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COM 460: Sooo…the government quit, now what?

October 3, 2013

For my COM 460 “blog of your choice” topic selection this week I select: the government shutdown. I choose the topic to review for my Social Media class blog due to news coverage the situation has been attracting. Also, I would like to make the point early that I am not a political science major so I will not get into deep issues with this posting. I am, however, a communications major with an interest in current events.

I have watched a couple CNN news clips that cover the basic disconnect between republicans and democrats regarding government funding. This is interesting because it affects everybody, but I am personally interested in how the media is used in events such as the shutdown. News and social media outlets use terms like “civil instability” and “GOP civil war” to create what I think is unneeded panic. I hold the view that the shutting down the government temporally will generate positive changes in America’s future.

I hold this opinion after having read The Washington Post article “nine most painful impacts of government shutdown” that highlights the American working class to stands to lose in the shutdown. Issues like owed back pay to federal workers, food inspection, and flu shots affect those all voters. It is usually in critical events like the current that government acts the quickest with its policy. Maybe by shutting down programs people rely on will spur people to take political action when government resumes. I hold my optimistic outlook partially because I think people in America should be able to correct a dysfunctional political system.

Social media also plays a role in such political events with growing influence. One article from Washington explains how social media opinions of many users has an influence on public opinion. Tweeters can now direct their anger towards government leaders more easily, quickly, and frequently with tools like Twitter and Facebook. The article notions towards the current public view that those in D.C. should put aside political differences in order to solve problems facing the struggling middle class. While Tweets and likes may not replace ballots and  voters, public opinion of government on social media outlets is beginning to (and rightly should) carry more weight when selecting officials.

In conclusion, I think the large majority of Americans are hoping to avoid another Occupy movement or Arab Spring at the moment. There is still the feeling in myself, and I can assume other optimists, that the American middle class should be accurately represented by elected officials. I believe the votes should determine those elected and not campaign contributions. Social media at this point in history gives everybody a voice in politics that may count in some small way to inspire change.

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