Saturday, January 23, 2010

#6 Be able to engage in discussions...

6. Be able to engage in discussions about political and economic issues that affect his or her community.
Do you discuss political, or economic issues in your family? Personal friends? Church? If you do, then you are on the way to engage in those issues that affect your community.
You need to supplement those discussions with constant vigilance of talk show news, for both local, national and international news, local TV/radio news, mail from your political party, whether it is via the internet, or snail mail. Of course any of the material you hear, read, see needs to be placed into context and into your frame of reference to see if you accept or reject the discussion points. If you reject, why? If you accept, why? You need to know the reason so you can substantiate why you believe as you do.
Some aids:
1. Watching TV shows that discuss issues such as Meet the Press, Chris Matthews, Glenn Beck,Larry King see how they discuss the issues, how do they substantiate what they are saying, what do they use for evidence, do you value that evidence?
2. Listen to radio talk show about politics. Favorite hosts include Glen Beck, or Rush Limbaugh.
3. Reading the editorials in newspapers, magazines, internet news.

Remember, any of the above must be taken with a grain of salt. That salt is what is the viewpoint of the speaker. Rush Limbaugh is a conservative, so his information is usually conservative oriented. Chris Matthews is a liberal, so his information is liberal oriented. Also, both TV and radio suffer from processes called SELECTIVE ATTENTION(the citizen sees and hears only what he or she wants) and MENTAL TUNE-OUT( the citizen simply ignores or gets irritated by messages that do not accord with existing beliefs) Citizens tend to listen to those shows that reflect their Frame of Reference.(American Government, James Q.Wilson, pg283)
Do you keep up with the business section of the media? Do you understand economics? If you do not, you need to do some homework. An example: The Supreme Court made a decision this past week that cancelled over 100 years of legislation and court processes. The decision: INTEREST GROUPS AND CORPORATIONS MAY SUPPORT POLITICAL CANDIDATES WITH AS MUCH MONEY AS THEY DESIRE. In the past, it was found that those entities have had too much influence on candidates and receive special attention on government regulations and contracts. They would buy their way to profit. The government went about to stop these practices with legislation and and Supreme Court decisions, they did and the practice was curtailed. Since 1973, special interest groups have formed at an amazing rate. Their effect has been great. They went to the Supreme Court this year and said that spending money on a candidate was their "right" to free speech. This was a new tact. By spending money for advertisment they should be allowed to support a candidate as much as possible. The Supreme Court decision was 5-4 in favor.
This was a win for business. Now, go back and read the Founding documents. This country was not based on freedom for all Americans, it was based on protecting the business community/property. The Bill of Rights were AMENDMENTS to the Constitution, within those "Rights" are those things having to do with individuals.
How do the economics of the nation, state and local entities affect you?

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