KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Mayfield: Democracy needs your help

Jun 21, 2024, 8:12 AM | Updated: Jun 27, 2024, 4:44 pm

Children wave American flags. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)...

Children wave American flags. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

There’s a lot of talk these days about the future of our democracy. Both major political parties are warning that if the other one wins democracy is over.

There are many legitimate reasons to be concerned about the health of our representative system in this country. But one that we don’t talk much about is our own willingness to actually participate.

I volunteer with our kids’ school PTA. This week, we had the chance to meet with the state senator who represents our neighborhood. It was a good discussion. I think we learned a lot and he was able to hear our legitimate concerns.

What struck me when it was over was just how easy it really was to have such direct access to someone who votes on the literal laws that govern our lives. In my career as a journalist, I have interviewed countless elected leaders at every level of government.  That’s a kind of access often afforded journalists and I am grateful for that access. I always felt like it was my privilege to represent you at home with my questions during those interviews.

More from Travis Mayfield: We’re all a little ‘sus’ but we can also do better

But this was different. This was me – just a random human – talking for 30 minutes with the lawmaker who has been asking for my vote for the last two decades or so. The process was simple. We had concerns. We reached out for a meeting. The meeting was scheduled. We had the meeting.

That’s it.

I bring this all up because as I was reflecting on it, I realized this was only the second time in my entire life that I had—as a private citizen—had one of these meetings with a lawmaker.

I consider myself well-read, politically engaged, and certainly an active participant. I haven’t missed casting a ballot in any election since I was legally able to vote almost 30 years ago.

Yet this meeting felt special and unique and revealing.

More Mayfield: Washington lawmakers must fix broken school funding system

This made me wonder why we aren’t doing this kind of thing more often. Why have I only done this twice in my life? Why do we often let others do this kind of work for us? We think activists and lobbyists get a lawmaker’s ear and that’s true, but in our system of government…we get an ear as well if we are willing to take and bend that ear.

Let’s continue this national debate over the health and future of democracy, but at the same time, perhaps we could all examine our own civic participation. Let’s all ensure that we, too, are playing an active—and direct—role in shaping that future.

Travis Mayfield is a Seattle-based media personality and a fill-in host on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of his stories and commentaries here.

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

biden farenthold...

Dave Ross

Ross: Biden is out of the presidential race, just as Farenthold predicted. What can he predict next?

I found Joe Biden had removed himself from the race and thought of Farenthold, my favorite NYT reporter who predicted that very thing three weeks ago.

16 hours ago

Image: President Joe Biden speaks about the high cost of prescription drugs and child care at Green...

Steve Coogan

‘Disarray:’ KIRO, KTTH hosts comment on Biden withdrawal, Harris ascension

The KIRO Newsradio and KTTH hosts who spoke about the development with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to MyNorthwest offered varying opinions.

1 day ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Netflix Decides to Change Their Subscription Options

What is Netflix up to this time? They’re just changing the plans they offer for the hundredth time. Gee Scott joins the SMN crew to talk about all things Netflix. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM or go to MyNorthwest.com […]

3 days ago

vote counts...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: One simple trick to ensure your vote actually counts

We should all care deeply whether our vote counts or not. And there is one surefire way to actually do that … check yourself!

4 days ago

...

MyNorthwest Video

Video: Tipping Culture’s NEW Incognito Way of Getting $$$

Toulouse Petit in Lower Queen Anne started charging a 5% “Living-wage” surcharge on all checks. The SMN crew and Gee Scott have some thoughts on this. What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News w/ Dave Ross & Colleen O’Brien Show every weekday at 5am on KIRO Newsradio […]

4 days ago

Image: Kimberly Cheatle is the 27th director of the U.S. Secret Service. She has held the position ...

Angela Poe Russell

Angela Poe Russell: The unlikely scapegoat in the Donald Trump assassination attempt

A Republican from Tennessee, said DEI was to blame for the tragedy that saw a gunman try to kill Donald Trump.

5 days ago

Mayfield: Democracy needs your help