Category Archives: Political Culture

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Condescent of a Woman

Samantha Bee confirms that women dislike it when people argue on television and suggests measures to make the debates more palatable to female voters.

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The Party of Archie Bunker

Publicity photo from the television program Al...

Publicity photo from the television program All in the Family. Pictured are Carroll O’Connor (Archie Bunker) and Michael Evans (Lionel Jefferson). In this episode, Archie visits a local blood bank to donate and meets his neighbor, Lionel Jefferson, who is also there to donate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Archie Bunker is a fictional character played by Carroll O’Connor in a popular 1970s series All in the Family.  Despite being depicted as a hardworking family man, Bunker was also an assertively prejudiced blue-collar worker famous for his condescending and bigoted persona against feminists, communists, hippies, homosexuals, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, and all ethnic minorities. Archie got away with his prejudice demeanor because he personified the attitude of many of his generation at the time. Namely White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) male.

Based on the current republican platform (party platform is a list of socially relevant, urgent, controversial, or complicated topics or issues supported by a particular political party) and statements concerning public policy from prominent republicans, the current perception of the GOP does not match the party of Eisenhower, Goldwater or even Ronald Reagan. Official statements concerning legitimate rape, self-deportation of immigrants, that Obama supporters are all welfare recipients dependent on government and lack personal responsibility, not to mention the idea that today’s Russia is no different than yesterdays Soviet Union , have collectively revealed the Republican Party to be the party of Archie Bunker.

If that is the case, does that mean the Democratic Party is the party of George Jefferson? More importantly, what can Governor Mitt Romney, as the republican nominee for president, do to change this perception of the GOP?

–TERRANCE MULLINS

Anti-Social Media, Freedom and Responsibility

The horrendous murder of American diplomats in Libya and the continuing protests and criminal actions aimed at America embassies and consulates in Yemen and Egypt provide yet one more opportunity to examine the emerging importance of social media.  In just the last year we have seen how pro-democracy movements in the Arab world were aided by the social media like Facebook and Twitter.  The instantaneous ability to communicate with people at a global level helped fuel and organize the forces that eventually brought two Arab strongmen to their end.  In a previous blog I commented on the significance of social media in the pro-democracy revolution in Egypt.

Unfortunately, like most swords, this one has two edges.  The same social media that once aided in the spread of hope is being used to spread hate.  An independently produced video on YouTube has thrown gasoline on a flame best left an ember—anti-American sentiment in the Middle East, cultural clashes based on history, religion, and politics.  There is enough blame and fault to go around.  In the days, indeed, the hours ahead, can the same social media be employed to dampen the flames?  The anger is misdirected; the violence is unacceptable; and any politicization of the tragedy is shameful.  The power and potential of emerging social media should come with equal measures of freedom and responsibility.  Who can make this happen?

–DENNIS FALCON

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on Obama’s Comment

President Obama has been harshly criticized by some of his political opponents that he doesn’t understand the American way because of his recent “you didn’t build that” comment. What do you think?

Philosophically Important, Legally Irrelevant

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jeffe...

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of independence (1776) were all of British descent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, Americans around the country will enjoy spectacular fireworks displays and gorge on countless hotdogs in celebration of the nation’s independence. The Fourth of July holiday would not be possible if it was not for the Declaration of Independence, one of the most well-known and quoted documents in the United States of AMerica:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

However, most Americans do not realize that the declaration itself is not a legal document, but merely an announcement declaring the 13 American colonies as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. The Declaration of Independence may not be legally binding; it is nonetheless, the philosophical foundation of what will latter become the American political culture and American jurisprudence. It solidified within the American psyche, the idea of rights untouchable by government and the notion of liberty and justice for all.

Happy Fourth of July!

–TERRANCE MULLINS

Race and the Hispanic Vote

English: White Hispanic and Latino Americans

English: White Hispanic and Latino Americans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the second in a series of blogs focusing on what some like to refer to as the Hispanic vote.  It is intended to edify those elements of the MyPoliSciLab community that may just be learning of the increasingly important role Hispanic voters will play in American politics.  This installment will consider the significance of race as a factor influencing our understanding of the emerging Hispanic vote across the country.

First of all, the term Hispanic does not actually discriminate according to race (although many researchers do take race into account when studying Hispanics).  Hispanics born in the United States as part of the baby boom generation (and for decades before that) would have been designated as “White” or “Caucasian” on their birth certificates.  Of course, Hispanic newborns with parents or a parent displaying “Black” or African American features or characteristics would have likely been designated as “colored” or “Black” depending on the particular time in history.  In actuality Hispanics can be White and Black—or both as in the case of a bi-racial individual.  Given the state of political science research on the matter, traditional voting models that take race into account and predict that White voters are more likely to support republican candidates and African American or Black voters are more likely to support democratic candidates, are problematic when we take into account Hispanic voters.  The current state of the discipline suggests that including Hispanics in the models is reasonable based on the understanding that Hispanics represent a different population.  I am suggesting that they do not.

Hispanics, as we currently understand the term, come from the nations of North, Central, and South America.  They are White, Black, and Indian (indigenous, indígena) and every possible iteration you can think of.  Discussions regarding the Hispanic vote in both the mainstream and new media are still likely to follow in the footsteps of those who have an over-simplified understanding of their Hispanic brothers and sisters.  What do you think?  Should political scientists lead the way in terms of changing the way we talk about Hispanic political behavior?  Can the media make heads or tails of the issues involved?

–DENNIS FALCON