As the presidential election nears, voters are continually being bombarded by negative and misleading campaigns that distort candidate’s values, take messages out of context and deceive the voter.
Tonight, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Des Moines (LWVMDM) and Drake Student Senate are sponsoring a showing of a documentary and panel discussion on the involvement of citizens titled “Civility in Politics.” The panel discussion will take place in Parents Hall in Olmsted Center at 6:30 p.m.
“People tend to focus on how bad (incivility) had gotten instead of the expectation of where it can be in the future,” said Scott Raecker, a Republican state representative for District 63. Raecker has held his office for 14 years.
Drake students are encouraged to attend to engage in the discussion and enjoy popcorn, lemonade, coffee and water provided by Senate. The main focus of the panel is to inform young voters about civility and encourage them to participate in the voting process.
“It is your civic duty as American citizens to vote. There are a lot of relevant issues and policies effecting young people. They should be involved in the decision making process,” said Emma Wilson, community outreach intern for Student Senate.
The evening will start with the showing of the film “Patriocracy,” a Brian Malone film. Panelists will then give their reactions to the film and answer questions from the audience.
“I really hope that they come and add value to the panel and realize what roles they can play as individuals,” Raecker said.
Panelists will include current Democratic state representative for District 61 Jo Oldson, sophomore Student Senator Emily Grimm, associate professor of political science Rachel Paine-Caufield and Raecker.
The panel discussion will be monitored by LWVMDM President Dr. Deborah Turner. Turner is a Gynecological Oncologist and graduate of the Drake Law School.
“I think that negative ads can damage a campaign because people are turned off by dirty campaigns. They want an honest candidate,” Wilson said.
Raecker considers discussing civility in politics a passion of his work, and has spoken nationally on the issue.
He believes the incivility can be solved by candidates having control of their own campaigns, voters holding candidates responsible for the negative and misleading campaigns they produce, dialogue, listening to the different individual viewpoints in a civil manner and growing individually and collectively.
“The university itself is where civil dialogue should be addressed,” Raecker said. “It is the requirement and responsibility of students, who are not only the leaders of the future but the leaders of today, to lead our community into civic engagement.”