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October 28, 2013 - Political Participation.docx

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 2244E
Peter Scapillato

Political Participation October 28, 2013 Current Events  NSA o 60 million Spanish calls o Angela Merkel’s (German Chancellor) phone tapped since 2002  China o Nuclear submarines on the move  Middle East o Syria submits declaration of chemical weapons program 3 days early. o 10 car bombs in 40 minutes kills 41 in Iraq. o Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners in bid to resume peace talks. American Profiles The White House Civil War  8 years of construction.  1861-5.  John Adams and wife first to live  Fuelled by decades of tension there. between the North and South.  1814 set on fire to White House of  Justification: State rights, Western the time. expansion, slavery, etc.  (Was never white until it was re-  Lincoln election caused 7 built) Re-built and moved in by southern states to secede from 1817 by James Monroe. the union.  Wasn’t called The White House  1865 Confederates surrender. until Roosevelt in 1901.  620 000 soldiers killed; most  1902 Roosevelt began a major devastating war fought on renovations (mainly the West American soil. Wing).  Because of the war, we reap the  Oval Office was constructed by benefits of the ambulance system his successor. and triage.  Truman began a renovation when  Anesthesiology and plastic structure was shaky. Moved back surgery began. Many actually in in 1952. died from diarrhea.  Very symbolic of American History. Political Participation Defined:  “Of the people, by the people, for the people.” – In Lincoln’s address.  People are the life force of democracy. Especially representative democracies.  Taking part in politics. Not limited to voting. Types of People  THREE major types of political participants: o “passionates”  Minority (4-5%)  Hardcore, political junkies  Volunteer  Always vote for their party (Democrat or Republican) – no swaying; communicate with the representatives constantly. o “scorekeepers”  Active, but with less intensity.  Follow news.  National elections (not local: sheriff, deputy, etc.).  Keep score, but not playing.  They know outcomes, but wouldn’t have been involved.  Independents; “swing votes”; don’t adhere to one party – vote on an issue-by-issue basis (pragmatic – targets of attack ads).  15-20%. o “uninvolved”  Majority (unfortunately); three-quarters of Americans.  Internal divisions  Presidential  Midterm  Occasional vote; largely disengaged – includes volunteering, civic action, etc. They don’t see involvement in government action as important in their lives.  Don’t see government as important.  Not just apathy.  No time, resources; survival mode.  Many poor people can’t take the time to research, pay attention to news, or vote.  “Slackers”  Young (18-24)  Cash Money  With or pursuing a degree  Don’t vote; empty vessels  On the rise. *Can democracy survive with the growing number of uninvolveds on the rise?  If they don’t care enough to vote, then they also don’t care enough to reform the system. There are far more members of the population that align themselves with the Democrats, but most of these people cannot get out to vote – this is why the GOP has won so much. Benefits of Participation  “Magic potion”; people who participate in politics are generally: o Healthier o Wealthier o Generally more satisfied.  University students o When a student joins at least one club, their GPA actually goes up. Why do we have a decline in participation? The West has really pushed the idea of the individual. As this idea continues to grow, it is harder and harder to get people to get involved in public activities. Types of Participation  Simple o Taking part in politics  Three major types o Electoral activities  Voting – primary means of engaging in public life. US has one of the lowest turnout rates of any developed country.  One of the lowest voter turnout rates  One below Canada.  Why?  Voter exhaustion; life.  There are too many elections in the US – sheriff, librarians, etc. Elections are held during the weekday – on a Tuesday. This is very inconvenient for some.  Lawn signs, donating money. o Civic voluntarism  Volunteering, donating money.  US is one of the leading countries in volunteer participation.  Leading country.  Generation Y  Our age group; the most active in US history.  “Common sphere”  Volunteering leads to more involvement in the common sphere, which leads to increased attention, but oddly enough, not increased participation. Why?  Increases voting, political attention. o Political voice  Talking politics  Actively exercising your right to voice your views  Despots  From 140 characters (Twitter) to a march.
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