Dr. Scott Alsobrooks , Guest Columnist
The Picayune Item
Times are different today than when I was a child many years ago. Children today are likely more tuned into the national election than ever before. With local and national news channels on cable and satellite, coupled with the World Wide Web, national politics is almost unavoidable; and we are not in a swing state where most of the advertising dollars (TV commercials) are expended. So while our national news is mostly dominated by campaign numbers and pollster predictions, at least locally our TV commercials are not. Which brings up another very important point altogether, being that Obama and Romney have raised (and will spend!) approximately $1.5 billion; most of which will be spent in swing states such as Ohio, Fla. and Vir. Mississippi’s predictability at the polls ultimately removes us from gaining any of the major campaign expenditures.
However, that predictability does not mean that we have anything to gain in this election. This provides a great teaching moment for our youth. I know that my son’s elementary teachers have begun to educate him and his classmates in US and political history; we often discuss George Washington and Abe Lincoln on our ride home from school. Understanding the history of our great nation, and how we earned the freedoms that we enjoy is absolutely imperative. Voting is one of these freedoms, or privileges.
With that said, once again this campaign year, as I have in done in the past couple of elections, my son and I went to the polls together. With the electronic voting system, the process is very much in tune with the stimuli that seems to garner his attention (i.e. electronic touch screen) than when I first voted way back in the mid 1980’s. The paper booklets and the push pins that were utilized when I first voted were quite clumsy. Outside of actually casting our vote, a most important thing is that my son gained first-hand knowledge of the voting process itself. Of course, as we waited in the long line this morning, our conversation centered mostly on Executive Branch (Presidential) elections, but we did discuss the other offices on the ballot.
This was the ultimate “teachable moment” for him on the election process and citizen’s responsiblitles that come with it. No matter the outcome, he will always remember the part we played in this election together.