Until September of 2008, I had never been well-versed in the science of politics. To say the least, the idea of politics as a whole did not interest me. I would never turn on the television and seek out political coverage, and when the presidential breaking news interrupted my regularly scheduled programming, I would change the channel.
When I enrolled in Dr. Lepre’s Journalism II course at the end of the spring semester, I had no idea that I would be writing about the 2008 presidential election week after week.
At first, I was completely dreading the fact that I would have to follow and cover political happenings for an entire semester. However, I realized that because I would never voluntarily write about politics, stepping outside of my comfort zone would benefit me, my writing, and my journalism portfolio.
Watching political coverage and attempting to enlighten myself on the topic was tough in the beginning of the semester. I didn’t associate myself with a particular party, let alone know much about facets of politics related to the presidential election, such as the makeup of congress and the Supreme Court. I wasn’t even registered to vote until October.
Having to write political stories throughout the semester became easier and easier, just as I became more fluent in political language. However, it wasn’t just the CNN headlines or the breaking news on NBC that made me understand the great importance of the presidential election. Obviously, I knew that more or less putting our country in the hands of a single person was a big deal, but I learned a few things along the way that helped me develop a new found appreciation for politics.
I tried to select a source for each story who would give me adequate feedback on a given subject. The interviewee who stands out most in my mind is Marist senior, Christina Tello, who volunteered for the Obama campaign during this past summer. Her passion toward Obama and his campaign was evident because of the amount of willful effort she exerted. However, her enthusiasm was not only for the Democratic Party, but for the power of voting in general. Tello worked hard to get U.S. citizens registered to vote, regardless of their political affiliation.
After hearing about this, I realized that there was something more to politics than I had thought. It is not just another thing for people to disagree upon, but it is something to believe in. Like Tello holds true, voting is such an important aspect of American democracy, and it is a right that should not be taken for granted.
Throughout the course of my political reporting, I would not say that my political stance had changed because I didn’t quite have one to begin with. Nonetheless, writing the articles opened my eyes to the importance of politics and what it means to be an American citizen with the power to vote.