Presidential platforms address topics considered in the best interests of the majority of the people.
But how did those topics get top-level billing? Did you get a phone call from President Obama? Or from Mitt Romney? Did they sit with you in a hospital waiting room, in an unemployment line, at the registrar’s office at your college or in the office of your local loan officer?
Yeah, us either.
That’s the point. Because of the overwhelming number of people in this country, the national-level discussion of what is needed often is determined by just a few people. The rest of us are not invited into the conversation.
The tail wags the dog, as the saying goes.
In recent weeks, our reporters have talked to lot of people to find out what is on the minds of Central Illinois residents as we near the Nov. 6 election. We focused on the presidential election, but also heard about state-level and local concerns.
Our series, Vox Populi (Voice of the People), starts today and continues every Sunday through Oct. 28. Each week, we will narrow the discussion to a specific topic: the economy; jobs and taxes; health care; agriculture; and education, and share what you had to say.
In most cases, these are people whose names you haven’t seen before in print. They are not elected leaders or community activists. Rather, they are you, your families, your neighbors and co-workers. Just people trying to get by, putting one foot in front of the other in the daily struggle to buy groceries, pay bills, go to school and take care of aging relatives.
In every story, in every interview, we found a common thread: The nation’s problems are tied to a lack of money getting to where it needs to go, and a lack of attention to core issues. Above all, there is a sense that our leaders don’t listen to the people at home.
That simple skill has been forgotten in recent elections, particularly at the federal level, where bitter, destructive partisan politics and one-upmanship overwhelm the collective voice of America’s citizens.
To get the country back on track, we need a quieter, more thoughtful discourse — and a clear, reasonably timed plan of action. Our country is the sum of its people, and that’s where the work must begin.
We hope to start that today.