Persuasion to Vote
In 2008 I voted in a national presidential election for the first time, I was 41 years old. The first question one may ask is why I waited so long and why Obama. My explanation for not voting until I was 41 was a matter of persuasion presented by my adopted father from an early age. He was a decorated Korean War Veteran and served as a sergeant in the US Army. My earliest conversations with him entailed war stories of young men he witnessed dying, losing life and limbs at his command. He also was a member of the Republican Party and talked about politics frequently in our household. It was kind of confusing for a young person with a developing mind how someone would want to participate in a government that sent them to war to command young people to die, and then have the government stop the fighting due to political reasons. Many times, he would refer to a story he would repeat about being told to stand down when he had almost taken an objective. This developed a belief in my own mind that if I did not participate in the process of elections then I would not be a part of a war, which had been unkind to my adoptive father. I developed a disdain for the government for having my father do all those horrific things and then be told it is over, time to go home, in the middle of a war. Voting seemed like participating in a system that had treated him harshly for his and his men’s service and it seemed ludicrous to take part in distributing death and destruction so easily. I could not find any reason to participate in a government that would play with people’s lives like this, but my father was committed and never left his political views or support for his political party. It was not until a person of color ran for president would I participate in the National elections. My adopted father, on the other hand, was not giving up on his own personal values to support his country’s god values, through participation in election years.
As our text explains, God terms are typically revered in a culture, such as freedom, rights, and democracy (Morris, 2018, p. 97) and were constructs my father put a lot of his faith into. He also explained to me the costs of war and the influence politics could have in determining the outcome of a war. Having explained these theses things and listening to his war stories had an influence that led me to the reasoning of avoiding national elections. I was enthralled with the visual narratives he would use as evidence to support his rhetoric as he was using to tell me war stories. Visual narratives are not just used of language by also done through sharing signs, symbols, and images (Morris, 2018, p. 101). My adopted father would show us his battle scars as evidence of his personal sacrifices. He seemed particularly fond of a bullet wound that entered his chest, coming inches from his heart, and where the bullet exited from his back. This image is very vivid in my memory. Through his messages, I was able to have a very deep persuasive experience which would shape my attitude, beliefs, behaviors, and values (Morris, 2018, p. 119) about elections for a very long time. Then the first person of color was nominated for president in the 2008 elections, that garnered my attention.
The element that first interested me to participate in the 2008 election was the internet. A new social media platform called Facebook had been in use for a few years, but Barrack Obama would be the first to successfully use the outlet for political campaigning. Obama was able to capitalize on the power of the new media to persuade people to vote for him in the presidential elections. Using the Facebook site, visitors, like myself, could read and view content and join the page to show support. The campaign was aimed at young people, people of color and people like me that we’re looking for a reason to participate. Using Facebook allowed Obama to tap into the young vote by displaying the use of new technology that had never been done before and it also attracted people using the internet. I was an avid user of the internet for gaming purposes but had not considered the influence it would have on me to vote in a national election. Although I have a deep-rooted belief that if I did not participate in elections then I was not contributing to the kind of mental anguish my father had endured. Obama was very charismatic and convincing and because he was a “black man” I decided to finally vote, even though I felt awkward about doing so. In his campaign, he had made promises about a war that I believed would happen if he were to become president. Even though I had some deep-rooted feelings I had been persuaded to participate after waiting over 20-years.
In the aftermath, I think that Obama’s campaign convinced me to vote because I was impressed with his views about war and he really seemed to appeal to young people, which need inclusion as early as possible, in my opinion. Using the internet and the undiscovered territory of social platforms, like Facebook, added too much value for anyone to compete within the 2008 election. The election has become a significant historical event because Obama is now considered the “first” black man to obtain the presidency. This new media is commonplace in elections today and is used in local elections as well. The pitfall for me is that I was convinced, through the internet and new media, to compromise my own beliefs about supporting war. Obama did not reduce any wars but increased its use. This was very upsetting for me and affected my input in the next several elections. With the amount of information and the speed at which we perceive this information has a profound effect on everyone lives. Being able to decipher that persuasion is now even more ubiquitous with platforms like Facebook is more challenging than ever for people. These platforms carry convincing messages but also allow the user to feel more included in processes. Accomplishing this allows campaigners to bring messages more often and quickly to convince us to compromise our personal values and position about participating in the process like a national election.
Morris, S. T. (2018). Persuasion in Your LIfe. New York: Routledge. Retrieved April 4, 2019