2004 National College Media Convention
Next Generation Radio Project
November 2-6, 2004
Jonathan Viggliotti's Script
Hear Jonathan's piece
Voters say they're divided in the wake of a bitter and polarizing election. Some say they're turned off by the whole process. As Next Generation Radio's Jonathan Vigliotti reports, some voters say they worry President Bush won't be able to unite a split nation.
JV: Newly re-elected President Bush has told Americans he'll need their support to make the nation stronger and better. In his victory speech he addressed a divided voter base. 59 million helped to re-elect him; 55 million voted for Senator John Kerry. Democrat Herb Williams says these record breaking numbers demonstrate a deep national divide. The visual artist is now creating a piece that splits a political red and blue map of the U.S. right down the middle.
Herbert Williams, artist, Kerry Voter: I don't want to say a civil war could break out but it's that kind of way to where you can't freely talk about political opinions and feel like you can openly have a conversation about it without being shut down or feeling like it's ok to agree to disagree. It can't be this black or white. Because no one is as liberal as we are painted to be or as conservative as we are painted to be. There are a lot of gray issues.
JV: Williams says it's these issues that President Bush needs to work on. But Olivia Shallows, who voted for Bush, says the decision was easy...
Olivia Shallows, Bush Voter: I think it would just send a bad message to our enemies if we switch leadership in the middle of the whole thing.
JV: Shallows says she thinks President Bush will keep America safer at home. But she admits it's hard to fully believe what any candidate says.
OS: None of them are truthful, it's just which one do you believe the most. And to encourage people who voted for Kerry to trust Bush, I don't know if you can do that.
JV: Shallows says her vote was more about safety than trust. But for Percy Parsons, who owns Percy's Shoe Shine Service - Ladies Work Appreciated, trust doesn't even matter. Parson says he always votes. It's his duty. But he's says life goes on no matter who's in the Oval Office...
PP: People expect you to vote. Regardless of who's in there it doesn't have much regard to me. I don't care whose in there I'm gonna be paying my bills and shining my shoes.
Parsons says he's lost faith in the government but will continue to vote. Parson's attitude comes as no surprise to Darrel West, professor of political science at Brown University. West says many voters have the same message for President Bush.
DW: He needs to reach out to the values of other people other than his very conservative base. And he needs to understand he has to be president of all the people and not just 50 percent that supported him.
West says it just takes time. He says labeling this race emotional and polarizing is an exaggeration. He's seen this situation before and says things will settle down as months pass. For Next Generation Radio I'm Jonathan Vigliotti.