The year is 1933. The United States (US) is in the worst recession in its history; the Great Depression seems as if it will never end. Each day, the world seems a little more dismal and confusing until March 12th. The radio chatters as the entire family sits in the room waiting for some entertainment and escape from the sad reality all Americans faced the past few years. Suddenly, an announcement is made, and moments later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) begins his speech.
Prior to this, most presidents and federal government officials communicated with the public through the printed media. However, FDR’s over thirty fireside chats from 1933 to 1944 allowed him to shed some light on the confusion many felt in this period.
Similar to these chats, Jeffrey Jackson, the US representative for North Carolina’s fourteenth congressional district, found a way to connect with American citizens to clarify some misconceptions and confusion surrounding Congress. Like FDR, Jackson used a new platform to reach a larger audience: TikTok. His profile on TikTok, @jeffjacksonnc, currently has over 1.9 million followers. Since being sworn into office in January 2023, Jackson has posted explanations of different issues brought up in the House of Representatives. All of his videos posted in 2023 have over 1.9 million views. Jackson’s best-performing video, with 29.2 million views, informed Americans of the potential bank crisis that could have occurred as a result of the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank and urged the public to remain calm.
Earlier this year, he shared that some unnamed individuals in Congress are not as passionate and “angry” as they may appear on T.V. or online. Although his public announcements serve to inform Americans and show that not everything is what it seems, news stations such as FOX criticize Jackson, calling him “Congressman Nobody.”
Although the media may portray certain aspects as negative or irrelevant, remaining informed in a time of constant misinformation and confusion is essential. Personally, I am thankful to hear facts directly from a member of Congress. A connection to the government is imperative because they are meant to protect us, but how can they complete this simple task if we do not understand what the government is doing for us?