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The Ecology of Democracy, Chapter 6 - Your point of view - 2

Hello Everyone,

Our classroom discussions have centered on a chapter you were assigned from The Ecology of Democracy.

This is a gentle reminder that your posts and responses are due by Monday, November 27th by midnight. Keep in mind, you are to write a well thought-out, meaningful reflection paper about your group project  and respond to two of your classmates papers, for a minimum total of three posts.

Remember, we are interested in your original thoughts and ideas! This assignment is designed to get you to think critically and engage in a civil discussion with your classmates about the democratic process of problem solving as it relates to you in the classroom and in the community.

Please do not wait until the last minute; post early and often. Each post will be graded based on the quality of the content. Your post should cover some aspect of the chapter you are reading including the problem, process, program and projected outcome. Please use this link to enter the website http://ecologyofdemocracy.org/.

You will make your posts in the classroom conversations area; under the thread The Ecology of Democracy Your point of View-2. You can also receive up to 20 points extra credit by answering the thread question: How do you understand the role of citizens or the citizenry in a democracy?  If you have not registered, you will need to do so. Feel free to catch me in class or shoot me an email if you have any questions.

Best

Comments

UM LaBombard's picture

I agree with you that there are a lot of problems in the United States today. However, I don't necessarily believe that citizens don't act  due to a lack of care. If American citizens did not care, I don't think we would see millions of votes being cast every election year. Even after all of the tension from the previous election dies down, many Americans will continue to follow politics and voice their own opinions. I personally believe that Americans want to act, but have lacked leadership on both sides of the political spectrum. Instead of having leaders who push individuals to educate themselves, we have politicians who blame the otherside for the problems. The media further complicates things by jumping to conclusions and trying to persuade people into taking sides. Once Americans put their faith in each other instead of both parties ( Which in my opinion have been complete failures in fighting for the rights and liberties of American citizens), we will see positive changes in American society.

UM kidd's picture

In this article under the subheading "Whats in a name?" It talkes about people who focus more on what they read or hear and not so much on what they already know or on their own thoughts. It has gotten worse than before. its mostly called he say she say now. Where poeple mostly focus on what other people are telling them. Most of that happened with this election between Hillary and Trump. People would go back and fourth about who is worse based on what they heard. Now I feel no one really knows what those two we're up to but we cant always go off of what other peopel say. 

UM Teachout's picture

I absolutely agree with you. False information is so readily available through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, and it is difficult to encourage people to research facts through reliable sources. It seems as though that people make their decisions based on the memes they see online and that thought is truly terrifying. I would love to see a non- bias, positive program established that teaches young students in a fun and interesting way, the basics of government and how the process works. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed because it causes people to go to social media for pretend facts. Before reposting, I think that people should research the information that is presented on the meme before reposting it or siding with it.

UM Teachout's picture

I absolutely agree with you. False information is so readily available through social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, and it is difficult to encourage people to research facts through reliable sources. It seems as though that people make their decisions based on the memes they see online and that thought is truly terrifying. I would love to see a non- bias, positive program established that teaches young students in a fun and interesting way, the basics of government and how the process works. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed because it causes people to go to social media for pretend facts. Before reposting, I think that people should research the information that is presented on the meme before reposting it or siding with it.

MMfelts's picture

I completely agree with you! I feel that a lot of times people can base their opinions of what they saw on TV or read on Facebook. I don't think a lot of people take the time to go and seek out information to make their own personal well informed opinions. Then you can see a lot of different fights that happen over one person reading something online and another reading something else online and neither of which may even be true. People need to stop focus on what others are telling them or what they hear and start figuring it out for themselves and basing everything on what someone else said.  

UM Mrdeza's picture

You bring up a good point when you talk about "What is in a name." I think that you are right when you say that people tend to lose sight of what they truly believe in and they adhere to what politicians give a name to. With more access to really everything through means of the internet primarily, I think that people do lose a sense of individualism. This happens because being part of a popular way of thinking looks more ideal than having different thoughts. When more and more people come together for the sake of a single way of thinking then there will be less diverse thinking by definition. Although interestingly enough in November of 2016 in the United States, even though more people are connected, there is much more diversity than before. Even though people can mass together in belief of an idea or what have you, now there must be many more of these groups than before. There must be more smaller groups supporting the same thing rather than fewer larger groups. One would think that if people were more connected, than they would support more of the same thing, but it simply is not true today in the United States. You also bring up a good point about many things today being ambiguous or "he said she said." With people having access to social media and communication like texting, it is very easy to have communication blur into really nothing. The volume of chatter and talk has a great chance of becoming near meaningless.

Mdula's picture

It was mentioned in the chapter about how there are uninformed decisions that have big costs. I fel a ho totpic in this vein is the fact that the arts is always the first to be cut whenever there is some new fangeled education program where we are all mde into perfect robots. I get that math and science are important, but in the effort to close this supposed "acedemic gap" anyone with an ounce of creativity is told to forget it and pickup that calculus book so we can finally beat those Asians. And god be dammed if you try to say anything to change it. Art in all it's forms is more important to the world than it seems those who hold influence will ever know, and there is nothing to be done to change it.

UMshaw's picture

This piece is very relevant to today and these past few months. People will often make decisions based on a fit of passion, or an instinct telling them that their safety is at stake. They act quickly and without stopping to consider their actions and how these actions will affect others. One way to end this is to keep citizens more informed. I think that is something that many people, including myself, need to work on. Hearing both sides of an argument from a source with as little bias as possible. However, as the article states, these facts alone are not enough. We need to not only know the information to help us make our decision, we need to consult other things as well. Our morals are what we need to make educated choices, which will benefit everyone. If not everyone, than those most in need of help.

UM Teachout's picture

I agree with your post completely. This article is absolutely relevant to what is happening in the world today. This ties into the effects and influences that social media has on citizens as well. Posts and memes are created with passionate and sometimes condescending wording. The blissful, cut and dry way things sound, seem to be the things that stick with citizens (who do not do their own research) gravitate toward. When people feel as though their safety is being threatened, they act irrationally and do not consider the repercussions of decisions they might be making based on fear factors that they have not taken the time to research. I agree that there needs to be a better way to insure that citizens are being informed properly and have access to reliable information.

Mdula's picture

Speaking of involved and informed decisions, who else feels this went completely ove everyone's heads in this election? I mean really, how did a racist, mysoginist bigot get into office? And with no democrats holding house or senate there is no one to stop him when he decides to impliment some ignorant idea like building a wall between Mexico and the U.S. We need to continue to develope a healthy relationship with other countries, not tear them down. What really scares me though is that if the opinion of the majority (as Clinton won popular vote) of people went unheard, how can we be sure we have any say in the future? I don't need another thng to keep me up at night.

MMochoa's picture

Although I agree with everything you say, I don't think you should be allowing who our new president-elect is to keep you up at night. It would be very interesting to understand how and why Mr.Trump was able to get to where he is now, but our responsibility as citizens now that all is said and done, should be to continue moving forward. We cannot let something like this separate us even more than the elections already did. In the last few months every nationwide issue has become very black and white, whith people taking one side or the other. Sensible conversation and debate has become much less common, as many of us have opted for hate speech and name calling. If we let this continue to happen, we wil end up causing our country much more harm than any president could on his or her own. 

 

MMbundy's picture

I agree with you that this year's election was not at all what I believe our country needs, but we can't change what has happened at this point. If we wish for Trump to fail as a President just to be proven right, it does our country a disservice. If Trump fails it ultimately means our country will fail as well. We can gain nothing from that except that we will be able to say "I told you so." We can only hope that he will be a better leader than anticipated. That would mean that while we were wrong, our country is the better for it.

"There's great like-minded people out there who are Americans first and Republicans or Democrats second. I hope the president-elect does such a great job that I vote for his re-election in four years." -Tom Hanks

UM Teachout's picture

Upon reading Chapter 6, the section, "What Is a Name," seemed to accurately explain why people of the United States may be uninterested or unmotivated in political involvement and political research. This section seems to elaborate on the different reasons why there may disconnect between the majority of the population and the technical labels for issues that are generated by political professionals. Citizens get discouraged due to the confusion of the naming of problems/issues and the different reports generated by the media. When I read this, it made me think that the naming (of problems and issues) politics provide, are viewed as misleading. This domino effect seems like a large reason as to why the trust is diminishing between politics and the citizens of this country. 

MMtrevithick's picture

I agree, the complexity of poltics discourages many citizens. I think that politics need to be explained in easier terms so that people do not feel as intimidated by getting involved. Making it simplier and in the terms of the common man will then allow the common man to be more politically engaged. Once they better understand the big issues they will not be misled, but rather effciently educated, thus creating a system for the common man and with the common man involved.

UM Boyd's picture

After reading the Chapter 6 I did not give this section much thought but after reading your comment this makes a lot of sense to me! I definetly agree that naming things that involve politics is misleading to many Americans because politics is already a tough subject to grasp when you do not study in that particular field. It still amazes me that many young people do not understand or are knowledgeable about checks and balances and the different roles between the executive branch, judicial branch, and the legislative branch. I believe that those key things build the foundation of actually understanding the issues and problems we see regarding politics, even when they have a "name" that can be misleading. I just believe that our system has failed to inform their citizens of the real issues that we are facing because they do not level with most Americans and finding a way to address these problems in a way that any person can understand them. I think that once our system and the media is able to educate Americans on what true Democracy means then we will be able to move past the "naming" of things in the political world and get more citizens involved. 

Alisha Boyd

UMshaw's picture

Another point that was brought up towards the end of Chapter 6 is that in order for their to be peace, balance must be achieved. It is difficult to give people or issues priority over eachother when they are all equally important. This does not neccesarily mean that we must compromise change. It means that in all decisions we must balance and negotiate things. This makes things as even as possible and sometimes it is the only way.

umramsey's picture

Alison I absolutely agree with your statment and it bring me back to a section in the chapter that states "making decisions with those who are not family or friends is challenging because what people value has different meanings for different people, and thats because we live in different circumstances. We may have different circumstances and values and life but we  should still be able to come together for the greater good.

UM Carter's picture

I agree that balance is a difficult thing to find and is crucial to peace. Which is why it is so necessary for everyone speak up about issues they are passionate about and issues impacting them. If voices go unheard, there is no balance. We must listen to each other and compromise to find the best solution.

UMThorn's picture

Unfortunately certain issues will always hold more priority over other issues. It is something that will be very hard to change because people will always feel a certain issue is more important than others. Compromise is a neccesary aspect we need in life if we want to see changes happen in our soceity.

UMThorn's picture

Unfortunately certain issues will always hold more priority over other issues. It is something that will be very hard to change because people will always feel a certain issue is more important than others. Compromise is a neccesary aspect we need in life if we want to see changes happen in our soceity.

MMfelts's picture

I agree that what name an issue is given effects how that issue is percieved by the public. Some issues can also be given multiple names. Groups that agree with an issue tend to give the issue a name that spins it in a more positive light so that the public will agree with it, and groups that disagree with the issue tend to give it a name that makes people have negative associations with it. From these names different groups and politicians will tell the public the side of the issue that they want from the name they gave it so that the public will agree with their views of the issue.

MMfelts's picture

When people are asked what is the right thing to do you will here several different answers. This isn't because people are being presented with different facts. Everyone is presented with the same statistics but the difference is when people have different morals or values. Everyone has something different that they believe is important to them so when asking two different people what is right and what is wrong there could be varying answers. No ones values are right or wrong they are just different.

umramsey's picture

I agree completey with your post. Its like why cant we all come together for the greater good of the country regardless of our differences and like come to a happy medium or something. Some people can be so caught up in how right their views are and forget about others and not even take the time to hear others out. 

UM kidd's picture

I agree because if its a perosn or thing that someone dislikes they will always try to put soemthing neagtive over that thing so that it will seem bad and to get others to feel the same no matter how good the perosn or thing is. Like if you like soemthing but I dont like it, I will try to say or do anything to get you not to like it no matter how many good things you say about it. Dont try to knock down what somebody else like because of your dislikes.

MMvedder's picture

I agree to with your post. When people have different answers its because we all have our own opinions and we all think different. Not everyone has the same morals I agree, just like no one has the same opiinion or same amount of knowledge about a topic.I agree with when you say that two different peoples answers will variey based on there morals.

 

MMochoa's picture

In times like these, it is crucial to be informed. For example, the results of this years elections have lead to countless social media and real life riots. While this is not all due to misinformation, the case could definitely be made for connecting this public outrage with a ignorance in the general public. As the day progresses, I have seen more and more hate fueled rants full of things that I consider to be completely unfounded; such as people saying women will lose the right to vote, or that every non-white citizen will be deported. It is things like these that cause dissonance between a government and its people. If not for ourselves, we should strive to be informed for the good of everyone around us. A well informed public is a public that can make informed decisions and react to those decisions accordingly.

MMochoa's picture

In times like these, it is crucial to be informed. For example, the results of this years elections have lead to countless social media and real life riots. While this is not all due to misinformation, the case could definitely be made for connecting this public outrage with a ignorance in the general public. As the day progresses, I have seen more and more hate fueled rants full of things that I consider to be completely unfounded; such as people saying women will lose the right to vote, or that every non-white citizen will be deported. It is things like these that cause dissonance between a government and its people. If not for ourselves, we should strive to be informed for the good of everyone around us. A well informed public is a public that can make informed decisions and react to those decisions accordingly.

joslebla's picture

I completely agree; being involved in politics does not mean much unless you are actually contributing to the outcome with informed decisions.

MMochoa's picture

In times like these, it is crucial to be informed. For example, the results of this years elections have lead to countless social media and real life riots. While this is not all due to misinformation, the case could definitely be made for connecting this public outrage with a ignorance in the general public. As the day progresses, I have seen more and more hate fueled rants full of things that I consider to be completely unfounded; such as people saying women will lose the right to vote, or that every non-white citizen will be deported. It is things like these that cause dissonance between a government and its people. If not for ourselves, we should strive to be informed for the good of everyone around us. A well informed public is a public that can make informed decisions and react to those decisions accordingly.

UM LaBombard's picture

One subject I felt the article touched on quite nicely was the idea of pride. Many Americans today vote and fight for things based on certain standards that they hold. In communitites, pride works as a way of bringing people together to work and fight for the city or area they live in. For example, after the terror attacks on the world trade center, many Americans felt united based on the similar pride and patriotism they felt for their country. Thus, the United States saw an increase in intercity cooperation, specifically in New York.