Q&A with members of the oldest generation
From millennials to the oldest old, there is a wide range of voters for this year’s upcoming election. I decided to take a look at the perspective from the oldest generation. So I sat down with my grandparents, Joe and Carol Schuld, to discuss the issues their generation is focused on and how the elections have changed over the years.
Q-Can you tell me about your first election process and what it was like for you the first time you were able to vote?
C- Oh yes, we had the voting machines and you went in and you pulled the lever and that closed the curtain behind you and then you had to pull little levers down for the names that you wanted. And then when you were done, you pulled the handle back and it automatically registered all those votes and the curtain opened.
Q-Who was running for president in the first election you voted in? Do you remember?
C- I don’t remember, do you? Eisenhower maybe.
J- Yeah, It had to be. Yeah
Q-What do you think the biggest change has been over the years in presidential elections?
J- Well, it was a lot easier, mentally, through the years. This year is ridiculous.
C- And now with all the television, you know the campaigning is so different because the can put so many ads on television, which they didn’t have when we were younger. And there’s so much more money in those campaign funds.
Q- Do you think it’s changed for the worst?
C- Well it’s changed differently, yeah I think, I think the in-fighting is worse.
J- The division between the two parties is ridiculous, uh, and it goes both ways. One party is you know, more what I would say—being a union man is more personal-like than the other party which is more rural. I call it me-ism. So, instead of thinking broadly about what’s happening in this country, it’s more well I gotta say that for both parties. Today, it’s more me-ism.
Q-Do you have a favorite presidential candidate from past elections over the years?
C- Over the years? Oh, Kennedy. John Kennedy, how about you?
J- I’d have to say that’s probably the most popular one, yeah.
Q-What was it like during that election? Was everyone just jumping on the bandwagon for Kennedy or…?
C- Oh, yeah. I remember how crowded it was. We went to the school to vote. I went during the day with my neighbor friends and all the kids and you know, we just sat on the floor in the halls. The lines were just so long. It was all the way down the hallways and out the door. And it took forever, it took us hours. But we had a good time.
Q-You’ve done the polls for many years. How have you seen the trends for voter turnout- like in certain elections you see more young people, more older people. How have you seen that change over the years?
J- I think everybody has an interest in it. It was probably the older people, were more in tuned to the voting than the younger people, and it shows today.
C- We—people are not voting, except for the really big elections. It’s very sad that the primary elections and many of the other elections, where I work at the polls, the people that vote are maybe 1/3 of how many are registered. And of course I don’t know how many of them may have voted absentee ballot, but still. It’s not very many voters.
Q-Do you think that will ever change or what do you think can be done to get more people who are registered to vote to come out to vote?
C- I really don’t know. It’ll be interesting next week to see how many show up at the polls. I think there will be a huge turnout.
J- I think there’s been a lot more thought behind the process of the election. And that has been brought out in the media and that, you get out and vote. Where, before it was, you know, it wasn’t. We weren’t as populist as it is today.
C- But we have never missed an election.
J- No that’s-
C- No matter how small of an election it was.
J- For us.
C-The two of us personally, have voted every single time we possibly could.
Q-As you are getting older, why do you think it’s important for people of your generation to keep voting?
C-Well we have to protect ourselves. We have to think of our social security and the things like that, that are important to us. That we don’t lose that.
Q-How do you think these two candidates are doing with the issues that you’re worried about?
C- Oh, It’s hard to tell. I don’t know, what’s your opinion?
J- Oh well, what the Republican would vote for and what the Democrat would vote for and I have come up this year with, to me a great slogan, and that’s ‘me-ism’.
Q-What are you expecting to see on Election Day?
C- I’m expecting to see challengers at the polls that are going to be looking over our shoulders and making sure we’re not doing anything wrong, at the polls. You know, with handling all the paperwork and everything. I’m sure we’ll have challengers.
Q-With this election, there’s been a lot of protests with third party candidates especially. What are your thoughts on them not being a part of the debate and things like that?
J- They’re not that influential in our train of thought. They don’t even touch, well one of them, one of the candidates doesn’t even know what he’s doing. So, you know. That sort of doubt. The libertarian— he’s sort of our in left field and right field. So, where do you go from there? You don’t even look at them. You either gotta be one or the other.
Q-Do you think if it didn’t get so personal, and if there wasn’t so much of that internal fighting, do you think there would be a better look on both of these candidates now?
C- That’s hard to say. Yeah, there probably would be. Because it’s definitely personality that has turned off Drumpf.
J- Yeah, its a high and a low in my mind and right now, that high and low you have to pick between who you think for and that, you know, there isn’t much of a—well there’s a great difference between them.
Q-You can say that the increase in technology that affects this election would be social media. Do you think that’s part of a negative for this election, almost or do you think it helps?
C- Well we don’t follow social media. So, I really don’t know. I know that we’re just really focused in on watching things like CNN, which normally we don’t pay that much attention to. But, everyday there’s something new going on to listen to. So, it’s always interesting.
Q-Well do you guys have anything else you would like to say about this election or voting at all?
C- Well I think we have to really be careful because of, you know, the world situation, the global situation. We have to worry about you know nuclear fallout during this election and that’s probably one of the most important things facing everyone.
Q-What about you?
J- Well I graduated from high school and a year later I started working in the auto industry and, of course at that point in time I was in the union and so I grew up with that. But today, everybody puts their thumb on the unions publicity wise and so, you know, that’s what’s hurting this whole system. You have to get out there and vote and young people haven’t seen the bad times and the good times.