Video Exercises

Watch the videos below and answer the questions that follow.

Declare Yourself is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign to empower and encourage every eligible 18-year-old in America to register and vote in presidential primaries and presidential elections. Using the power of strategic media partnerships, celebrity spokespeople, the sports arena, and, most important, mobile and Internet technology, Declare Yourself’s campaign blankets the landscape of popular culture, as well as universities and high schools, with a simple, clear message: REGISTER and VOTE!

Declare Yourself
Danica Patrick
May 7, 2008

Declare Yourself
Shaun Alexander
February 1, 2008

1. Do you think public service announcements like these, featuring prominent sports figures, are effective? Why or why not? Did their message about the need to register and vote motivate you?

Rock the Vote is a nonpartisan organization that uses music, popular culture, and new technologies to engage and incite young people to register, and to vote in every election. It provides young people the tools to identify, learn about, and take action on the issues that affect their lives, and leverages their power in the political process.

Rock the Vote
Murs PSA
September 19, 2008

Rock the Vote
One Tree Hill PSA
May 12, 2008

Rock the Vote
Christina Aguilera
July 10, 2008

In the first video, the hip-hop artist Murs described his feelings toward government and authority before he became politically active, and he advocates voting as a way to preserve freedom of expression. The cast of One Tree Hill, in the second video, invokes specific policy and social issues as reasons to vote. In the third video, Christina Aguilera appeals to the future—what kind of country we might want for our children.

2a. From your perspective, which of these arguments is most effective? Why?
2b. Do you think celebrity involvement influences whether or not people vote?

In addition to nonpartisan organizations such as those mentioned above, presidential campaigns and political parties also emphasize the need for youth political participation, albeit in a more partisan fashion. The following two videos, from the Democratic and Republican parties, both aim to engage younger supporters.

Obama Campaign for President, 2008—Signs of Hope and Change

Young Republican National Federation—This Is My Party

3. How would you characterize the similarities and differences between these two videos, in terms of their tone and expressions of political participation? Which did you find more compelling? Why? During the 2008 presidential election, did you get politically involved with one of the parties supporting a candidate for the presidency? If so, which one?

In the wake of the 2008 election, one of the major debates concerns how new technologies might change political participation. In the following video, the journalist Matt Bai considers some of the ways technology might have an impact on political participation.

The Big Think
Can Technology Increase Political Participation?
January 21, 2008

4a. In what ways does Matt Bai think new technologies will increase political participation?
4b. Do you agree with Bai that technology will increase political participation? Why or why not?

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