By Alexia Davis
The Business, Computing and Social Science division hosted a symposium, “America In Crisis: Handling Election Angst,” at Marple Campus on Sept. 25. The discussion was moderated by Joe Madison, host of ‘The Joe Madison Show” on SiriusXM’s Urban View.
The panelists included Laura Coates, host of The Laura Coates Show on SiriusXM’s Urban View; Tarik Khan, a nurse practitioner with the Family Practice & Counseling Network; Bryan Monroe, Verizon chair and professor of journalism at Temple University; and Jean Strout, staff attorney at the Support Center for Child Advocates and an Equal Justice Works Fellow.
Keeley Mitchell, director of Paralegal Studies, said the event was organized because young people need to understand why voting is important.
“Whatever your beliefs, whatever your party, wherever you stand on the spectrum of things, go vote,” Keeley said. “Don’t let others be your voice.”
During the discussion Madison referenced information from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). The AARP data shows that Americans over the age of 50 are the nation’s most powerful voting block.
“What this means is that the older people are making decisions for [the younger generation] about what policies are going to be put in place,” Strout said.
The panel discussed issues of concern for the upcoming election, including the Affordable Care Act, freedom of the press, student debt, immigration, homelessness, and the opioid crisis.
The panelists also addressed potential roadblocks for voters. One such issue was the belief that there is no point to voting because a single vote doesn’t really matter.
“That’s an excuse,” Coates said. “People can’t use it as a crutch to not engage.”
Another roadblock was related to logistical issues, or not physically being able to get to the poles. Monroe suggested other options for voters.
“Even if you’re home, you can get an absentee ballot and send it in,” Monroe said. Absentee ballots are mailed before an election by voters who cannot be at the polls.
Other resources for voters include early voting and free rides to the polling place from Uber and Lyft drivers.
Toward the end of the symposium, Madison and Monroe spoke to individuals who cannot cast a ballot for reasons, such as age or immigration status. The panelists explained that these persons can still affect the system by sharing information and getting others to vote.
Monroe told the audience that democracy is not “a spectator sport.”
“We cannot, we must not, be a nation of onlookers,” Madison warned.
To view a video of the symposium, click here.
Contact Alexia Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org