Friday, September 19, 2008

Storytelling and the Election

Storytelling has been a big part of the election campaign so far. For all of the talk about tax cuts, the war and health care, personal stories have played as big of a part as policies. Here are a few sentences from some stories on the trail...

"And with his sandal on the dirt in the courtyard, he drew a cross. And he stood there, and a minute later he rubbed it out and walked away. For a minute there, there was just two Christians worshiping together. I'll never forget that moment."

"Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story -- of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well off or well known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to."

"My mom and dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town. And among the many things I owe them is one simple lesson: that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity."
Personal stories humanize the candidates. It takes them from talking heads to real people who have real families, real problems. And with an emerging generation that resonates more with hollywood than politics, stories more than ever speak the language of culture. In settings where the candidates get to go beyond a sound bite, like the conventions or the faith forum, they have a chance to connect on a much more intimate, relevant level.

The LA Times did a nice piece on the story factor in the election called...

In Campaign 2008, the story's the thing