Long ago I read an article that argued that American’s were becoming less social, less engaged, and less aware. Specifically the prestigious author whimsically pointed to a 40% drop in bowling league involvement as a simple indicator of this loss of societal capital. That article has stuck with me for years since I read it.
When I saw that Indiana local voter turnout was the lowest in the nation in 2014 as only 30% of eligible voters voted (where I live in Marion county, the turnout was 25%), I wasn’t surprised to see that Indiana in 1954 (also a mid-term election year), voter turnout was 62.6%. It seemed to prove the bowling league hypothesis right – Americans are simply less engaged.
This month, I personally joined a bowling league (coincidentally, it is a heck of a lot of fun) making me think once again about the article. Upon further reflection, I realized the article’s argument simply couldn’t be true. In an age of a billion people being connected on Facebook, 10 million neighbors being connected on Nextdoor, and millions of people volunteering (and raising more than a hundred million dollars) for nonprofits they care for each year, the problem isn’t Americans being less engaged and social, it’s the disenfranchisement by an institution they feel they receive little benefit from taking part in. In 2016, I urge you to do one of two things to do your part to turn things around. Get out and vote when the time comes, or for all that is good and holy, join a bowling league! Better yet, do both.
Hope you all have a wonderful February.