Closing Time

By Manny Jacobson

It’s official. We managed to fit an entire semester’s worth of work into 2 weeks and let me tell you, it has been a blast. Where in the world did the time go? It feels as though we just arrived in D.C. a couple of days ago. The amount of things this group has done over the past two weeks is quite overwhelming, but we powered through it and manage to stay happy and cohesive.

Katie Allen was absolutely correct in place a certain group quote as her number 1 quote for her article about our happy cohesive group. That quote is   “This is not how this works. This is not how any of this works”! I’ll remind you that she posted this only half way through our 2 week adventure.

I’m proud to say that after finishing the second and final week, the meaning behind this quote is strengthened even more.

The name of the seminars were “Exploring Bipartisanship”, as well as “Politics and the Media”.  After going through both seminars, the names should be, “Exploring Partisan Gridlock” and “Politics Versus the Media”.

Except for a couple of rare instances, everything we experienced lean towards the later. It seemed as though speakers from both weeks were contradicting each other or flat-out blaming the other guy for what is wrong. Whether it being politicians arguing across the aisle or the media and politicians bickering about transparency.

Now I did mention that there were a couple of instances. It appears that when tragedy strikes in our nation every seems to banned together and work together.

The best example of this, in my opinion,  was brought up today in a seminar with Ann Compton (Former White House Correspondent, ABC News). Compton was the one broadcast journalist who assigned to follow the president around on 9/11. She was in the classroom in florida when President Bush’s Chief of Staff alerted the President of the ongoing attack.

That day, Ann Compton was one of two reporters that were on flying around with the president in Air Force One. Initially, officials tried to boot the reporter off the plane the first chance they had, however, with minimal arguments, they gave in and realized that for some odd reason she needed to be there. America needed her there.

The entire story took nearly 9 minutes to tell, but they point that I’m trying to get at is that, the people need to know that the president there and there for them. Although, in this case he was in the only plane fly in U.S. airspace at the time, the citizens were somehow comforted by the reports later released by Compton.

This is hard for me to acknowledge, but it does appear that tragedy or resolving tragic events, such as the termination of Osama Bin Laden (5/2/11) almost forces cohesiveness. Presidential approval ratings, as well as ratings for the news organizations curiously increase around these events.

Personally, as much as I want everything to work and everyone to get along, I don’t want major disasters to be the only reason cohesiveness occurs. It is this reason that I, personally, do not have as big of a problem with the media and government transparency debates.

Without going into too much detail, and boring you all to death, the same instances occur with the debates and gridlock in congress.

Bipartisanship only seems to truly occur after something like a government shutdown or declaration of war occurs. Frankly, something about this needs to change right now.

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