Creating conversation



Imagine being at your favorite bar on election night, surrounded by television screens, but not one of those screens is tuned in to any network coverage of the election. Then imagine being told that because people prefer sports to politics, you would have to find somewhere else to watch election coverage.

That was exactly what a couple members of GEOPOL faced during the last presidential election; so this year they made sure they would have a place to convene election night.

GEOPOL is a group that provides meeting places for those who desire to discuss politics, religion, economics and other areas of interest. GEOPOL has an online show that airs discussions worldwide, allowing thousands to take part in intellectual conversations.

"This year I thought, I'll be damned if I am watching a basketball game while history is being made," said David Stockdale, GEOPOL member.

"A lot of people are dying to come together and talk," said Pedro Cardoso, member of GEOPOL. "In GEOPOL, a liberal gets to talk to a Republican. A Muslim gets to talk to a Christian. The environment we offer caters to conversation."

Stockdale, along with Cardoso, held an election party Tuesday to allow GEOPOL members, as well as the general public, the opportunity to watch election coverage while having drinks, playing pool, smoking cigars and soaking up life in a local pub.

Stockdale said during the last election he faced challenges when trying to watch the election in an area bar and was forced to run around Broad Ripple looking for places to watch election coverage.

Tuesday's election turned out to be a milestone in American history, but people in Carmel's Fox and Hound Pub & Grille still chose to watch college football along with other sports.

There were more than a handful of televisions posted in the pub's main dining area, but only two had election coverage on and even then the sound was muted.

GEOPOL's election party was in a private party room, had one enormous screen tuned in to CNN and three other televisions tuned in to FOX, ABC and MSNBC's election coverage with two laptops also in the room logged on to news and political sites.

The juxtaposition of GEOPOL's private room to the regular area of the pub was a bit odd. The private room was buzzing with excitement about the election and discussions about which way swing states would go, and how this election differed from all the rest. In the private room, it felt like everyone everywhere was tuned in to the election and was anxiously watching the votes come in. But just a few feet away was evidence that some people still felt like this was just another election.

"Me watching is not going to change anything. I just came out to play some pool," said one man who had not been watching any coverage and was unaware of any of the progress being made by candidates.

Whether or not you watched the coverage Tuesday night, the evening served as an opportunity for half a million people to gather in Chicago's Grant Park in support of the man who will be the first African-American president. Thousands of TV viewers witnessed Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey shed tears of joy, thousands of people danced in Times Square and viewers also witnessed what some are calling John McCain's best speech yet, and maybe even the best concession speech ever.

For more information on GEOPOL: online broadcast



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