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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

MMabaya's picture

I agree with you. As an individual, one can change a single thing about themselves and set a thing in motion. That one person can influence others to stand with them but like you said, a lot of work needs to be done to make a change. I liked what you said about how the more we educate, the more progression we will make. It makes sense because almost everyone has access to the internet and it is easy to read about the news of that day. 

MMcrosby's picture

I agree with your stance on making informed decisions and how it is important that we think towards the future to improve our country. We cannot grow if we dwell on the current issues, we must unite to work and look past them to focus on what is next for us. Again, I agree that it starts with the individual when it comes to making decisions about our society. It is our responsibility to be engaged and informed on what is going around us and to act on it when needed. If we continue to stand on the sidelines and accept what might not be right, we'll make no progress. We must do more than talk, but also act; Words are just words, but actions make a difference.

UM Crane's picture

Chapter 6 talks about values. It defines them and gives us a value we all seem to need in the places we live and the places we represent. Pride. When you have some scandal or crisis going on where you live, especially if it's political, it's hard to feed proud of your city. Well, we represent Flint as students here and I've got to say I'm pretty darn proud. Because no matter if it's the water crisis or the ongoing ridicule of the violence in Flint, our people are strong. The people of Flint take pride in their city, so, as the chapter suggests we need a leader to illuminate that pride and to thrive off of it. I take pride in attending school at UM Flint, do you? But, we need to learn more about the people that represent us to take pride in the city itself. Your representatives of your home city and state are not your only representatives, also the representatives of your school and it's city. Although you may only be able to vote for representatives for your city, you should still get to know who is in control of the city of which you go to school. Be informed and be prideful.

Mhowden's picture

I really liked your post about this. I agree in the fact that people need to take more pride in where they are from or what they have done. I think this is especially true with this election and how some people are saying they are not proud to be an American. I believe that regardless of what is going on everyone should take pride in what the US has done or what their city has done. Your comment really made me think about what I take pride in and what I show to others that I am proud of. People at my high school would always talk down Flint and this university so I felt like where I was going for school was not something I should be proud of. But after coming here and learning about the college and what it has done makes me very proud to say I attend here. I tell everyone about my school whenever someone asks how school or life is going. Your post really made me think about myself so thank you for that. 

UMalanazi's picture

The section, ‘sound judgment or hasty decisions?’ gives a good idea about what happens in people’s lives every day. They make uninformed decisions which end up affecting them, affecting other people, or both. With sufficient information, people can be able to make ethical decisions which do not require them to just have facts. Sometimes information and facts are not enough because there are situations where people need to use judgement in their decision making. A good example is that of the elections where many people may have made uninformed decisions about their choice of president since they probably did not have sufficient information on both candidates.

MKnack's picture

I completely agree with you. People do make rational decisions without informaton or even thinking of consequences. I also like that you mention there being decions that have to be made without knowing facts or anything about them because those decisions happen every day. I also like your example that you used. There was a poll that actually proved that more than half the people that voted for either candidate did not know anything besides their scandals and who their running mate was. Noone really did any research on who they voted for to see what their actual lifestyle or personality truly was.

UM Alali's picture

I agree that as Matthews recommends, it is vital to know context and pursue the right courses of action, or exercise sound judgment

UMalanazi's picture

Chapter 6 has captured the developing insights of centers for public lives in ways that highlight and brighten the powerful prospective of these civic attempts. It sparks new thinking and advances insights among people who have been trying to support associations between the formal structures in their communities and informal operations of citizens. It has challenged centers for public lives to move past the traditional environment of naming, outlining, and deliberating issues into the less noticeable, but eventually more impactful practices of working in a society to move from public conversation to community-based action.

UMalanazi's picture

Chapter 6 has captured the developing insights of centers for public lives in ways that highlight and brighten the powerful prospective of these civic attempts. It sparks new thinking and advances insights among people who have been trying to support associations between the formal structures in their communities and informal operations of citizens. It has challenged centers for public lives to move past the traditional environment of naming, outlining, and deliberating issues into the less noticeable, but eventually more impactful practices of working in a society to move from public conversation to community-based action.

UMalanazi's picture

Chapter 6 has captured the developing insights of centers for public lives in ways that highlight and brighten the powerful prospective of these civic attempts. It sparks new thinking and advances insights among people who have been trying to support associations between the formal structures in their communities and informal operations of citizens. It has challenged centers for public lives to move past the traditional environment of naming, outlining, and deliberating issues into the less noticeable, but eventually more impactful practices of working in a society to move from public conversation to community-based action.

UMalanazi's picture

Chapter 6 has captured the developing insights of centers for public lives in ways that highlight and brighten the powerful prospective of these civic attempts. It sparks new thinking and advances insights among people who have been trying to support associations between the formal structures in their communities and informal operations of citizens. It has challenged centers for public lives to move past the traditional environment of naming, outlining, and deliberating issues into the less noticeable, but eventually more impactful practices of working in a society to move from public conversation to community-based action.

UMalanazi's picture

Chapter 6 has captured the developing insights of centers for public lives in ways that highlight and brighten the powerful prospective of these civic attempts. It sparks new thinking and advances insights among people who have been trying to support associations between the formal structures in their communities and informal operations of citizens. It has challenged centers for public lives to move past the traditional environment of naming, outlining, and deliberating issues into the less noticeable, but eventually more impactful practices of working in a society to move from public conversation to community-based action.

UMalanazi's picture

Chapter 6 has captured the developing insights of centers for public lives in ways that highlight and brighten the powerful prospective of these civic attempts. It sparks new thinking and advances insights among people who have been trying to support associations between the formal structures in their communities and informal operations of citizens. It has challenged centers for public lives to move past the traditional environment of naming, outlining, and deliberating issues into the less noticeable, but eventually more impactful practices of working in a society to move from public conversation to community-based action.

MMwascher's picture

While reading Ch. 6, I came across such a true statement. To summarize, it said it's it not about getting people who already feel strongly about something to care, it is about getting those who don't have an opinion to start caring. I believe this because if you try to change someone's mind about a subject they already feel strongly about, it is probably not going to happen. Also, getting the indifferent minds to care is bringing more minds altogether on a certain subject, and isn't that what you want? An example of this from my personal experience happened about a week ago. There were three of my friends and I sitting together discussing politics and one friend was trying to change my mind and only my mind about who I should be voting for, he was not talking to our other friends who were also sitting there. Here is the thing though, I feel strongly about who I am voting for. This means my friend was just trying to change my mind. On the other hand, our other friends didn't really think they were going to vote because they didn't know enough about either person. Wouldn't it have been smarter for the first friend to persuade the indifferent minds instead of mine?

Mhowden's picture

After reading the chapter, I found myself thinking about this election that just occured. I talked to a lot of people who said they voted for the canidate their family was voting for because they did not want to do the research it takes to fully understand what each canidate was advocating for. This really annoyed me because people need to be more aware of what is actually going on and what could happen when making a choice without considering the outcomes. Part of the chapter talked about what happens when media gets ahold of a problem and talks about it relentlessly. Once the media starts talking about problems, people tend to stop doing research and considering other options to solve the problem. This is very similar to what some people did with this election. They heard what their family was saying and stopped listening to what others were saying. I believe that in this sense people are becoming less aware of the things around them. As a person, we focus so much on what others are saying instead of sitting down and doing our own research and analysis of something. Along with this, some people will try and talk about something they heard on TV or read online but when asked much more in depth questions they freeze up. An example of this is when someone is talking about the latest article released about someone and it makes headlines everywhere. A lot of times if you're talking to a person about the topic and a deeper question is asked they will start to say what the article said. They won't think about what the read and give their opinion of it. This happened a lot with this election when I tried talking to people about something one of the canidates supported. I would talk to people and they would just recite a news article to me as if that was their own take on it. This is a huge issue with how people communicate today. In my opinion, this is something that needs to be changed because people need to start having their own thoughts on things rather than being told how to think. 

MMboensch's picture

I completely agree with what you said about how with this election, people were basing their opinions on their resources around them, whether they were legit or not. I share your frustrations when the only knowledge people seem to have come from the articles that are posted on social media. People today have learned to become lazy. They read the material before them and fail to challenge the text; they simply accept it for what it is, sometimes deem it correct, and move on without much thought. I think that most people may forget how some articles are the result of opinions from others; they don't realize that it is their responsibility as readers to look deeper into the matter in order to come to a better, more accurate understanding of the scenario at hand. I appreciate how you recognized the need for more orignial thought and I agree with you on that.

MMcrosby's picture

I agree with your statement that people often follow or vote on the same side of the spectrum of those who surround them. It is a common trait of not just today's society, but also those that came before, to not go deeper than the surface of an issue and accept it for what it is. I identify this as a lack of motivation and overall accepted laziness that will continue to be passed down from generation to generation if we do not act on it. A solution for this is to acknowledge the issue and begin to teach children to think independently, encouraging them to be engaged in a society that is beyond a two party system. We must accept the responsibility of our actions, and challenge our current beliefs. Those who have a solid belief system and are confident in it, should not be afraid to read and acknowledge other opinions that may rival their own. It does us no good when we continue to expose ourselves to information that exclusively follows our own beliefs, and we'll impede our growth as a society if we continue to do so.

MDenton's picture

From reading chapter 6 I found myself thinking about how I deal with judgement and making decisions in my life, and how other people around me react and feel about my feelings and thoughts. Being a very analytical person I find myself almost over thinking things at times but I feel that by doing so I cover all eventualities. To others around me they may see me as being too meticulous and that I over analyze the situation. We all do things in our lives differently though as we are individuals. We may now and then follow the crowd or friends and family but we still have our own level of judgment and process for decision making.

MDenton's picture

From reading chapter 6 and more notably the why we get involved section, I found myself questioning myself on how I get involved. Having been born and lived in England for 26 years of my life and now living in America for the last year I have found that even the simplest of things differ between America and England.

Here in America as much as people may be reserved in their conversation, meeting new people, talking politics, whatever the situation may be, I have found that in England we are so much more reserved and almost it seems less willing to participate and engage with our fellow human beings. I have learnt to be more engaging, involved and heard and that I do have a say and a voice to get involved and make a difference even if it is something so simple.

mquigly's picture

I feel like a lot of problems our society is having that was brought up in chapter 6 have increased lately due to the election. Everyone wants their voice to be heard especially in times like these. But sadly instead of creating peaceful movements we are having riots, protesting, and becoming violent against each other. Just to try to be heard by the government and to make a point. Another reason why people are doing these things could be because they do not believe the government listens to the people and they won’t change thing unless they get violent or things get out of hand. There are big changes happening around us mostly in the government and not many people are happy about these changes. We as a society are forgetting about our love, respect and values for each other by destroying each other’s beliefs because they are different then our own. People are getting jumped because of their race, gender, beliefs and views. That is not how we were raised as humans and that is definitely not how we want to raise our children. No one should be judged for something they cannot control. We really need someone to stand up and speak the truth on what is going on around us and how we need to come together to fix these problems. We are in this life together we might as well enjoy it while we are here.

UM LaBombard's picture

I agree. In today's society, it seems that individuals far too often respond to things they dislike with violence. Regardless of whether or not we agree with something, it is important for us to remain calm and understanding. It is hard to argue that you are in favor of peace and unity when your response to something you dislike is violence. We should, instead, use nonviolence to show our dissatisfaction like Martin Luther King jr did during the civil rights movement. Above all, we should respect one another regardless of whether or not we disagree on certain issues.

mquigly's picture

Something that is brought up in chapter 6 that I believe to be very true is we are not informed with facts but personal beliefs. We can only blame the use of technology for that. People look something up online see a post, watch a video and right then believe whatever they see to be true. Our mine set has been altered to believe if it is on the internet it has to be true. Right? No not everything you see on the internet is true you probably have been told this several times but just shove it to the back of your mind. It is a big problem we have in this society; we are so vulnerable, and naive to the simplest things. As a society we need to get the real facts before acting upon them. Another thing I agree with in chapter 6 is that we all have the same values just perceive them in different ways. This is why I believe we are having so much controversy recently. Because people are so caught up in their own lives we do not take the time to understand how someone else perceives their personal values. Instead we are a very conceded society and only care about ourselves

Mkuhn's picture

I agree with you that technology definately has a play on our own beliefs. I believe that some people don't really have any of their own views and they do just base it off of something someone else already said or if they read it online.

Mhodgemaresh's picture

I agree with everything you said in this post. As a whole our country is so caught up in social media and using unreliable sources on the internet to make decisions. Even though many people know that everything on the internet is not true I believe they do not know where to go to find reliable information. and with being conceded I believe that everyone can be self-centered without realizing it. Many people believe that others in their community feel that same way and use being humans want out demand/needs to be addressed. 

Melliott's picture

I felt as though everything related to politics discussed in this chapter was, conceptually, pretty surface level. The strategy of talking about the population as a whole definitely works well for the chapter to some extent, but when it comes to specific messages about things such as being informed and making the 'right' decisions, I lost interest pretty quickly. The visuals were a nice counter to that, though.

Same goes for the use of stories to convey meaning. There were a couple of anecdotes in the chapter that served to reinforce what was being said, but I didn't find them relatable. Especially the story regarding the strict renters laws.

C_Miller's picture

I agree for the most part, definitely about how easy to read this all was. It was an easy read but at the same time it had an interesting amount of depth. It didn't ever feel like a drag to get through.

Mbennett's picture

For sure! I actually had a hard time getting into it at first, but the more i read into the more it became interesting and really made me think about things. 

Melliott's picture

As for what I thought was done effectively, I found great merit in what was said towards the end of the chapter. The ability to surround yourself with the varied opinions of other allows for diagreements and and (hopefully) healthy debate which in turn creates an environment which promotes clear-headed decisions to be made. Unfortunately, in America today, there are plenty of people who simply outright refuse to engage in any sensible debate and instead preach their ideals as absolute truth. This is the consequence of, as the chapter mentioned, the nature of the uninformed populus and the ignorance of their ignorance. When forming a personal opinion, it becomes pretty easy to draw and line and say, "Alright, I've seen enough and now I know everything there is to know on the topic." I find this happens during our election season the most, where everyone becomes a political mastermind seemingly on the spot, which gives them the false confidence to tell everyone that they're right without articulating why.

In this most recent election, rebuttal has become completely irrelevant. Each side insults the other or makes assumptions about a group of voters without actually knowing jack about that side's personal experiences. The ultimate ignorance is the one you can never fix: knowing everything about everyone. That's what truly drives decisions.

C_Miller's picture

There are definitely some things that I am not a thousand percent sure that I agree with. I feel like the biggest flaw in people's reasoning when it comes to politics is that we think people honestly care about their own self interests. People have a very bad habit of actively routing against them selves over and over again in elections, regardless of how informed or uninformed they are. Sometimes there is an impulse just to do, and people give in toi the impulse, even though they are otherwise rational. Sort of like many people who voted for Brexit but didn't know why or for what reason, they just did. They understood what it meant but they just sort of want to see what happens next. 

C_Miller's picture

Chapter 6 reminds me of a lot of differnet quotes I know, but one that strikes me as the most relevent is, "Your goal should not be to find how you can prove what you believe, but to believe only what you can prove." People all too often only want to research things that already "prove" what the already believe. I think in a way that it reminds me of the problem with technology, I have all human knowledge in my pocket because of the internet, but I also have infinitely times more access to pseudoscience and history. For mamy, myself included, it is hard to distinguish facts and fiction. It's far easier to just see what you want and roll with it. 

To be honest though, while I am glad I read this I didn't really gain anything from it. I don't really feel that "call for civic engagement". I still want to go home and pretend none of this is happening, I am still unconvinced I can have a positive impact in the discussion, and the overall political sphere of the United States. What do I do now? Just do my homework pass my classes like before and save up money to move out of the country or possibly to do something else. I don't know, I just feel nothing for my country, and I feel nothing in terms of any poliical agenda. I just can't afford to anymore.