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For the Right Reason?

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Just Recently, President Obama stated that he supports same- sex marriage.  This statement has caused a huge debate and interest in the people of America, as well as students like us studying the elections.  Many questions have come up about this action that President Obama chose to make. Could this move be political move trying to gain more votes because he feels threatened by Mitt Romney?  Or could it be that he actually feels that same-sex marriage is ok?  I believe that President Obama should make this decision based off of his true belief, not because he is trying to gain support from more people.  Having said that, it is a very smart move if Obama did this to gain more support, even if he doesn’t truly stand by it.  However, we will never truly know the answers to these questions.

Same-sex marriage has always been a “state issue,” but as this issue became bigger and bigger it developed into a “national issue.”  It is playing a crucial role in the elections of officials in our government.  By choosing to support same-sex marriage, Obama is directly going against his republican contenders.  This is a very bold move that could either help him or hurt him.  There are currently thirty states that prohibit same-sex marriage.(1)  This statistic alone shows that Obama’s decision to support same-sex marriage was very risky.  Also recent polls show that “opposition to same-sex marriage rises to 51 percent, compared with 42 percent support.” However, when looking at this statistic one must keep in mind that the majority of people that are against same-sex marriage are republican and it is their belief that same-sex marriage is wrong.  Also, the majority of Republicans will not be voting for President Obama regardless because of the loyalty to their party.

This brings me to my main question that I have already mentioned and briefly talked about.  Did President Obama choose to support same-sex marriage to gain support?  In my opinion he did side with allowing same-sex marriage in order to gain more votes and the support of the homosexual people.  The timing of this decision was also very odd to me as well.  He chose to become public with this idea during the middle of the election process, and when it became clear whom he would be running against.  A poll that was conducted by the New York Times states, “they thought that Mr. Obama had made it “mostly for political reasons,” while 24 percent said it was “mostly because he thinks it is right.”” (2) This just proves that most of America believes that President Obama did this as an act to win the election.

When candidates run for election they use many different tactics and ways to gain support of voters.  Through our studies in government this year we have learned that candidates normally target a specific type of audience, such a young people or older people and many others.  When Obama admitted to supporting same-sex marriage he gained the support of the LGBT.  We will never know weather this action was due to gaining more votes or because he feels that same-sex is right, but we will soon find out if this move helped Obama win or lose the 2012 Presidential election.

(1)http://www.domesticpartnershipflorida.com/gay-marriage-facts-statistics/

(2)http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/us/politics/poll-sees-obama-gay-marriage-support-motivated-by-politics.html

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We are the 99%

May 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I decided to write my second reflection on the topic of Occupy Wall Street because in government class we discussed how powerful and corrupt the government can become, and Occupy Wall Street aims to correct this corruption.  Occupy Wall Street is a widely renowned subject, but somehow sustains its mysterious edge.  Not many people know what they are protesting and why it is such a huge deal.  The protestors call themselves “a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions” (http://occupywallst.org/).  They are using the “revolutionary Arab Spring tactic” which refers to when protestors gathered in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.  The protestors on Wall Street are mimicking their strikes, marches, and rallies that brought tremendous awareness to their cause.

In doing so, they have received many violent responses from police attempting to keep the protestors under control.  Protestors have said things like “the police presence is nonstop” and “there have been some very scary encounters with them” (http://www.thenation.com/article/163719/occupy-wall-street-faq).  One of these incidents included “the spectacle of police beating and brutalizing unarmed civilians for the crime of sitting on the pavement and demanding a fairer world” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/15/occupy-wall-street-police-violence).

Protestors agree that the police bringing these violent attacks only make “the police or government look…weak and cowardly” because they “have tended only to increase public support for civil disobedience”.  Sheneberger says that these attacks are the point of the violent resistance because “it exposes the corruption of the power that’s resisting you”.  This is an extremely powerful quote because when reading the initial story of police brutality, I only saw how horrible it all was instead of realizing what the protestors were trying to show us which was that the police need to do this in order to gain control of the protestors.  The fact that it is such a dire need for the police to get control of civilians that are simply “sitting on the pavement” exposes their need to suppress the knowledge that the protestors are expecting the government themselves to reveal.  The protestors are making an attempt at reverse psychology by getting the police to reveal themselves as the ones that are hiding something.  The police revealed this when desperately pepper-spraying and beating civilians with batons.  Alain Sherter puts it into a sentence, “For those who work around Wall Street, mobs are no doubt an inconvenience.  But such annoyances are peanuts compared with the economic and political problems this movement has thrust into view.  And that you can’t knock out with a billy club” (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-57326876/in-day-of-protests-occupy-wall-street-faces-police-violence/).

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New Amendment on Same-Sex Marriage: Constitutional or Not?

         

            Dated all the way back to the 1700s, same-sex marriage has been a major controversy in society. In recent news, President Barack Obama made a public statement saying that he supported gay marriage. Is this his true belief? This quote from CNN states, “I had hesitated on gay marriage, in part, because I thought civil unions would be sufficient, I was sensitive to the fact that — for a lot of people — that the word marriage is something that provokes very powerful traditions and religious beliefs.” Based on his previous opinions, what made him become such a strong advocate for equal marriage rights? It could have been the actions of North Carolina and their extreme efforts to permanently ban gay marriage. They created an amendment that prohibits same-sex marriage even though there was already a state law restricting it.

            On the contrary, the beliefs of Mitt Romney lead him to strongly support the new amendment that North Carolina has created. Stated in the Huffington Post, Romney believes that marriage should be between only one man and one woman. He relates this back to his religious beliefs by saying, “There is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.” Obama doesn’t necessarily disagree with this statement but when he thinks of including his religious ideals in his decisions as President he takes into account the “values like loving our neighbors, being our brother’s and sister’s keeper and dignity for all,” stated by Obama’s religious outreach spokesman Reverend Derrick Harkins.

            I believe that same-sex couples should have the choice of marriage because as stated in amendment one of the United States Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.” When North Carolina passed this amendment, it clearly demotes the equality of the men and women who have a partner of the same sex. In this changing society, gays should have the right to be able to live the same lives as any other American.

President Obama Supports Gay Marriage: Why He Did It and What It Means

Recently, it has made headline news that President Barack Obama has announced his support for the marriage of a LGBT couple. I know that a lot of my fellow classmates have already spoken about this but hopefully I will be able to keep this interesting and shed some light on the subject. In our government studies this year, several topics have caught my eye but one has been the use of campaign commercials and the relationship of the political parties. Hopefully I can examine the reasoning behind his decision to support gay marriage.

Vice President Joe Biden also came out and supported gay marriage three days earlier than . When I heard President Barack Obama’s comments, I had a few thoughts. I thought that maybe Barack Obama felt pressured into also supporting gay marriage just because his vice president supported as well. I also thought that maybe Vice President Biden stole President Obama’s thunder by supporting gay marriage just days before the President. It turns out that both the former and the latter might be true. According to The New York TimesVice President apologized to President Obama for, “hastening him into an endorsement of same-sex marriage, several people briefed on the exchange said Thursday, even as the White House sought to capitalize in the campaign on Mr. Obama’s long-awaited expression of support” (1). The campaign of President Obama really wanted to be progressive and support gay marriage but Biden called a press conference first and his views were much different than Obama’s views. Even though President Obama’s support has been highly analyzed, Biden made the headlines first and some people have questions about President Obama’s motives. I don’t doubt that President Obama supports gay marriage, but I think he was forced into saying it by his fellow party members.Image

President Obama is now the first President of the United States to support gay marriage, but it does not necessary mean anything for the legalization in America of gay marriage. Sean Eldridge, senior adviser at Freedom to Marry, told Yahoo News, “Today is more about moral leadership and less about policy. I don’t think his statement will immediately translate into policy since marriage still is for the most part a state issue” (2). Eldridge brings up some good points. If marriage is mostly a state issue, it would take a while to make the 6 states that allow it to become 50. The President has shown support of LGBT in the past; this statement didn’t come out of nowhere. He ended the  ban of openly gay members to be in the military. He also, “supports the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and he ordered the Justice Department last year to abandon the law’s defense” (2). Now that President Obama supports gay marriage, he is the best hope for the LGBT community to earn the right to get married. Although it could be just a political ploy, it seems like President Obama is trying his best to allow gay marriage in America even though he may not be ready to cope with the thought of it yet.

Obama said that he recently changed his mind when he spoke with openly LGBT members of the military. He has a track record with being supportive of gay rights and equality for all, but it is still unclear whether this is a political ploy or a truthful acknowledgment. Well, it’s both. The timing is good for his campaign and Joe Biden also came out and supported it, both signs that it could be a political act. His track record, however, proves that he does in fact support gay rights. Honestly, it is up to the reader to decide what his ulterior motives are and what he truly believes.

1.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/us/politics/obama-campaign-tries-to-capitalize-on-marriage-issue.html?_r=1&smid=tw-share

2. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/obamas-gay-marriage-views-policyabout-moral-leadership-advocate/story?id=16314661#.T7JenZ9YthM

Campaigning: A Race to See Who Is…. Not the Worst?

May 15, 2012 Leave a comment

As we wrap up the year in our government class, we aim to apply the things we have learned to real life situations. One topic we studied as campaigning and campaign strategies. One could look at Reagan, Bush, JFK, or any of our former presidents for that matter, and he or she could see the use of campaign ads or anything to push his campaign over another’s. The presidential elections are getting nearer and nearer which means that more and more campaign ads and other pushes to get a vote are being used. Recently, President Obama released a short clip slamming Mitt Romney in regard to job losses in the past and Romney’s “plan” for the future. As I talked about (as well as many others) in my last blog post, media has a tremendous effect on the presidential race today because of how many people see it. This ad portrays a dark and solemn tone to represent a not-so-bright future under Romney. Because of what we have studied in our class time, I now have a more solid viewpoint on what this ad really means and what it actually does in regard to President Obama’s campaign. Honestly, if I was to be watching TV in the past and this clip came on, I probably would have done one of two things: either change the channel or just zone out completely for a little bit until it was over. Now, I can actually watch it, know what they’re talking about, and form my own opinion about it, which in this case, I see that President Obama is right when criticizing Romney.

Because of the influence that politicians have on voters, they can say so many things about themselves or other candidates to get people to vote for them.

Moreover, back to the campaign ad and its relevance, this isn’t all that the President, or Mitt Romney even, have done to criticize one another. President Obama has ads like the one about steel workers above, as well as videos like “When Mitt Romney Came To Town”, while at the same time, Crossroads Generation, an organization that supports Mitt Romney, recently released a video criticizing President Obama and the issue of student debt. Things are getting heated. Debate is starting. Every four years, this point in time is reached where it turns into a free-for-all and the candidates throw jabs and sometimes uppercuts at each other. This is that point in time. With all the possible ways to get under candidates’ skin and blast them, it turns into a criticism-fest. As if the campaign ads weren’t enough, the Obama administration made a website solely to poke at Romney in relation to his responsibility for job losses. All of these forms of campaigning are used to cause mass flow of information to voters so that they have everything at their disposure. All of this can be linked to Richard Neustadt’s claim of presidential persuasion. A president must persuade those in his cabinet, but that is once he is in office. A presidential candidate and his or her administration must not only dig up information on other candidates that would shoot him or her down, but they must also be able to persuade their audience in order to get their votes.

Presidential elections have and always will be about who can make the other look the worst. It will always be about who can say “Look at me. I’m not going to give you everything, but I’m sure as heck better than that guy”, and then have everyone that hears him believe it. This is the epitome of campaigning and its effect on the voters. It’s giving voters the opportunity to form an opinion, just like I have learned to be able to do by taking this class.

1 Role, 2 Roles, 3 Roles, … It’s called the President

May 14, 2012 Leave a comment

            Recently I heard about President Obama hosting the annual Easter Egg Roll as well as visiting troops in Afghanistan.  From my government studies, I was able to understand these duties as three of the different roles the President holds: the Chief of State, the Commander in Chief, and the Voice of the People.  Originally, I found these two events interesting because they are completely different, but they both include duties of the Chief of State.  I was able to further appreciate other ways our President serves the United States.

Bo on the Easter egg!

            In hosting the Annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House, the President performs his job as the Chief of State, “the living symbol of the nation.”  As Chief of State, he is in charge of ceremonial events, which increase morale in the country.  On April 9, 2012, Obama presided over all aspects of hosting this year’s 134th Easter Egg Roll with the theme “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move.”  The event included family activities and the traditional egg roll on the South Lawn, as well as “educating families on smart ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise choices into their daily routines.”   In promoting healthy lifestyles, people gained a positive perception of Obama, which reflected positively on America as well.  I appreciated Obama’s effort to use the opportunity to spread ideas, which will improve the quality of life for the American people.  Next, I found it amusing that President Obama was even represented by a picture of his family’s dog, Bo, on the red Easter egg.  In conclusion, Obama successfully performed his duties as he appeared as a remarkable President and representative of the country by hosting a day of fun and promoting healthy lifestyles.

On May 1, 2012, President Obama visited the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to greet the American troops and present ten Purple Hearts.  In his visitation, he performed the duty of the Chief of State as well as the Commander in Chief and the Voice of the People.  At this event, his duty as the Chief of State is different than when he hosted the Easter Egg Roll.  In Afghanistan, he stood as an inspirational symbol of the country while he addressed the troops rather than hosting an event.  The soldiers who earned the Purple Hearts held President Obama in high esteem and looked to him as the most important figure in the country.  Also, by presenting awards to righteous people, other Americans wanted to gain the same honorable mention, which increases morale in the country.  I value the President increasing morale because it strengthens our country’s identity.  In addition, as the Commander in Chief, Obama interacted with the troops in order to evaluate strategic plans for conflict and motivate his troops to persevere, “We don’t go looking for a fight. But when we see our homeland violated, when we see our fellow citizens killed, then we understand what we have to do.” Lastly, as the Voice of the People, he gave a message of gratefulness from the people of America to the troops.  Obama expressed America’s gratitude in saying,

“And so, together, you guys represent what is best in America.  And you’re part of a long line of those who have worn this uniform to make sure that we are free and secure, to make sure that those of us at home have the capacity to live our lives…And I’m here to tell you, everybody in America knows that.  And everybody in America appreciates it.  And everybody in America honors it.”

The President is able to make speeches like these because he knows the true feelings of the people of America.  Obama’s trip to Afghanistan was extremely impressive going a great distance to perform three of his roles.

Soldiers Receiving Purple Hearts

            I overlooked the importance of each of the Presidents’ roles in each event until my government studies.  In using the knowledge I obtained, I am able to see the significance of each action the President takes.  I now see how each role represents not just the President, but also the entire country.  President Obama does a great job in juggling all roles at one time and creating a fantastic identity for America.  As seen in the two events, Obama is a figure for, speaks for, and gives direction for the United States of America.  When throwing an event or giving a speech, he embodies the ideals of this country.  While performing his roles, he is motivating, thoughtful, and insightful.

Don’t Let Your Voice Go to Waste

May 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Throughout this trimester, I have learned a great deal of new material. Some I had no clue even existed or went on in our world, like every little step in the election process, from the Iowa Caucus all the way to voting day. There is so much effort and time that is being put into the campaigns. I now have so much respect for the candidates with the devotion of their time they put into everything. With all the time and effort the candidates put into the elections, the LEAST we could do is go vote on voting day. Besides, not everyone is granted this privilege to have a say, so we need to take advantage of this opportunity.

One of the first things the candidates do is the Iowa Caucus. The Iowa caucuses are noteworthy for the amount of media attention they receive during U.S. presidential election years. Since 1972, the Iowa caucuses have been the first major electoral event of the nominating process for President of the United States. What the candidates do in the caucus is get more familiar with the people in Iowa in hopes to gain their votes. Since Iowa is relatively smaller than other states, this really gives the people the opportunity to really get to know the candidates better. Since they know the candidates on a more personal level, they have a better grasp of what kind of people the candidates really are and have very influential votes. For this reason, makes the Iowa Caucus a very reliable source to predict the future, because eight out of eleven elections, the candidate who won the Caucus ended up winning the whole presidency. The candidates put in a lot of effort, attempting to visit as many cities and make as many speeches and broadcasts as possible in order to get their ideas out in the open.

Another task the candidates have to go through is advertising. The candidates go from house to house, promoting their ideas and hopes for our country. One important key point the candidates try to accomplish, is promote their ideas to the swing states. By mainly focusing on the swing states, they hope to gain more votes. A swing state is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state’s Electoral College votes. Candidates try to win over the swing states’ Electoral College votes so they can add those votes with the other votes that they normally receive from the strong conservatives or strong liberals. Candidates also have to make campaign commercials, but first they have to raise money in order to make these commercials. The candidates put a lot of time into raising money. Once, they have collected enough, they then have to put effort into actually making the campaign commercials. Campaign commercials are not easy to make, because they have to intrigue the viewers to stay attentive while watching it.

All of these exhausting events finally lead up to the voting day, where we the people voice our opinion on who we think would better our country. After all the candidates’ hard work and effort, only one can ultimately win. Our government taught me the vigorous elections process and all the little steps in between. It has also taught me the importance of our voice and how important it is to use it by voting.

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