11:44 AM

Q&A With Bellevue University's Rick Galusha: How to Engage in the Election/Political Process


Rick Galusha is an Associate Professor and Program Director of the Kirkpatrick Signature Series at Bellevue University. He’s hosted a blues radio show for 30 years and is co-organizer of Free Speech Nebraska, a community group committed to the free exchange of idea and civil discourse.

What can people do to be more involved in the political process?

What we really need at this point is for people to engage in discussions about the important aspects about the upcoming election. The challenge is that most people have already made their minds up and these conversations can become toxic. People should attempt to reduce the toxicity and lower the divisiveness that surrounds political involvements and discussions in today’s society. A way that people can get even more involved is to join a political campaign.

How can people engage in conversations/civil debates even with those who have differing views?

It is important to recognize that rhetoric, the words we choose to use, have meaning. As a general rule of thumb, we should refer to someone by the title that they use to refer to themselves. A sample of this is if someone refers to themselves as “pro-life,” then that is how we should refer to them rather than, for example, “anti-life.” It is also important to recognize that the way you say something will interpret the way that somebody will respond to what you have said. When engaging in political debates with others, you must choose your words carefully in order to keep the conversation civil.

How can voters prepare for the upcoming election?

People should make sure that they are registered to vote and know where their polling place is located. Right now, there is an effort to create doubt and concern and it is important to recognize that voter fraud is nonexistent and not to be worried about. Due to the manipulation that is going on with the voting process such as suggestions that it is unstable, the post office is inefficient, etc., voters should anticipate bizarreness with voting in this election.

How can people be sure they’re acquiring accurate information?

Cable news sources typically can’t be trusted for accurate information. Too often some outlets will use bias to attract an audience. Go with trusted sources such as CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, NPR, and the BBC. Many media outlets, especially websites and cable, use bias to cater to specific audiences that will support the media outlets advertising stream. Often, this is not because they are nefarious in nature, but rather the media create an income by securing a large enough audience through which they can make a profit. People should realize that if we want to continue to have free press, we need to pay for it. To some degree, citizenship requires us to engage financially with our media outlets.

What are some recommended outlets where people can get information from credible sources?

We should look for outlets that are most trusted according to the Pew Research Center – a nonpartisan American organization based in Washington, D.C. Two of the most trusted news outlets are American, which are NPR and PBS. There are also two British news outlets that are highly trusted according to the Pew Research Center which are the BBC and The Economist Magazine. Those four news outlets are the most trusted and can generally be relied on for credible information.