Tonight I took part in a focus group. A call last week was a survey asking a few broad political questions and if I was open to discussing my take on politics, which I of course said yes to. So I qualified to be on said focus group. And there was some money in it for me as well. A couple hours. Talk politics. Sure.
So tonight I went to the CdA Inn at 6pm. It was a pro moderator from a research firm near DCA, didn't know himself who the buyer was, "But you may have a good guess by the time it's over."
There were 7 people (1 no-show), 2 lifers, 1 here less than three years, locals, varied backgrounds, I didn't recognize a one. We sat in conference table style and everything was well organized, great cookies and even Cherry Coke.
Everything was opinion based questioning starting with the State of Idaho, basic list of topics, education, health, economy, general feel of where we are and where we're going. This led into politics in general, then to the Governor's office and Butch Otter, the usual pros, cons, rep and rap. At this time I, and I'd guess most if not all, figured this was a Butch survey.
Then he tossed out 8-10 photos of a man in various poses and situations. Our first guess was "candidate" but as his face wasn't familiar, it could just as well have been stock photos in every political photo op pose. I said he looked like the guy who was at the 4th of July parade in the motorhome, the others had no clue. Turns out it was candidate and motorhome driver Keith Allred. In the end I believe this was on his tab.
We then read 2 background/bio/"here's your guy" statement pages and processed the likes and dislikes and influential importance. Next we watched 6 short videos broken from the same speech and discussed and rated each segment. From there we compared a couple pages of puffery and mudslinging as pertained to both candidates, which statements would sway you vote kind of stuff. Finally we "wrote a letter" to the candidates telling them what we felt was important about Idaho and Idaho Politics. Then I was handed an envelope with cash in it.
I really enjoyed being a part of this small cog tooth in the machine of American Politics. The moderator was excellent and kept us on track, just a hair over the advertised 2 hours. But it was our own fault. Each person was able to express their opinions and perceptions pertaining to how our government runs and we did. And it was interesting to hear other people's thoughts.
We all see things from a different place using different reference points. But even with this diverse group I got a general feeling that, to varying degrees, everyone is disgusted with politics as we now know it. That we believe in of the people, by the people and for the people. That we're all sick of the polarization of the Parties, the special interests and how our leaders have become so detached to the Average American. Wow, what if we all voted what we truly felt and wanted rather than vote for a political party out of fear/hate of the other party.
I like to think back to Howard Beale in the movie Network. When is America going to stand up to our own government? When will the voter turnout not only be huge but be filled with everyone who is sick of the status quo? And all it takes is people to get out and vote.
Shout it from your window.
I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.