Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Strange Bedfellows: Carville and Matalin

My alma mater, MWSU, hosted its 15th annual Convocation on Critical Issues yesterday featuring the political odd couple James Carville and Mary Matalin.

My dad and I attended the presentation. We have gone to several of these events together. Past speakers have included: Gen. Colin Powell, journalists Bob Woodward and Sam Donaldson, historians David McCullough and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., politicians Bill Bradley, Patricia Schroeder, and J.C. Watts and political commentator David Gergen.

I'm not really sure when we discovered the mutual interest in politics, but it is a subject we both enjoy cussing and discussing. We are both Sunday morning political talk show junkies, much to our wives dismay. I think it's the soap opera aspect of it all; politics is often more theater than substance. I suppose it helps that we both share the same party affiliation, even though that does not stop my wife and I from discussing current events regularly. We have diffent views on some issues, but we usually meet in the middle on many issues.

Carville and Matalin met during the Bill Clinton/George H W Bush election; Carville worked for Clinton--Matalin worked for Bush. They married after the election. Talk about politics making strange bedfellows!

If these two polar opposites can make a marriage work, then it is possible for Democrats and Republicans to come together to solve issues that need to be addressed.

The main theme they talked about was that people need to get involved.

Just sitting on the sidelines is not enough this year. They both urged people, especially young people, to vote. But that is not enough; everyone needs to learn about the issues, to contact they representatives at the state and national level, and to make their voice heard on the direction they want us to go as a people.

I hope that everyone out there is engaged in this year's election. It really matters. We all have different views, and we need to discuss them. You may not change someone's mind, but you might just get them to see your side of an issue. You might be liberal or conservative by choice or by birth, but neither party has all the answers and no one can agree on everything. The important thing is to come together to find real solutions that work for us all.

This cycle in politics has been historic in so many ways. I think even folks who had no interest are paying attention this time around. There are big issues and big consequences for our country and our world in this election. I just hope the interest level carries on after Nov. 4th and people stay involved and hold our politicians accountable.

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