U.S. Government: Republic or Plutocracy?

As someone who has taught U.S. government and economics to high school students, I will say firsthand that there is significantly less interest in politics among the youth than in virtually every other conceivable topic.

Topics more interesting to younger Americans include but are not limited to: Sports, music, iPods, movies, video games, Facebook, partying, Lady Gaga, Jersey Shore, Comedy Central, South Park, Adult Swim, etc… (the list goes on and on…).

Now, let me be clear – there are many young Americans who are very interested in our political process and are active in keeping up with the news, even before they graduate from high school.  Unfortunately those students are few and far between, swimming in an ocean of political apathy.  While many so-called education experts do not hesitate to point out our nation’s dismal science and math scores, there is significantly less focus on social studies education.

Today, there are a record number of citizens who claim to be independent voters.  As commentators have noted following last Tuesday’s election results, a majority of independents who voted Obama into office chose to vote against incumbent Democrats.  While Republicans claim this is a sign that voters want less “big government,” it is simply a signal that voters are tired of the party in power.

In 2006, Democrats took control of Congress after voters became disillusioned with Republican policies working for everyday Americans, and in 2008 Senator Obama convincingly won against Senator McCain in the presidential election.  In 2008 McCain ran on the slogan “Country First”, and the PR battle that ensued was between the Republicans’ strategy of using patriotism and denouncing Obama’s ideas versus Obama’s “Yes We Can” strategy of “Hope” and “Change We Can Believe In.”

To anyone following U.S. politics and current events in the past decade, it was not surprising to see Obama win against McCain and his unqualified running mate Sarah Palin.  Today, many Democrats appear to be baffled as to why they lost so many seats in the midterm elections.  After all, didn’t Bush and his Republican-led Congress get us into this mess in the first place?  Paying for two wars with costs well over $1 trillion and enacting tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich at the same time is economic suicide, as most Econ. 101 professors would point out.

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I Love Freedom, I’m a Patriot and I Support Our Troops!

And God bless the United States of America!

Okay, I will back off from the hyperbole for a minute.  No, I am not trying to sound condescending (did it work, though?).  I just want to take a minute to comment on the way we use language and how the words that we choose to use reveal a lot about us and our “agendas”.

Barack Obama used the words “hope” and “change” and the phrase “Yes We Can” more times than I care to remember during the 2008 presidential campaign.

One of President Obama's 2008 campaign slogans.

Not to be outdone, McCain and Palin used the nationalistic tagline “Country First” and utilized patriotic sayings, symbols and video clips so often that the next step would have been draping the American flag over themselves every time they spoke.  After watching the 2008 Republican National Convention, I am surprised I didn’t throw up red, white and blue all over the living room floor.

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Pick Clements for U.S. Senate, by Ryan Rhoades

Tom Clements for U.S. Senate (SC), 2010

[This is my letter to the editor that was published today, Saturday September 4th in The Greenville News.]

There has been extensive coverage of Democrat Alvin Greene, whose constant gaffes and suspicious past make him easy pickings for media ratings.

In fact, Greene has garnered more media attention than most other Congressional candidates so far in 2010.

So what about incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint?

Many are familiar with DeMint and most voted for him in the last election.  However, his reactionary agenda is becoming more apparent when looking at his recent contributions to certain Tea Party candidates.  His political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, has contributed over $2 million to neoconservative candidates. Read more of this post