He lives in Bloomington with his wife and daughter and their two dogs. He served on the Bloomington City Council for 18 years, is a past president of the McLean County Historical Society and Vice-President of the Illinois Labor History Society.
The opinions expressed within WJBC’s Forum are solely those of the Forum’s author, and are not necessarily those of WJBC or Cumulus Media, Inc.