My two cents: Republicans and educating the public about elections

Shield-Two-Cents-ReverseYesterday was celebrated as “Constitution Day” on many college campuses across our nation. Depending on the institution, there were forums, panel discussions, and even guest speakers to discuss the importance and significance of the Constitution of the United States. As an American historian, I have spent a lot of my academic career studying that early generation of American statesmen that took part in the forming of the government of our great nation. The college where I work was no different; Henderson Community College had a discussion forum where the topic was voting rights. While the forum discussion went fairly well, it was the questions from my students and some former students that really became the highlight of the day’s festivities for me.

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My two cents: The problem(s) with the Republican Party

Shield-Two-Cents-ReverseNever before has a political party been so primed to gain so much during the mid-term election cycle and has the politically determined to squander it away. In this important mid-term election, the statistics indicate that the Republican Party can increase its hold on the House of Representatives and gain control of the Senate. In fact, the same polls indicate that the Republican Party could even continue the political sweep and increase its governorships, state legislative margins, and even the presidency in the 2014-2016 election cycle. History indicates there are several reasons why this could easily happen, beginning with the publicly displayed dissatisfaction that the American public has towards the Obama administration. This dissatisfaction comes from apparent failures in both domestic and foreign policy.

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September 11 – thirteen years later

September 11, 2001.   The whole reason we are at war.

September 11, 2001.
The whole reason we are at war.

Today is September 11, 2014 – thirteen years after an act of war was committed by radical Islamic fundamentalists. Through the administration of two presidents since, many Americans still do not understand the significance of September 11, 2001. Even after the release of the 9-11 commission report and its declaration that “they were at war with us before we were at war with them,” few Americans have looked beyond that day to understand how long this “war on terror” has actually been going on. Very few Americans recall the assassination of a young Democratic Party presidential candidate, Robert Kennedy by Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. His justification for the assassination in 1968 of Robert Kennedy was that he, like his brother John Kennedy, had been outspoken in their support of Israel. In the opinion of this American historian, this was the first shot fired at the United States by radical fundamental Islamic elements within the Middle East.

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A nation in distress: The ever eroding First Amendment

American-ConstitutionOver the summer, I had a student send me a Facebook message telling me that if I did not stop posting politically and religiously based content, she was going to contact the Facebook administration and report my offensive content.  I shared her comments with a few of my Facebook friends, but before I had done it, I actually considered what had happened – because she did not want to be bothered by my content, she would rather report me to the “Facebook authorities” and have my account revoked than to simply unfriend me.  In other words, it was nothing more than an attempt to censor free speech and silence opposition to her world view.

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