Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Emotional Night

Here are a few pictures that were taken after Barack Obama was named the President-Elect. All pictures were taken at the Bluenote in Columbia, Mo.


David Finke, Columbia, Mo. resident clasps his hands. For many Democrats, Obama's election seemed like an answer to prayers.


Bill Monroe, a Columbia, Mo. resident and delegate for the to the Democrat National Convention in Denver, cheers and waves an American flag after the announcement that Barack Obama is the next president of the United States. 

University of Missouri-Columbia students smile as they watch CNN announcing Obama's election on the large screen at the Bluenote in Columbia, Mo.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Believing your Bias

I will be straight forward and admit that I am not a Sarah Palin fan. I could go into much detail about why not, but that is not the issue I wish to address. Why this is important is because last week, Fox News reported that McCain insiders said that Palin did not know that Africa was a continent and did not know which countries were involved in NAFTA. When these reports came out, I quickly send a text to my brother asking him if he had heard. I found great entertainment in this report. Now if you had asked me if I honestly believed that Palin did not know Africa was a continent, I probably would have told you that she most likely knew but misspoke, which was still enough of a reason to criticize her.

But as it turns out, I made a horrible assumption. A couple days after my journalism professor brought up the issue in class, a NY Times article was published revealing that the "McCain adviser" was actually a hoaxer. He had tricked the media into believing he was a true adviser by creating a blog with the name Martin Eisenstadt and by talking to the media.

Here is a link to the article with a picture of the man, whose true identity is Dan Mirvish.

So you see that even I was fooled by this fraud. Clearly, this was not something that should have ever seemed plausible, that is the fact that Palin thought Africa was a continent. However, the recent studies on how little Americans know, combined with my own personal bias, led me astray. As seekers of truth, we must be careful to not let anyone, whether that person be some guy creating lies out of his gloomy office (Mirvish) or yourself, lead you away from the truth.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Out in the Nick of Time

Yesterday, as part of the election coverage, I was assigned to follow the Columbia branch of the NAACP. Throughout the day, they were offering rides to the polls and going from place to place encouraging citizens to vote. So I went with the president Mary Ratliff to go find people and ask them if they had voted. As she spoke, I snapped some pictures and got people's names for The Maneater newspaper. After a couple of stops, we pulled into Douglass Park at what I estimate to be somewhere between noon and 12:15 p.m. There, dozens of men sat smoking and drinking, but Ratliff was not afraid at all to go up to them. She encouraged them to vote, and many of them said they already had. After a while, we left and went around to other areas of town to spread the word. 

We got back to the headquarters, and I took off for one of my classes. Later that evening, I returned to the NAACP headquarters for more reporting and Ratliff came up and told me some startling news. A little before 1 p.m., someone had been shot six times to death at  Douglass Park. My first reaction was to thank God that He got me out of there in time. I could not believe that we had been there only minutes before. My second reaction was one of pensiveness. Was the victim someone I had talked to? Could he have been in one of my pictures? I still do not know the answer to those questions, but I know that my eyes were opened yesterday. I am not sure to what exactly, but they were certainly opened.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

First Time Voter

Today, I voted for the first time in my life. There wasn't any big party because of it, and I surely did not change the world. Still, knowing I had a part in choosing the next president of the United States, as well as several local officials, makes me feel good (at least for now. If the new president ends up making things worse, I may want to pretend I had no part in it.) There really is no good way to describe it. I guess the only thing I can really say is that I do not understand how or why people would not vote unless they truly are in a stalemate in their own minds. Even then, you do not have to vote for every candidate, so at least go and vote for someone. Out of about a dozen or so races, surely they can make a decision about at least one. 

There is not much else to say. I probably will have forgotten about this day several years down the road, and certainly my situation is not unique as millions of people were first time voters today. All I can say is that today, we must simply watch and wait. No one really can predict exactly what will happen over the next four years. No one certainly could have predicted Bush's two terms. So here I am. As I cast my ballot, I felt a sense of power and responsibility. But as I wait, I feel a sense of helplessness. The moment I put that ballot in the machine, I lost all control. So here we are. Let's watch and see.