No one ever said democracy would be easy, especially in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. In this milestone decision, the U.S. government is prohibited from placing limits on independent spending by corporations and unions for political purposes. With the infusion of countless money into the political process, many opponents of Citizens United have argued that the spirit and the letter or our democracy has been undermined by the wealthiest U.S. citizens and private entities. It's difficult to argue against this viewpoint.
In our democracy, most citizens are informed politically by friends, family, and the news. Excepting for a minority population of "policy entrepreneurs" who actively seek out political information from a variety of information mediums, most friends and family members get their political information from the news media as well. And this is where the problem lies. If most U.S. citizens receive their political information from the news media and the news media is increasingly being flooded with vast amounts of political propaganda stemming from "Super PACs" allowed under the Citizens United decision, how will this shape public opinion and ultimately, our democratic process?
If the Iowa caucuses have ever gotten it "right" (defined by voting for the one who actually got elected), prior to 2008, you had to go all the way back to 1976 to find Iowa predictive, in a Democratic caucus, not a GOP one. So bereft of any thinking capacity or any real conviction, person-on-the-street interviewees (and opinion poll responders) cannot make up their minds. They claim to be values voters and yet have so little conviction they keep moving their support with each new gust of political wind. As just one example, read the rationale in the article I link above. Yeh, I know, a single case does not an electorate make. But polling shows how very malleable are the Iowa voters who warm up to one and then another and then another candidate in a manner only ditzes would. Anyone can change his or her mind and do so reasonably--no question about that. BUT, this year Iowa has brought new meaning to the word "indecision." They are indecision on steroids. When that happens, voters no longer shape their own vote.
Essentially, the media are in charge and Iowa caucus goers are only too happy to dumb it up for them and allow the so-called mainstream media to influence them. Of course, they are then more susceptible to negative ads as well.
Not only for ourselves, but for all who work.
Because we believe in the dignity of work.
Because we both understand something about history, including economic history.
She is Harvard, Junior Phi Beta Kappa, Marshall Scholar, M. Litt. from Oxford, Ph.D. from George Washington.
I am BA from Haverford, two masters degrees, ABD in Educational Administration and Policy Studies.
We both work with our minds.
She is on her local's negotiating team.
I am my building's union representative.
Had we any doubt, two pieces in today's Washington Post might help convince us.
That is a brief clip of Diane Ravitch addressing the Representative Assembly of the National Education Association on July 6, where she was receiving an award as the 2010 "Friend of Education."
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