About Our Guest
Bob Gibson is a 1972 graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in government and foreign affairs. After serving as news director of WCHV radio, he joined The Daily Progress in August 1976 and has held a number of positions with the newspaper. He began his career covering police and local courts and has covered state and local politics and government. He was named city editor in 1982 and later special projects editor in 1992 when he wrote a series about racial disparities and justice in local courts.
In addition to his newspaper work, Bob hosted a weekly political call-in show on WINA radio in Charlottesville for seven years. He has also hosted a public radio talk show since 2001 on WVTF-FM in Roanoke and Charlottesville. He has been a regular contributor and guest on public radio station WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show in Washington and often serves as host of Evening Edition on public radio WVTF.
Bob is the winner of several Virginia Press Association awards, the 1993 Virginia Bar Association Award in the Field of Law and Justice and the 1993 Southern Journalism Award for investigative reporting.
JAN PAYNTER: Hello, I am Jan Paynter and I would like to welcome you again to program Politics Matters. We are very pleased to have as our guest today, Bob Gibson; executive director of the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership in Charlottesville. Welcome, Bob.
BOB GIBSON: Thank you, good to join you.
JAN PAYNTER: Bob Gibson graduated from the University of Virginia in 1972 with a BA in Government and Foreign Affairs, having worked as news director for radio WCHV, he then came to the Daily Progress in 1976.
There he began by covering local courts and police, local and state politics, and government. He became city editor of The Progress in 1982 and special projects editor in 1992 during which time he wrote a series concerning racial disparities and justice in local courts. Bob also hosted a weekly call-in show on WINA radio in Charlottesville for seven years. He has hosted a talk show on WVTF public radio in Roanoke and Charlottesville since 2001. He frequently serves as the host of WVTF’s evening edition. Bob Gibson has received numerous awards from the Virginia Press Association, the 1993 Virginia Bar Association Award in the field of law and justice, and has also earned the Southern Journalism Award for Investigative Reporting in 1993. In addition, he currently authors the thought provoking Daily Progress Blog, Blogging Virginia Politics.
Today, with our upcoming November elections fast upon us, I thought it that it would be very appropriate to frame our discussion by looking closely at the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership. We begin Politics Matters three years ago by asking the question, what if our highest principles became our politics? No organization that I know of more closely embodies this idea, for the Sorenson Institute fosters principled informed and ethical political and community involvement in its budding leaders.
Now our nation is, as we are all too aware, mightily attempting to regain its footing at home and in the world and some would argue, a sense of direction. If we look to the work and intent of this institute, we might well find our direction home. Its mission can offer vital clues for our 21st Century body politic. We will also ask this question as we near the November elections, can we, as voters, and present and future leaders as well, find ways to constructively respond to our rapidly evolving and changing media landscape? Where might we look to gather the information so necessary to making informed decisions at the ballot box in an environment when all too often opinion dresses as fact?
Welcome again, Bob.
BOB GIBSON: Thank you.
JAN PAYNTER: Let’s turn now to the Sorenson Institute, tell us about the beginning of the institute and, as I touched on in my introduction, some of its principals but how specifically does it function.
BOB GIBSON: Well, 19 years ago Leigh Middleditch and Michael Bills, a pair of prominent Charlottesville businessmen had the same idea at the same time which was to bring political leaders together and train them in how to talk to each other and understand each other and work together across the aisle. So that is what we do. We bring equal numbers roughly of democrats and republicans and of course independents, greens, others—libertarians and the political spectrum together to talk to each other about issues across Virginia. And we take them to 10 different regions of Virginia, earlier this month we were down a coal mine in the far southwest Virginia showing our class, democrats and republicans, equal numbers of each, how coal is mined in Virginia today versus how it was mined 20, 30, 50 years ago. And how the energy industry in Virginia is changing. And that is one example of how we understand that people can talk to each other and understand each other and work together and actually while democrats usually hang-out with democrats and republicans mostly with republicans, they have enough in common to enjoy learning from each other.
JAN PAYNTER: So tell us more specifically now, how are the different programs organized and on whom does it focus?
BOB GIBSON: We have 5 programs including a new one that we started this year for young policy makers within 10 years of their graduation from college that is our emerging leaders program and we had 21 young men and women—actually 14 of them women and 7 men who work in state and local government on policy issues. And we got together and drafted legislation about how to improve Virginia’s response to taking felons back into society once they are released from prison, how to improve Virginia’s highway safety and how to improve taking Veterans back into the workforce in Virginia. And this group of 21 young leaders studied together and crafted 3 pieces of legislation that will be introduced in the General Assembly and hopefully will help Virginian’s in these 3 areas of policy.
JAN PAYNTER: When you select these candidates, do you have them write essays? How do they focus?
BOB GIBSON: There is an open application process through our website and we take five or six pages of people’s applications and then we interview them. We asked them about what they have written, we asked them about their experiences, how they plan to be leaders in their community in Virginia, and we choose the best class that we can and get the best balance we can across the state. We have two adult programs that are similar, one is a 10 month program that is the one that went down a coal mine in Dickinson County, Virginia, this past month. They are chosen from all across Virginia, we have two members of the House of Delegates in our current class, we have three elected school board members from across Virginia in our current class, and we have 36 folks who are just community political leaders. And they learn to understand each other, listen to each other that is so important and talk to each other.
JAN PAYNTER: Bob, how does the Institute get its funding?
BOB GIBSON: Well, about half of it is tuition and about half of it is donations and we do have a nice endowment that Mr. Sorenson set up for us some 20 years ago—19 years ago. So, people pay a couple thousand dollars to be in a ten month program and go to 10 different regions of Virginia and study the State’s issues together.
JAN PAYNTER: Looking again at the younger aspiring leaders, share with us, if you would, some stories about them going through the process because I think it would be interesting for people.
BOB GIBSON: Well, in each of these policy groups, there goal is to come up with legislation that Democrats and Republicans can look at and tinker with and change and support. So we put equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans in each policy group and we say, here is a problem, highway safety- how do you want to tackle this? And they go into a session where they spend time debating whether bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, changing the roles of the roads so that people passing those on bicycles have more room or more following space behind them on a country road. That became the focus of this year’s policy discussion among this group and they came up with a plan that two or three members of the General Assembly have already said, we’re going to introduce this as legislation.
JAN PAYNTER: What is, perhaps, one of the more rewarding experiences that you have had in looking at the younger aspiring leaders/students?
BOB GIBSON: Well, the college students and the high school students in our summer programs at the University of Virginia are so optimistic that the system can be made to work that people can have an impact on their communities—a positive impact and a positive impact on their state. So they come in bright eyed and very optimistic and they work together. They understand that there is a lot of hard work that goes into compromise, there is a lot of hard work that comes in listening to the other side and understanding the other side because by doing that you make your own argument stronger. So we do not turn Democrats into Republicans or Republicans into Democrats, we turn them all into stronger people who understand how to talk to, listen to, work with the other side. And young folks in college and in high school love it. They love meeting folks that they can argue with, that they can discuss issues with, that they can become compassionate about things with, and understand that, oh my goodness, there is somebody on the other side that I really can understand and get along with.
JAN PAYNTER: Do you find therefore that bipartisanship is more easily achieved in terms of the atmosphere there with the younger people?
BOB GIBSON: It is more easily achieved with the young people because they don’t have hard set political-super partisan-predispositions the way some of their adult counterparts may. But it is also hard during a campaign season when people get amped up on what the campaigns are saying about each other which is largely negative. So we go beyond campaign season into governing season because once someone wins the election, they are going to have to work with people to get things done for Virginia, for their communities.
JAN PAYNTER: Looking at the adults, leaders, people who are going to be taking offices in their community or run for office statewide or even nationally. Share with us again, if you would, some success stories that have been in particularly meaningful to you.
BOB GIBSON: Well, our first class of graduates included Emily Kirk who represented Charlottesville in the State Senate, she would have been had she survived, she died of pancreatic cancer during her second term in the Senate. She—most political observers believe she would have been the first elected female Governor of Virginia. She was about to announce her candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia when she was stricken with pancreatic cancer and Tim Kane took her place on the Democratic nomination and of course won the Lieutenant Governorship and then became Governor. Emily Kirk is the kind of leader who people pattern themselves after in the Sorenson program because she definitely saw that there was no need to be super partisan all of the time that there were ways to work with Republicans, and some her best friends in the Virginia Senate were Republicans and she got a long with folks. She understood that there was homework to be done that there were serious issues to be studied and there was plenty of opportunity for people to come across and compromise with each other.
So, she became the sort of – the Gold Standard of our program early on and since we have had 40-45% women; you know, women are underrepresented in Virginia’s political life; seriously, they’re 18% in the Virginia General Assembly. We don’t have a single female member of congress from Virginia at the current time. We are trying to help women to become more active in running for political office on the local level; a couple of our school board members are women, to run for city council, county boards of supervisors, prosecutors positions, and eventually the general assembly and then to run statewide. And we have 20 members of the Virginia Generally Assembly currently who are our alumni, who understand how to work together and talk to each other and craft bipartisan solutions once they are governing, not during the campaign necessarily but right after.
JAN PAYNTER: Well, if the papers are correct, women are going to play a major role in this election and to have more elected representatives would certainly be refreshing.
BOB GIBSON: Well there is a difference between men and women in terms of the issues that they care most about and talk most about. It is a subtle difference sometimes but there are family issues that matter more that women are better at facilitating conversation about. And actually in reaching across and understanding folks on the other side and talking to them about. So, one difference between men and women is that men don’t have to be asked to run for anything, they just—you know, I feel I’m going to wake up and run for governor today and there are plenty of people in that category. Women, it turns out, have to be asked. So, part of what we are doing is creating the atmosphere in which women and men ask each other, if they see leadership, if they see potential, why don’t you run for the school board? Why don’t you get elected to the school board in Charlottesville or in Harrisonburg and start serving your community that way? And more and more women are stepping up at that level and that is a good thing.
JAN PAYNTER: That is very fascinating, as a women, I hadn’t thought about that but women do wait to be asked, that is really insightful.
Let’s turn now to our rapidly changing and evolving news media. As you work with students and aspiring leaders of all ages at the Sorenson, what is some of the strategies which you in part to assist leaders and future leaders at all levels in sifting through the mountains of information and misinformation available to us in radio, TV, internet blogs, social media, etcetera?
BOB GIBSON: Well, not to be discouraged that there are plenty of good sources of information out there as well as sources of information that are less reliable and the idea—the goal is to find reliable sources of information and promote them and watch them and take them into account and do your political calculus, as you study issues. So, if you are a republican, don’t just watch Fox News, watch MSNBC or CNN. If you are democrat, don’t just watch MSNBC, reach out and watch something that challenges you rather than makes you feel that all of your political predispositions are being massaged. So there are plenty of opportunities to find information in today’s rapidly expanding media world. The burden is on the viewer and then reader to find those that he or she can trust and there are plenty out there. It is really the obligation of the reader and the viewer to find more avenues of good information and that is not an impossible task. There are plenty of them and there are plenty of media outlets that probably deserve to be given less attention.
JAN PAYNTER: Well, I was going to ask you, do you have one or two particular favorites that you think are very useful that you would like to point people to?
BOB GIBSON: Well, I enjoy watching both MSNBC and Fox News because Fox News, during a political campaign, this year has been an arm of the Romney Campaign and MSNBC has largely been the same thing for the Obama Campaign. So in effect you are watching the spin and the counter-spin, if you watch both you are getting a fair picture of how the partisans on each party’s base really truly feel. And that is a valuable exercise, there are plenty of still more neutral avenues to find news, my default is the New York Times, but I have read the Washington Post every day since I use to deliver it as a teenager. So—and I worked for 32 years at the Daily Progress in Charlottesville and that has undergone tremendous change as the media as changed over the last three or four decades.
JAN PAYNTER: What are some of the best sources for online information as we approach this election, Bob, that you might point us to?
BOB GIBSON: Well, of course there are national outlets but I prefer those in Virginia for state news because one of the best is VPAP which puts out a daily political news feed of all of the Virginia political stories and you can call Virginia political action—actually I forget their name but they are a very valuable source of campaign spending and contribution information because Virginia still requires that, unlike the super pacs, you say where your money is coming from and you report it and you report it in a timely fashion. So, VPAP collects all of the campaign contributions that are made in Virginia and puts them out online rather quickly. They also put out a daily newsfeed of all of the political stories in Virginia called The Whipple Report and if you get in touch with VPAP and ask for that, it will arrive in your email every morning. Waldo Jaquith has a compendium of political blogs, all of the political blogs of the left and right, not all of them but a good fair representation of left and right political blogs are on Waldo’s political blog and he maintains that automatically through feeds from the blogs. So you can follow in real time just as you can on Twitter, you know, sign-up for what you want read and you will find more and more sources of good information.
JAN PAYNTER: Do you think, Bob, that blogs are spurring people or could spur people to come back to print media to get more of the backstory for the news?
BOB GIBSON: Definitely, print media still has an edge in terms of depth and perspective and adding depth and perspective to a political season that often has information that is more twisted and less put into the right context. So, people do go to The Washington Post for the story. When we had our crisis in leadership at the University of Virginia over the summer with the Board of Visitors firing our president, Teresa Sullivan, and then rehiring her within 18 days, there was very good reporting within the state but there was also good national reporting in The New York Times and The Washington Post kept the story alive so it became a real story that Virginians could follow in some depth. Even The Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Virginia, obtained thousands and thousands of emails through an FOI request and did a good job of reporting how the members of the Board of Visitors who are responding to this crisis.
JAN PAYNTER: I very much – I think a lot of people are interested in this idea of budding citizen journalist and – which did animate the first days of our Republic. And there is a wonderful book by Robert Machesney and John Nickels which came out in 2010 which I know you know well, which argues in a very thoughtfully and very well researched book about the evolution of media and it is entitled, The Death and Life of American Journalism. And it speaks to exactly what you are describing that in some ways we get discouraged because there is a great deal of chatter and opinion that masks as a fact or reports to be fact but, in fact, it is spurring a lot of new voices, both online in blogs and perhaps this will be the beginning of a revitalization of print media; at least many of us hope so.
BOB GIBSON: I think so, I think that things are very different and they are changing faster in the media world then they are even in politics which is fast changing these days. But when I was a young guy there were three networks and there were newspapers and people got their news from common sources. Everyone watched one of the three networks and that has, of course, exploded into a system where anyone can become a reporter or a journalist of sorts through blogs. Anyone can have an opinion or facts that they chose to share with more and more people across the internet and across the world. And in a sense, what we have done is we have returned to Thomas Jefferson’s day when people owned newspapers as broad sheets to be very partisan and to put out a partisan message that was really sometimes quite unfair to the other side in terms of twisting facts and making them up. We see an atmosphere today where you can be a straight and factual reporter or you can be a commentator who likes throwing bombs and it is up to the reader to figure out which is which and which they prefer to get their sources of information.
JAN PAYNTER: It is interesting that we have gone back in a way to the 18th and 19th century age of the pamphlet-teers.
BOB GIBSON: And we have in large part.
JAN PAYNTER: Bob, coming at things from a different direction, is it possible that our news reporting in mainstream cable news, for example, has become so sanitized in the service of political correctness that it fails to really communicate anything of substance? In the August 5th, New York Times opinion piece, there was something written by a great writer, Jeffery Wheatcroft which was dedicated to my personal favorite writer, Christopher Hitchens and to his favorite writer, Alexander Cogmir, and in it the author asks, “Whatever happened to the American polemic?” He goes on to note that H.L. Menken, were he trying to write today, would probably never get publish and states, “At least in those parts of America—that is not getting published—that make a salem cult of accuracy and balanced, fearful if even honest opinion to the point that statements of the obvious must be sterilized by quaint circumlocutions such as “analysts say that,” “analysts say this.” It goes on to contend that “When America wants guilty journalistic pleasure, it has to bootleg in the bad boys from the old country,” that being Brits, and he, himself, being a Brit contends that it might be, in fact, their final revenge for Yorktown. Your thoughts about that?
BOB GIBSON: I think that we are more and more mirroring the London media which is a good and a bad thing. There are plenty of honest opinions out there and they are amplified and many more outlets than there were 10 years ago—20 years ago. I disagree that H.L. Menken would not be—would not find a place. H.L. Menken was the kind of colorful old coot who would be read regardless of where he was published and found regardless of where he was trying to publish. So, there are plenty of honest opinions out there, we are becoming more and more apolomentary system both in our media and the way that we yell at each other and in our politics. I have always enjoyed watching the prime ministers question hour public television on Sundays because it gives you an opportunity to see how a different system yells questions and yells answers back and forth at each other. At least they are listening to each other, at times. But that is not our system, our system is two broad political parties that each have a big tent or it used to be that and that big tent would allow people from different regions and different views to find a political home in one party or the other and to make common calls and to work with the other side. Now, the most conservative republican—the most conservative democrat in the congress is more liberal than the most liberal republican in the congress. There is not the overlap—there is not the understanding that the parties are big tent, they are more determined by who controls the base and the nominations at the base of the party. So, we have a system where 85% of our congressional seats are not competitive, which is very unfortunate through our districting. And if a republican gets too cozy with a democrat, he will be knocked off in a primary and the same for the democrats. The democrats are very insistent that certain litmus test issues be followed to the extreme or that democrat will be challenged and knocked off by his party’s base or her party’s base. So there is an obligation, I think, to understand that we are not the screaming at each other British parliament but we are the understanding and talking to each other congress that can still work together, if they will.
JAN PAYNTER: I agree, I think the author’s point, however, is, to me, is well taken which is that sometimes, for instance, whether it is CNN, MSNBC, or Fox, we are so fearful of offending that sometimes, I think we do, sugar coat opinions and state things less forcefully and I think, as you pointed out in the beginnings of our republic, people were a little bit less afraid to do that. Now, of course, there is good reason why people do that, anything that comes out of their mouth is going to be twisted into pretzel-shapes.
BOB GIBSON: That is true, but there is a false equivalency in some reporting that “he said this,” “he said that,” as if they were giving—and should be given, equal weight. Climate change science comes to mind, climate change scientists are rather of one view in terms of the man-caused nature of our change in climate and to give the false equivalency that 50% of scientists feel this way and 50% of scientists feel the other way as if there was no truth involved—-
JAN PAYNTER: I agree.
BOB GIBSON: —-No facts involved. It is poor journalism and there is too much of that. But there is also the bowl journalism that does speak out and offer opinions based on fact.
JAN PAYNTER: What would you advise your students and future leaders on the question of verifying news and political information in cyberspace?
BOB GIBSON: Buyer beware, but search because you will find wonderful gems. There is more, good fact-based reporting going on from sources that never existed before and there is more good fact-based opinion going on the internet through anyone’s ability to find it. It is just a matter of finding sources that you trust, finding sources that you find inform you and speak to you and are fair, or at least give you a fair view of what is really happening in the world.
JAN PAYNTER: Bob, what do you feel about the proliferating partnerships, say between YouTube and Reuters, Yahoo partnering with ABC, Facebook with The Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, is this a good thing in your view?
BOB GIBSON: It probably is a good thing, it probably is a necessary thing. Newspapers became fat and happy monopolies over the 50s, 60s, 70s because every large metropolitan area and ever very small metropolitan area—every city in town had one newspaper that came to dominate the advertising and its market. And they did not learn how to adapt to the internet, they did not learn how to monetize their product on the internet and their advertising disappeared in large part because they were—they view themselves as newspapers as opposed to reporting, they viewed themselves as monopolies and they were very slow to change. So now most of them are trying to find a demographic in which they can appeal to people, partner with others, not continue to cut costs by cutting product and cutting people and cooperate with each other. Many have chosen non-profits, many have chosen for-profit partners, and they are offering different perspectives on news than what they used to offer. They are trying to survive in the world that they now exist in. So the partnerships tend to be a good thing.
JAN PAYNTER: One thing in reading Pew that I found was people would feel rather hopeful is that they note that people who go to mobile devices for news is getting it more often and reading for more lengthy periods of time. In a survey of 3000 adults, they found that the reputation of news or a news brand is the determining factor in driving consumers to a particular site because now we have 4 in 10 that own a smartphone, 1 in 5 have a tablet. So that, I thought, was actually very encouraging. And obviously digital is the dominating media for news now, do you feel that there is a place still for magazines? For radio? NPR profits and listenership is down, as you know. Can this be remedied?
BOB GIBSON: Yes, there is definitely a place for magazines. There is definitely a place for NPR, NPR has become one of the respected pillars—cornerstones of our reporting today because they do such a good job of reaching out and covering the world in a fair and comprehensive fashion that radio can do. Magazines can do fair and comprehensive or they can unfair and comprehensive but they still have a place in our media that is still attracting—they have to attract a niche market, they have to attract a demographic that will buy their product and so they are always changing based on how they view that demographic. And unfortunately, too many of our traditional media models have modeled their demographic more narrowly than they should, they are going after a certain age group, a certain sex, a certain race, a certain class, and instead of appealing to the common good, they are appealing to individual segments of our population. You know, one thing that is wonderful about Virginia is that half of all Virginians were born outside of the state, first time in my lifetime, I can say that and I am 62. Four in ten Virginians were born in another state, one in ten Virginians were born in a foreign country. And when we think of those immigrants to Virginia, who are not Virginia citizens and Virginia residents, we often think of an older model, a Latino model, most of the immigrants who have become Virginians are Asian. There is a tremendous Asian community in Northern Virginia and in Hampton Roads and in every university town across the Commonwealth. So Virginia is becoming much more dynamic in terms of its demographic and I wish people in Virginia and the media would market to a broader rather than a narrower demographic.
JAN PAYNTER: Well, it is very exciting because it takes us back to the beginning of our Republic when people came from everywhere, so it is very much in our tradition and it is exciting for diversity. This is something, Bob, that you have talked about and I know been concerned about for a long time that is traditional reporters being stretched to breaking and a smaller and smaller pool of journalist, reporters, and editors. Papers bring in outsiders now to report and edit in much the same way, in my view, things began in the 70s when conglomerates took over companies and applied external business models to those companies which had very little to do with the day-to-day running of that enterprise. Is this something that you think, again, can be worked with overtime? Remedied? Do we just have to live with this?
BOB GIBSON: We have to live with change. Change is upon us and constantly manipulating ways media outlets are changing the way in which they report news, their product keeps changing. The people who produce their product keeps changing. A member of the Virginia General Assembly came up to me this year and said, for the first time since you were gone, there are more bloggers covering us here in the general assembly than there are newspapers covering us. And that can be a good and a bad thing. Newspapers use to provide more coverage of the state legislature as it effected the lives of Virginians; now there is less coverage in this individual newspapers. Each newspaper has cut back its coverage of the General Assembly. I hate to see that but there also a proliferation of coverage on the blogs and on the internet in terms of outlets that give you good reliable and fast and sometimes even in good perspective reporting. So, we have to find where we trust our news and I think the newspapers will continue to have a place as they evolve and as they try to stay relevant and as they try to stay profitable. They are still profitable but there are new sources that the tablets and the smartphones will give us instant access to and more access to, so we just have to find those outlets.
JAN PAYNTER: Yes, absolutely. There are more sources online for going to—taking us to different newspapers. There is one great place I found recently that I am sure you know about, access world news website which basically synthesizes and collects all full text newspapers, local, national, international—it is a marvelous resource for people, you know, coming up to the election if they want to get a sampling of what other people are thinking about. And going back to the kids, one of my favorite examples of education occurred in 2008 when PBS created the kids program, How the Government Affects Me and Inside the Voting Booth though the Democracy Project in which kids learn the importance of voting and learning about their communities, who is elected in their communities and what they do.
BOB GIBSON: You know it is up to the media to do more of that because there is less civics education in our schools then there was when I was growing up. Unfortunately there are other things that have become more a part of our tested curriculum and civics has become less a part of our tested curriculum and that is what gets thought most. So, it is up to the media to provide these avenues of civics education and rich history that we really have to learn if we are going to be involved citizens and informed citizens. And it is a good thing to see public broadcasting do that both in radio and television. It is a good thing to see the media take that and run with it because frankly the schools are not doing the job that they did 30 years ago.
JAN PAYNTER: Well it is very healthy to see people picking up the slack. Now, finally having looked at these morphing news statistics that we have been disgusting, I am guessing one answer would be whom that the increasing, as you said, the public will have to borrow from a variety of new sources and it will be up to each citizen to use discrimination and discernment in attempting to sort out information and we are all thinking about this right now because we all are getting ready to vote. Then again, nobody said democracy would be easy.
In closing today, I thought that it would be appropriate to end with some selections from Bob’s wonderful blogging Virginia politics. This is from the May 28th entry entitled, “20 Contrarian Thoughts” and it seemed an excellent way to send us all off to the polls and perhaps a little happier and certainly wiser. This is merely a selection, so I apologize, Bob.
Elected Officials in Virginia are overwhelmingly honest, diligent, and hard working. Elections are a darn sight better than the alternative which include coups, riots, wars, assignation, onwe, the divine right of monarchs, dictators, anarchy, religious rule, analyst bad television and corruption. Elections are among the best full bodied exercises of individual rights. The levels of a participation and engagement are as broad, deep, and full as desired. Elections can be won by candidates who demonstrate trusts, civility, and respect—I note the creed of the Sorenson Institute—elections can be lost by candidates whose respect for telling the truth is lacking. A smart electorate starts out and determines which candidates are most willing to listen.
And this is my personal favorite:
Voters in Virginia once routinely ignored, may watch enough political ads from now until November to long for the old days when the state was predicable enough to be ignored.
Now let’s go to the polls this November and make our voices heard.
Thank you again, Bob, for coming and sharing your thoughts and insights with us today.
BOB GIBSON: Thank you very much, my pleasure.
JAN PAYNTER: Thank you at home for joining our conversation. If you would like more information concerning the topic under discussion today. We invite you to take a look at our website at PoliticsMatters.org. We will be posting a number of books, articles, and relevant links on there for you. You will also find there a comprehensive archive of all Politics Matters prior programs which you may watch in their entirety at any time. We are always interested in hearing from you with any questions and concerns as well as ideas for future programs. We encourage you to email us at Info@politicsmatters.org. We air on WVPT on the last Sunday of every month at 11:30 am. Thank you again, until our next broadcast, I am Jan Paynter and this is Politics Matters.