By Maggie Wachtel
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity this past week to attend the Republican National Convention as a part of my job as a Marketing Assistant with Kent State’s College of Communication and Information.
When I was first presented with this opportunity, I was a little hesitant. I don’t really consider myself politically involved. I watch the news and read Twitter, but you will never catch me having a debate on fiscal or domestic policy. But I knew this opportunity would be once in a lifetime and I couldn’t miss out.
CCI partnered with Purple America, a civic organization focusing on the shared values of Democrats and Republicans. Purple America set up the Purple Tent where they had an awesome lineup of speakers to talk about topics like the media and politics, civility, and millennials.
Purple America landed a lot of great speakers, such as Matt Dowd of ABC News, Kellyanne Conway, a member of Donald Trump’s campaign and Dr. Ben Carson, former Republican presidential candidate. The conversations that went on between the panelists was really eye-opening, specifically the conversation on civility between presidential candidates.
I have noticed the months leading up to this election have been more insane than usual, specifically just the pettiness between the Republican presidential candidates. The speakers, on this particular panel, blamed social media for this problem, and I agree 100%.
Matt Dowd, of ABC News, used the example of the comments Senator Marco Rubio made about Donald Trump having small hands. Social media took that comment and ran with it. Marco Rubio became a trending topic on twitter, not for his political platform, but for making comments about Donald Trump’s HANDS. It is completely insane when you think about it. And it’s all because of social media, everything creates instant attention.
A candidate can make a stupid comment at an event, then reporters and attendees can instantly tweet it and the world knows. We don’t have to wait to hear about it on the nightly news or read about it in the morning paper. This is the age we live in now, and it’s only going to intensify as the presidential election approaches.
All the panelists agreed the days of being civil with opponents were over. It’s now a more popular tactic for candidates to focus on tearing each other apart, rather than focus on what they can do as president.
But no matter what your political beliefs and opinions are, I think anyone could benefit from attending an event like this. It truly opened my eyes to more political issues that captivate our country and I think I walked away a more informed citizen.
Maggie is a senior public relations major at Kent State and a member of PRSSA Kent. Follow her on Twitter at @maggie_wachtel.
This post was originally published on Kent State's College of Communication and Information's Why CCI blog.