Logo of the KUNM radio station.
Last month, I was a guest panelist on NoMoreNormal, a podcast hosted by Khalil Ekulona on KUNM. The topic of discussion was a report published by the American Academy of Arts & Science, titled Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century.
When I was approached to be on the show, I’m not going to lie – I was a bit intimidated. After being on the show previously with Barry Bitzer, Gus Pedrotty, and other Albuquerque civic-minded citizens, I realized how important this panel and podcast was – We all are trying to make a focused, methodical change on our government while upholding the democratic values of our country.
According to the Our Common Purpose page on the American Academy of Arts & Sciences website, the report and its recommendations, “seek to increase citizens’ capacity to engage in their communities, call attention to promising local initiatives around the country, combat rising threats to democratic self-government, and rebuild trust in political institutions.”
I felt like I was back at La Cueva High School, reliving my New Mexico Speech and Debate days. During the podcast, I debated many of the strategies and recommendations outlined in the report. While some of the topics were familiar to me, others were new. Topics included representation in the House of Representatives, voting mandates and term limits for supreme court justices.
I elaborated on the importance of campaign finance reform as well as expanding broadband infrastructure in New Mexico:
“Broadband is only implemented in about 55 percent of our state … What is the impact of broadband and the lack of connectivity in rural areas to actually create a community of civic engagement?”
While increasing connectivity is crucial in this day and age, we need to focus on integrity in the media. With our society inundated with fake news and bad rhetoric, I praised the significance of quality journalism in today’s age:
“It is important to find factual reporters that have the principles of journalism in mind and understand the true freedom of the press, so that way, they don’t abuse it … The journalist is as important as the media outlet, period.”
What are your ideas to increase civic engagement?