Political expert: Ranting versus discussion on President Obama's visit
As the Scenic City prepares to welcome the President of the United States, there have been extreme reactions to his visit. Many viewers have let us, here at Channel 3, know how they feel about it.
Numbers show President Obama's stop comes at a time when the nation is very divided politically. Dr. Stephanie Bellar says she is not surprised at all by the spectrum of reactions.
As President Obama prepares to step foot in the Scenic City, he will be stepping on to a variety of welcome mats.
The Tennessee Republican Party is running a TV commercial, saying Obama's liberal policies had nothing to do with job growth in the Tennessee Valley.
Local democratic leaders like Chattanooga city councilman Chris Anderson, sent a welcome letter, saying his "visit gives a national spotlight to the unfolding story of Chattanooga's transformation."
On social media, it is split. Some call the president a "disgrace", while others say his visit highlights the potential for business in Chattanooga.
"Politics is always about passion. It is people at their best and sometimes at our worst," says Dr. Stephanie Bellar.
Dr. Bellar has taught American government at UTC for almost 25 years. She says a lot of politics deals with emotions, versus facts.
"I try to express to our students that so much of what we think about politics, is really more about what we feel about politics," she says.
Bellar says the conversation has steered from political discourse to just blunt reactions.
"It's been a really emotional couple of years here. We're still recovering from economic catastrophe and many people are really still trying to recover from that," says Bellar.
The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Obama's approval rating stands at 45 percent, just one point away from his lowest rating ever.
"When you're the president and you have the bully pulpit, you get slathered with all of it. It's like peanut butter, it's just going to spread on you," says Bellar.
Bellar says part of a healthy discussion includes being an active voter and communicating with who you have voted into office.
"There's a difference between doing a public rant and engaging in a thoughtful analysis," she says.
Bellar says most of what the public rants about pertains to actions or inactions in congress. She says, believe it or not, the most efficient means of communicating with your representative is through a good, old-fashioned, well-written letter.