Mark S. Ryan

Professor John Minbiole

CAS 137H

29 October 2012

The Power of Your Vote

            The most basic definition of a democratic system of government is a government that is “by the people” (Oxford English Dictionary). It is a government that does not make the needs of one person a higher priority than another, and is a government that gives every subject an equal voice in the policy making process. In order for any government to be democratic, one must discuss the most fundamental aspect of any democracy: the vote. The vote is the most powerful tool of the common man in a democratic government and is the driving force behind every government action, policy and regulation. Voting is not just a right or a privilege; it is the basis of the American identity. Without the vote, the pillars of democracy vanish and the palace of democracy comes crashing down. But has the high and mighty United States Constitution always promoted true democracy? Does it today? Over the last century, the United States Constitution has changed to allow more power to voters and to put more emphasis on democracy. This mirrors the ever-increasing desire for personal influence on government in American culture and exemplifies the American desire for individual expression.

This country was founded on the principals of democracy and freedom, but its original constitution did not entirely reflect those ideals. The first elections in the country were exclusive to only white, male, protestant citizens. Most polling places required these males to also own some type of land to prove that they were responsible enough to vote. It is easy for a person of modern cultural beliefs to realize that this principle of restricting voting rights as morally wrong and undemocratic. However, it was not until relatively recently that the American society believed in equal voting power. Prime examples of this contemporary shift include both the women’s and civil rights movements.

It is well-known that female and non-white citizens of the United States were not always given the opportunity to vote in elections. The struggle for these groups to gain suffrage was not easy, but ultimately a success in expanding the power of the vote for United States citizens. The first landmark in these voting rights struggles comes with the ratification of the 15th amendment of the Constitution in 1870 that stated “The right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (“Transcript of United States Constitution…”). This amendment seems straightforward enough, but individual States found ways to limit non-whites from voting in forms of poll taxes and literacy exams that would endure for another century (“15th Amendment to the Consitution”).  It wouldn’t be until the mid-20th century that these roadblocks would be cleared and people of all races could finally vote. The women’s suffrage movement was difficult as well and finally resolved in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th amendment that stated, “The right of citizens in the United States shall not be denied…on account of sex” (“Transcript of United States Constitution…”). The passage of these laws and regulations is significant in the expansion of democracy and voting power in the United States. In the course of several decades, the electorate of this country expanded from exclusively white males to any person above the age requirement to vote. This was a colossal aspect of the increased power to vote in the United States, but not the only case.

What is less well-known is the progressive era election reforms that took place in the early part of the 20th century (in the midst of the aforementioned expansion of voting rights) mainly in respect to senatorial and party primary elections. The original constitution of the United States had the upper assembly of congress composed of two senators from each State to be appointed by the State legislatures. This was an attempt to have State legislatures “cement their tie to the national government” so that the States would support the national government more (“Direct Election of Senators”). The framers of the constitution wanted to have a body of congress that was actually more removed from the people of the country that served long terms in order for congress to be productive. This productivity came at the expense of democracy by removing the people from the policymaking process.  The seventeenth amendment to the Constitution reversed this and since 1913, the public can vote for their senators (“Direct Election of Senators”).

Primary elections in the United States before the mid-1920s never existed much like senatorial elections didn’t exist before 1913. The candidates in each party to run for office were not directly elected by the people of the party, rather they were simply nominated by party leaders at conventions. The people of the party did not have a say on who their party puts up for the election like they do today. A movement started that put pressure on political parties to allow the people to have more say in their nominating process and by 1926, many nominations for political office were decided by primary elections (“The Future of the Direct Primary”). This new process of direct voting was “established for the purpose of giving the people the right to say who shall be nominees for public office. The convention system, on the other hand, takes out of the hands of the people the selection of candidates and gives it to a few persons.” (“The Future of the Direct Primary”). The direct primary is more evidence of the shift toward more democracy and increased power of the American voter.

Before any of these radical changes in election and voting rights, the public of the United States was expected to conform to the values of others. Before women were allowed to vote, they were simply expected to accept the government that men had created for them. Before non-white citizens were allowed to vote, they were expected to conform to what the white voters believed in. Before the public could vote for their own senators or nominees, it was simply expected to accept the candidates and senators that more influential people selected. All of the changes in voting rights and all of the election reforms over the last century have one main principle in common: they allow more people to voice their opinion and vote on more issues. It is this underlying value of self-expression in the United States that is in a state of change.

Today we see a whole different political world that is full of self-expression and individual beliefs, past the days of conformity and acceptance. This change is evident by the trend in party identification over the last century. It used to be that most people identified with a certain political party and always voted for the candidate or issue that the party platform supported. The number of true independents who did not conform to either set of political ideologies used to be relatively small. In 1945, the proportion of people in the United States that identified themselves as independents was only 15%. This number has steadily increased to 31% in 1988 and is up to 38% today (“Trend in Party Identification”).

The public’s need to stop conformity and its need for self-expression strongly correlate. As we have seen a decrease in political party conformity in the U.S., we have also seen a strong increase in self-expressionism movements. From the emergence of political movements such as the gay rights and disability rights movements, to new cultural developments in green energy or global awareness, the country is being flooded with changes that reflect the desire for self-expression. All of these new progressive movements are by-products of the increased importance our culture places on individualism that was catalyzed by and reflected in the increase in voter power of the early 20th century.

These changes in the voting system of the United States with respect to universal suffrage and voting power are reflective of American society’s constantly growing need for individual political expression. Individualism is a concept that blankets the United States, and the political realm is not immune. The days of accepting what the government decides for citizens are over. The days of conforming to a preset list of ideals are done. The days of accepting someone else’s political beliefs as your own are through. Its been apparent since the birth of our country that the need for true American democracy would never dissipate, and although it has never been fully achieved, the desire for true democracy has exploded over the last century and shows no signs of slowing down today.


Works Cited


“15th Amendment to the Constitution.” 15th Amendment to the Constitution: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.

“Democracy.” Oxford English Dictionary. N.p., 2012. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.

“Direct Election of Senators.” U.S. Senate. Senate Historical Office, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.

“The future of the direct primary”. (1926). Editorial research reports 1926 (Vol. III). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

“Transcript of the Constitution of the United States – Official Text.” Transcript of the Constitution of the United States. The Charters of Freedom, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.

“Trend in Party Identification.” Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2012.


RCL wk7

For my paradigm shift, I chose to do the increase of democratization and voter power in the United States over the last century. There have been several examples, most at the first half of the 20th century, of when the power of a voter has expanded. I said that the expansion of voter power reflects that our society is one that places a lot of importance on individualism and self expression. For the Ted talk I figure there are many examples I can talk about in this shift:

1. Women and minority right to vote. Both the 15th and 19th amendment allow women and non-whites (respectively) the right to vote. Before these amendments, only white males were allowed to vote. Allowing universal suffrage to everyone in the United States shows that we have placed emphasis on our ability to express our own opinions and make our own decisions.

2. The direct election of senators and primary elections. Before the 17th amendment, all members of the U.S. senate were appointed by state legislatures. This was an attempt to remove the people from the policymaking process and improve government efficiency. However, it was less democratic and didn’t give people the chance to vote. The shift in allowing people to vote for senators shows that we believe in democratic principles and self-expression. Before the early 20th century, potential candidates for office were selected by political party leaders instead of primary elections. By the mid 20th century, most state party organizations adopted the direct primary that let the people decide who their nominee would be instead of a few influential people. This is yet another example of how society believes it is important for everyone to be able to express themselves if they so please.

Week 7 Hack

The Eminem song, “Guess Who’s Back” somehow seems appropriate for this week’s hack because after months out of the media spotlight, Donal Trump is back.

Hack of the week:


Source: www.csmonitor.com

That’s right, he’s back again and you should tell a friend. He is back for a completely different reason this time though. You probably know that a while ago, Trump suggested that Obama was not born in the United States and that he was not eligible to run for the presidency. Well that was all settled as Obama presented his birth certificate and certificate of live birth to the public that proved he was born in Hawaii. THIS time, Trump wouldn’t dare ask for Obama’s birth certificate again, no no. THIS time he is asking Obama to present his passport information and his college application records. (Maybe this is in hopes of still somehow proving the Obama lied about his birth certificate and he is not able to be president.) Trump has stepped up his game too. Instead of just asking Obama for these records, he is challenging the president by offering a $5 million donation to the charity of Obama’s choice if Obama releases these records. Now at this point you may be asking what the point of Trumps actions are, and you have raised a valid question and one that probably can’t be answered in a logical way. If Obama doesn’t release these records, then Trump will go back to arguing that Obama isn’t american which will not accomplish anything except make him and the whole republican party look stupid. If Obama does release the records, then Trump is out of $5 million and he makes himself look stupid. I feel like this is a lose-lose situation and overall its just sad that some people try to make politics resort to situations like these.

Watch the video here

Information from this blog taken from CNN.com

Current Events Week 6

With all these debates going on and a lot of political news out there, I decided to take a break this week and go outside of the political sphere. This week’s post will not be nearly as serious as the past few, and you will soon see why in a minute. It is time to announce our hack of the week. The award goes to……………….

Hack of the Week: Flavor Flav

Yes, we just went there. On Wednesday, Flavor Flav was arrested and charged with battery and assault with a deadly weapon. He lives with his fiancee of eight years and her son. On Wednesday morning, at about 3:30, Flavor got into an argument with his fiancee because he had cheated on her. This argument escalated as Flav started to make threats. The son of his fiancee then started to wrestle with Flav until Flavor went to get a knife and threatened to kill the son. Eventually the fiancee and her son locked themselves in their room until the cops could arrive when Flavor was promptly arrested.

Flav is really known for two things. One, his involvement in the rap group, Public Enemy. The second is the crazy awesome clocks he wears around his neck when he raps. Interestingly enough, as it pertains to this class, the most successful song that Flavor rapped in is called Fight the Power. Anyone heard of it? Well actually we all have because it was featured in Spike Lee’s movie, “Do the Right Thing”. I would like to reserve the rest of this blog spot for pictures of this true American Cultural figure as a tribute to his glorious past, and as a mourning for his plummet in life that led him to pull knives on the teenage son of his fiancee.

(The picture above was taken from Cnn.com. The photos below are taken from Starpulse.com)

RCL: Herman Cain College Truth Tour

This Wednesday, October 17th, Herman Cain stopped in State College, PA at the State Theater while on his “College Truth Tour.” This tour consists of dozens of stops at colleges all over the country and focuses on “the state of the student”. More background information on the tour itself can be found on the tour’s website, but I want to get in on what he spoke about on Wednesday. I will first talk about the content of his speech, then talk about the effectiveness of his delivery and argument.

Truth Tour Vid

Even though the tour itself is advertised as aimed for the college student audience, I would say at least a third of the people in attendance were older, middle-aged or even senior, citizens. This probably has something to do with the fact that most young people are democrats while older people tend to be more republican. This was not a problem though, because his speech really wasn’t targeted at just anyone that wants to improve their future.

Taken from the website Collegetruthtour.com

He started off talking about the American dream, and what the dream should consist of. He used himself throughout the first portion of his speech as an example of someone who has lived the American dream. Having a father who worked three jobs, and only being able to afford school lunch one day of the week, he spoke of how he came from a poor background. Then he talked about what it means to be successful and how you can get yourself there. He had three main points on success:

1. Success is a journey and not an endpoint. This simply meant that there is a difference between achieving small goals and achieving success.

2. Having no goals is far more detrimental to a person’s life than having unachieved goals. This was more insightful than the first point and I thought interesting. He spoke of how his first goal out of college was to make $20k a year. He worked himself up the pay-grade scale of the navy and found himself a job that paid just that. What I thought was the most important point in this part of his speech was that success is whatever you want it to be, but you need to set goals on your way there. After landing a $20k a year job, he decided he wanted another job and be the Vice President of something then President, and so on. (which he ended up achieving it all).

3. Success is a zig-zag process. This is pretty self-explanatory in that you will hit problems on your way to success.

The first portion of the speech as explained above was almost like a speech on how to better your life from a motivational speaker. The second part, however, is where it got political. Cain shifts from talking about what makes success to what can get in the way of success. In short, his answer was the current government and he offers three specifics of what will get in the way of the graduating student’s success.

1. The current tax code. Cain suggests that the current tax code is far too complicated and is not concrete, which hurts small businesses. Small businesses, including the businesses of the thousands of owners Cain has talked to, are afraid to expand their businesses because they are unsure of what the government may change about taxes. He suggests the tax code needs to be completely rewritten and simplified into either just a flat income tax, a standard national sales tax, or his trademark 9-9-9 plan (which he went into very little detail about). Cain said that simplifying the tax code will help us “grow, not spend, our way to prosperity”.

2. Energy dependence of the U.S. on oil countries. Cain briefly hit on this point and spoke about how the dependence of the U.S. on other countries for energy hurts our economy and we would be better off with opening up our own resources. He didn’t provide much details on how or why, but did also say that we would be “screwed” in a global military conflict with our oil countries because we would run out of energy. An interesting point that I wasn’t sure was relevant at all to becoming successful in life.

3. SPENDING. His most important argument of the night was that “what is happening in Washington is insane” in that we are spending way too much money. Probably his most profound quote of the night (and in my biased opinion, my favorite) was in reference to entitlement programs of the federal government, “If you don’t put any money into it, you aren’t entitled to anything“. The whole audience clapped at this point, and Cain went into the details. Simply put, he thinks lowering the tax rates and congress not spending money on things that the government shouldn’t (in his opinion) spend money on will fix all our problems.

At the end of his speech, Cain tells everyone to be an informed voter and to be a part of the solution. He finishes with a speech with a quote from the Pokemon movie: “Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. There’s a mission just for you and me.”

So what can I say about his speech’s effectiveness? A lot. But I will bring it to a few main points I took notice of.

Herman Cain is a great public speaker. Regardless of your political affiliation or your opinion of Cain, it is obvious that he has public speaking down pretty good. He always looked at the audience. He spoke will emotion as if the speech was not rehearsed and candid. And his body language perfectly portrayed his emotional state in the speech. I believe that this public speaking ability is the only reason he did so well in the Republican primary race. He was able to debate so well, that everyone forgot that he was just a business man and had no real qualifications to be lead the U.S. military and our country. Its this natural speaking ability of his that really builds his ethos of his argument and makes him effective.


Herman Cain is also very funny. A couple things that made me laugh:

  • He wanted a job that paid $20k a year because an American Express card required you to earn at least $10k a year and he wanted two
  • In order to be VP of all the Burger Kings in the Philly region, he had to work in a store making food and running the register for a day
  • When he got off the plane in Nebraska to take over Godfather’s Pizza company, he looked around and said, “There are no black people in Nebraska. What the hell is this?”
  • If he were president, he would get congress to stop spending by sending them a one page memo simply saying “STOP”
  • “Stupid people are ruining America. Don’t be a stupid voter.”
  • He ended with a Pokemon quote. Pokemon.

All kidding aside, his humor really helps him relate to his audience and build his ethos. Which brings me to my last praise of his speech: He really knew his audience. Never throughout the whole night did I feel that he was talking down to me as if he was more successful than I. Nor did I feel intimidated by any of the speech. He kept his points very simple and spoke as if full of reason, making his delivery of his speech more effective.

One thing I didn’t care for about his speech was his huge lack of logos in his propositions on how to fix the economy. He mentioned his 9-9-9 plan, but didn’t say what it entails. He said we need to become more energy independent, but didn’t say how or why. He said we need to stop spending, but gave no suggestions on what to stop spending on and how much.

All together, I felt like a speech with not much sustenance to it, was delivered very well and still had some valid points. He could have been way more specific on how to fix the economy and how to get students back in jobs, but he didn’t. What he did do is use his cultured public speaking skills to convince his audience that they want to be successful in life, but they can’t with the current government operating as it is. The points he made were not really challenged because of his incredible ethos. But with a little more insightful critique, Cain just offered a need for certain results, but no actions or path to achieve those results.

RCL: Ryan Biden Debate

Here is my rolling commentary for the debate. I hate VP debate because the VP position is pretty much worthless unless the president dies or gets impeached. But here we go. I’ll watch it on CNN. I love the ticker and the live tracker of people’s opinions. (Sorry Professor Minbiole)

8:58 Cnn guy just said that both VP candidates are as nervous as a hooker in church. Love Cnn….

9:02: Already this moderator seems better than the last. BIDEN WINS THE COIN TOSS

9:03: Tough first question about the embassy attack. Biden looks very comfortable. He is looking up the whole time. Nice transition into hitting Romney off the bat. I feel like he is losing his point though. I don’t think Romney wants a war.

9:06 Ryan talks about Obama’s failure to call it a terrorist attack. He looks just as comfortable, but maybe less professional. I feel like he is more human. Nice talking about Joe’s son.

9:08 Ryan seems confident in what he is saying. But Biden seems very upset and cuts Ryan off. Biden said Obama has done everything he said he was going to do. I think both side of the political spectrum would disagree.

9:10 Biden is on the defense from the moderator about the intelligence failure about the protests. Side note: Vice presidents pretty much have no say in foreign policy. Why are they debating this?

9:12 Ryan perfectly answered the question about Marines peeing on egyptian corpses. Good job moderator cutting off though

9:15 I like how Ryan answered the nuke in Iran question, but that is my partisan opinion. I wish they would elaborate on what these sanctions are. Biden seems upset but I can’t follow his logic in refuting Ryan.

9:18 Back and forth between the two. I feel like we are losing the point of this debate. Biden is just sitting back and laughing when Ryan talks, but when he talks, he is not as clear and straight-forward as Ryan. Biden just keeps saying “not true” but he won’t say why. JUST EXPLAIN WHY

9:21: Its clear they Ryan is saying that by pulling away from Israel, we are giving Iran more room to make a nuke. What is Biden saying? I feel like he should have used more facts.

9:23: ON TO THE ECONOMY. Biden up to plate-Starts spewing off facts on how the economy has improved under Obama. HE JUST SAID 47%. HE JUST WENT THERE. I hate when people say Romney doesn’t pay taxes. He donates over 15% of his wealth to charity and gets a crap ton of tax breaks. Who makes the tax code? Brobama. I like the Emotion from Biden though. Ryan needs a calm counter-stike

9:26: Ryan tried the Scranton tactic, but he doesn’t have much facts. He just said the economy is slower. I like the 5 point plan though. We’ll see if Biden rips it apart. Oh man-Ryan just shot back at Biden saying that Biden doesn’t always know what he is talking about.

9:29: Biden talks about his late wife. Builds pathos, but I think he overused it last election cycle.

9:30: NFL UPDATE- Steelers down 13-10 12:30 left in the 2nd

9:31: Ryan shooting holes in Obama’s track record. I think its too late to blame the economy on the Republicans of the Bush admin. because Obama promised all these numbers that haven’t happened yet

9:33 Whats up with Ryan’s letter to Biden? I think Biden’s laughing is a little condescending or like he isn’t taking this seriously. I don’t think its helping him. The Live Tracker of Undecided Voters on CNN would agree

9:24: Ryan talks about medicare reform. I agree that Obama’s plan isn’t great but I don’t know if Romney’s is any better. Lets see what Biden has to say.

9:26 Biden is sneaky and compares Ryan to Palin. As a fellow Ryan, I am offended. Hahaha. Biden is very emotional while Ryan is calm and collect. I wish Biden would elaborate on his points.

9:39 My fingers hurt from typing. Its getting real feisty. Biden keeps cutting down Ryan. This has a different feel than the last debate


9:48 Ryan is talking numbers refuting the claim that the middle class will be hurt by wealthy tax cuts. He speaks clearly and discredits Biden. Biden is just laughing. I want him to actually speak and discredit Ryan!

9:50 Ryan just got shot on the specifics of the tax plan. He fumbled and didn’t give any specifics. This is getting real heated. I’m interested to see who the media says “wins”.

9:53: Biden’s angry attitude is too much. Its those hotheaded political talks that ruin politics

9:54 This debate is much more technical than the last. SO MANY NUMBERS. I feel like singing “Why can’t we be friends” Football score is just the same at the 2min warning before the half.

9:58: I feel like this debate has just lost its credibility. I am starting to see this as a whole joke. The role of the Vice President is essentially a figurehead position unless the President dies. I feel like neither of these guys has established their ethos effectively.

10:01 Ryan talks about his best friend in Afghanistan. I think it was a good call. Its an interesting point that Ryan makes about not wanting to tell enemies we’ll be out by 2014.

10:03 I never thought about how our enemies can take advantage of a timeline. This moderator is much better than the last.

10:04 Biden makes the assumption that the JCOS are immune from politics. Joke… How could you walk into the White House and not be political

10:07 Ryan just gone PONED by Biden about sending fewer US troops into Afghanistan and more Afgan troops

10:08 NFL UPDATE Titans kick a field goal 10-16 Halftime

10:09 What more can you do in Syria Biden? Ryan doesn’t come up with a clear answer. Biden’s counter is weak. This debate is deteriorating.

10:14 ABORTION QUESTION TO TWO CATHOLICS ON BOTHS SIDES OF THE SPECTRUM. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM. Ryan- He is pro-life because he believes life starts at conception. Nice job talking about his own kid. Then he attacks Obama’s infringement on religious liberty on Catholics. Biden- He is personally against abortion in his own faith but doesn’t believe that they should force his views on others. Then why did ya’ll try to make churches pay for birth control for church employees? Forcing others to believe what you do?

10:19-Side note about Roe V Wade, the woman who sued because she wanted an abortion is now avidly against abortions and is openly pro life. Funny factoid

10:22 Both asked about the rhetoric and campaign ads. Biden somehow brought in 47%? Don’t think its quite appropriate here. Biden did not address the question of what he feels about the culture of politics and the negative campaign ads. Ryan’s response is just as bad. He just started attacking Obama again when the moderator wanted them to talk about how its bad to attack each side.

10:26 I just don’t believe any stats from either side at this point. Moderator asked how each would better the country in a way nobody else could. Ryan’s response was okay, Biden is mad he doesn’t have as much time. Can they see the clock that Biden is almost 2min over Ryan?

10:29- Biden talks about inheriting a bad situation in his closing statements. That argument is not credible because they promised to fix it years ago. %47 again. I was hoping for a deeper meaning.

10:30- Ryan thanks Biden. Interesting. Just talking about how Romney will fix all problems. Steelers kicked a field goal. Down 13-16. I am so done with this debate.

10:32 ITS OVER!!! Time to put the game on.


WINNER OF THE DEBATE: Martha Raddatz (Moderator)

Political Hero of the Week: Mo Ya


Typically when I talk about heroes and hacks of the week, I talk about domestic politics. This week I decided to broaden the scope and go global. This week’s hero is a Chinese writer and author by the name of Mo Yan. On Thursday, October 11, Yan recieved the Nobel Prize in literature, making him one of the few Chinese authors to receive it. More importantly, he is the FIRST Chinese author who is not opposed to the Chinese government to receive the award, thus making his receiving the award publicized in China.

Yan is a crafty writer that infuses fantasy with everyday Chinese life. His literary works are notorious all over East Asia for their truthful depiction of Chinese life while incorporating fictional and fantastical aspects. Although Yan supports the government, he has been known to, in his works, criticize social aspects of Chinese society such as forced abortions.

This brings me to why this is important politically. Yan has indirectly, yet obviously, criticized the social aspects of Chinese society. Even though this is the case, the Chinese definitely support him and his winning the award by publicizing this award and making Yan a type of cultural icon. Previous Chinese authors who have received the award were all open critics of the government and the Chinese government did not make public the authors receiving the nobel prize. Yan is all over Chinese media publications, which is a sign of the Chinese governmental support of him. This is so important for all of China for several reasons. First, it shows that the government is becoming less authoritarian and more open to blurring political party lines. In the past, the government would probably not have supported Yan because of his indirect criticism against Chinese society. Today he has the government support. I would say they are moving in the right direction

This is also important for Chinese culture all over the country. It further promotes expressionism in literature and shows citizens of China that they can express themselves in their own ways. The government supporting independent literature, rather than State approved, is a giant step to the government supporting individual expressionism, and in the end, personal freedom. This one award has shown the world that China may be turning a new leaf.



Information taken from Cnn.com, Foxnews.com, and the Associated Press


For this paradigm shift paper, I think I want to do a shift related to politics and elections. There is a ton of information out there about voting habits and campaigns. My first thought is to write about the shift from candidate-orientied politics to issue-oriented politics. This is a shift from the American electorate looking at a candidate for their political values ideology, to them looking at issues presented by their party platforms. We have gotten away from voting for a person because we “like” them and their character, values, etc. Nowadays we vote for people because they are pro-this, or anti-that.

Another possible shift I may do is the shift in campaign strategies in the United States. I could possibly talk about the uprising of negative ads, the huge proportional increase of money put into campaign finance, or even new types of campaigns such as social media. I am not sure how much research will be available for either of these topics so I plan on initially looking at them both and choosing the one that I can find more information on.

RCL blog 4

So this is probably one of the saddest things I have ever seen on Facebook. I am friends with a girl I went to high school with whose name is Taylor Parker. She is a sweet girl who is a year older than me and loves to ride horses. She posted this a couple days ago:

Everyone go home and hug your parents. Tell them you love them. You don’t know when the world will swipe them away. I lost the most important human in my life today and I am across the country with a delayed flight. My dad is gone and there is nothing I can do about it. Be grateful of your parents and let my Dad rest in paradise. My life will never be the same.


I am not sure the circumstances that led to her father’s passing, but it is all very sad. Her post on Facebook is one of the most beautiful, pathos driven posts I have ever seen from a friend, no matter how sad it may be. Her word choice is almost poetic when she says the world may “swipe” your parents away. The image of your parents being alive and well at one moment and they next they are quickly gone is put in my head. Immediately this passage fills me with sorrow and I sympathize with Taylor greatly. Her last sentence is very powerful as well. It leaves the reader to think about their life and how it would be with the loss of a parent, which elicits an emotional reaction from the reader.

This post is so sad and so powerful that it is needless to say that I picked up the phone and called my parents. I would imagine that the majority of people that read her post called their parents making her post very effective.