Presidential elections can be draining. Popular media can diminish elections to ugly play-by-plays, instead of informing viewers on the intricacies of proposed policy. The media offers back-and-forth bloodsport to consume as ideological and interest groups clash over overarching narratives. Problematically, this presentation turns us into spectators who exist to up ratings. It makes us understand our role in the likes of major social change as a television viewer. Punditry, cable news networks, and sound bites all help us feel informed every four years. However, the overwhelming nature of this coverage makes it feel as if federal elections are the end-all in enacting change that affects everyday life. Though voting in Federal elections is undoubtedly important and should be encouraged, the nature of their coverage downplays the relevance of local policy, which affects immediate issues such as education, affordable housing, and cultural development.
Beyond practical policy measures, psychologically, feeling like a spectator to a political drama can be demoralizing. The American public, the couch-dwelling contingent, is forever “watching from home” instead of actively working to make their community better. Rhetoric from major media sources often causes us to forget that we have the ability to dedicate ourselves to such community improvement. There is an essential magic in movement, the cause and effect of understanding oneself as a specific impetus for effective change. Not everyone is a policymaker, but many of us have the ability to volunteer our time and energies into the causes we care about. We can follow presidential elections, while also researching local ballot initiatives, mayoral, municipal, and county elections. Ultimately, we have the ability to empower ourselves.
Find Nov. 2016 local ballot measures here
http://www.mass.gov/ago/government-resources/initiatives-and-other-ballot-questions/current-petitions-filed.htmlFind more information about state elections here: