Raw footage for "None of the Above," a documentary about non-voters during the 1996 presidential election. This tape features an interview with John McKnight.
00:14Copy video clip URL John Callaway interviews John McKnight, professor at Northwestern University, who speaks of the research being done in the poor neighborhoods in Chicago.
05:25Copy video clip URL McKnight says that we can’t automatically assume that people are disillusioned based on the percentage of people who vote. He notes that many people are very active in their community civic life due to the direct impact that they can make, but do not feel the importance of the removed aspect of representation in Washington. He notes that “voting is voting to give your power away.”
09:00Copy video clip URL McKnight agrees with Callaway that what is often viewed as “cynicism” can actually be idealism, through working directly for change in my community. He goes on to say that those who do vote may actually be the alienated ones.
11:05Copy video clip URL He notes that over many years, Americans have consistently been losing trust in leaders of many institutions. He says that this may be due to the fact that with corporate take-overs, we have lost the individual connections that we’ve had in our relationships. He says that the mistrust that many of us have may be healthy and sensible because we are in a position where we have to watch our own interests more closely because the macro-level institutions cannot necessarily be trusted.
17:27Copy video clip URL McKnight speaks of his sister’s idea that love is the basis of societal reform and that the spread of love is the goal. Therefore, government may not be the best place for that goal.
20:00Copy video clip URL McKnight and Callaway discuss an idea proposed by Robert Putnam at Harvard University, that civic life is decreased due to the increase of television viewing. McKnight says that Putnam’s work is great on a macro scale, but McKnight favors his own research at the local level.
24:10Copy video clip URL Taping cuts out for a few seconds, then starts again.
25:20Copy video clip URL Callaway asks if we’re becoming more isolated as a society due to TV and the internet. McKnight says that as citizens, we are to be producing, but there is a lot of energy spent consuming instead. He says the space we have to work in as citizens by taking power and making power with our communities and neighbors is shrinking due to consumerism. “Are we citizens and producers or are we consumers and clients?”
29:27Copy video clip URL He speaks of the loneliness and impotence caused by losing the faith in institutions due to our need to carry the burden of those things that we used to trust our institutions with (church, school, government, etc).
33:33Copy video clip URL “When one is in communication through electricity it leads to eccentricity.”
34:20Copy video clip URL McKnight speaks of school reform in Chicago and the large institution of the Chicago Public Schools and how that cannot work because the institution is too big. He says the neighborhoods of Chicago rose up against the large system and took power back in local form, which is a good first step to empowerment.
39:44Copy video clip URL McKnight says that voting in itself is a good thing, but that he is interested in taking a step back to look at the reasons for why people do not vote. He tells the story of Northwestern University students who rose up against the Vietnam War as a sign of the latent power that lies in the middle class when they feel threatened. He says that there will be a resurgence in the personal model that we have lost.
47:24Copy video clip URL End of tape.