August 11, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
Politics, politics, politics, politics! Also, some politics. That’s pretty much all that I’ve heard on the radio today as I pass in and out of earshot. Apparently, there’s an election going on, which means it’s time again to let ourselves get distracted by all the non-issues on the political agenda. Things that wouldn’t normally matter in a sane world seem to take the main stage while things that should matter – that do matter – seem to fall into the background noise behind a lot of shouting and finger pointing. The “things” that matter really aren’t things at all – they’re people. They’re you and I and hundreds of millions of others who have to live with the repercussions of the decisions made by people we’re meant to trust to serve our interests. I’ve never been able to adapt to a firm political affiliation, and for the most part, I acknowledge that many issues have so far totally eluded my realm of interest, but part of growing up in modern society means being more and more effected by decisions made in Washington, which means that it’s time to start paying attention, and really striving to be paid attention to. Today’s project wants to shift the focus back onto that – or rather, those – who really matter in all of this hubbub: the people, the citizens, the voters, the represented.
Voices from the Swing States is putting the spotlight on real people in America as they contemplate all that lies before them in the ballot box. There’s a lot to be concerned about, and there’s a rightful desire to be heard – a desire that so far has gone principally unfulfilled throughout the mainstream media.
I can’t travel to all 50 states, so I will focus on the so-called “Swing States,” those that have an electorate that, according to polling data, are equally divided. They are the places where this incredibly important presidential election will be decided, microcosms of the nation as whole, a country more polarized than at any time since the Civil War – or so we’re told.
Are we really so different? Are we really so much the same? Are we all getting a little sick of the smell of red herrings? This project is more than the man-on-the-street interview you might catch a whole 15 seconds of on the broadcast news. It’s diving deeper into the character of each vote – what shapes perceptions and what motivates a yea or a nay. It’s looking for insights about what wins elections and it’s starting from the right place: the ground floor and the kitchen table. Tune into conversations that might be more worthy of history’s remembrance than anything pronounced at a podium; back this project before August 16.