VOM Rotary (3/1/2019)

Oakmont Rotary Club
  • John Brodey

Okay, since it’s all about the truth, I confess I ‘borrowed’ the above title from my favorite media news source The Week magazine. It is a beautifully balanced snapshot of the week’s international and national news, editorials from around the world, story of the week and some very entertaining and odd tidbits. There is also the ‘boring but important’ column. And yes, it can be dry sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we should start skimming to get to the juicy stuff. We have become spoiled by the ease of keeping up and we are paying the price. Four score and seven years ago when I was a political science major at the University of Wisconsin, one of my professors shared with us the results of a survey of voting aged adults.

The data was shocking to us history/political nerds. Only one-third of respondents could name one of their U.S. Senators. Only 28% could name their Congressperson and only 23% could name both Senators. Particularly disturbing was that almost 2% of the population did not know the name of the then President (Kennedy). Taking it to its mind boggling conclusion, they found five people in the bluegrass state who, when asked: What country do you live in, replied …Kentucky. Well, thanks to the tech revolution things are marginally better. A 2017 survey conducted by Pew revealed that 37% of eligible voters knew the name of their Congressperson, However, 56% didn’t know the actual name but they did know their party affiliation. Even worse, 23% of those who voted for a House candidate in the ’16 election could no longer remember their name. Only 46% knew they had TWO U.S. Senators from their state. How can we go forward and backward simultaneously? Well, they just don’t teach civics in schools anymore is one answer but more importantly we got lazy. The oldest modern democracy in the world has the lowest voter turnout of any of its’ peers?

I know I’m speaking to the choir here since ours’ is a hyper active adult community, but what to do? Well, keeping up with the news can be overwhelming. We now let the media decide what’s important. Few people get to those town hall meetings local pols hold, but fortunately for us VOM Rotarians, the town halls come to us as part of our Friday morning breakfast meetings. A case in point is the upcoming appearance by our California State Senator Mike McGuire during the first half of March. He is arguably the most important person in our world. He’s hard working and has a wealth of experience. He will talk to us about issues he feels need immediate attention. We will listen and ask questions. Boring? Maybe but maybe NOT. Important…YES. Join us for breakfast any Friday and give your self a chance to find out what’s really going on around us on a local level. Our guests speakers are interesting and yes, we have fun too. I promise, you won’t be bored!

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