Tim Skubick stresses importance of caringPublished 6:52pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Students, professors and community members gathered to hear political journalist and blogger Tim Skubick talk about the November election Wednesday as part of the Southwestern Michigan College fall academic lecture series.
Skubick, producer and anchor of the public television political segment “Off the Record,” offered a dose of reality to listeners, stating many citizens who are eligible to vote don’t care and those that do are often uneducated, walking in blind into voting booths. During the hour-long interactive lecture, which allowed for questions from audience members at the end, Skubick spoke openly about the weaknesses the country is facing as the general election nears and what younger voters should do.
“What’s wrong with our democracy is that many do not care,” Skubick said. “How can you cast an intelligent ballot if you don’t know the names of the candidates, let alone what they stand for?”
Skubick kicked off his lecture by asking audience members to stand if they have already decided who they are voting for, which brought the majority of the auditorium to its feet. Skubick then questioned those who were undecided and why, before stating the “vast majority of those voting have decided who to elect before the first debate.”
“We’re getting lazy about our democracy,” Skubick said. “You’ve got to be involved … don’t watch those God-awful TV ads.”
Skubick offered his opinions on the presidential candidates, stressing the idea that the focus of elections becomes more about who is likeable and who you would “want to have a beer with,” rather than where they stand on the issues and what they will do if elected.
“What we were missing in politics … do good public policy first, then focus on getting re-elected,” Skubick said during a media discussion before the lecture. “Instead, it’s about getting re-elected and then throwing public policy in there.”
As a political, daily blogger for www.Mlive, Skubick didn’t let the news media off easy either.
“My job as a journalist is to go in and ask those accountability questions,” Skubick said. “But we’re getting lazy; the media is not doing their job.”
Questions from the audience touched on issues of changing the electoral college, what ballot issues will be on the Nov. 6 election, the social security outlook for young adults and where citizens can find the truth.
“In politics, the truth is elusive,” Skubick said. “That’s why we have journalists, you need the media to try and get you there.”
After the lecture wrapped up, students responded to Skubick’s views, saying they were walking away feeling more educated.
“It was unbiased. He wasn’t trying to persuade us one way or the other,” freshman James Coleman said.
Sophomore Jordan Hurst agreed, saying Skubick presented the truth.
“He wasn’t calling out Romney or Obama, he presented information on both guys, good or bad,” Hurst said.
The next SMC fall academic lecture will be presented by Dr. Brendan Riley, associate professor of English at Chicago’s Columbia College, on “Why You Should Care about the Living Dead” at 2 p.m. Oct. 18 in the theater of the Dale A. Lyons Building on Dowagiac’s SMC campus.