Election Theft!

Infowars.com had this a couple of days ago (link: http://www.infowars.com/how-to-steal-an-election-obamney-2012/).

The columnist (Prometheus Unchained!!  Is it too late to change one of my kid’s names??), described a number of methods including 1. The Election Does Not Make Logical Sense, 2. A Close Election Within Contestable Margins, 3. The Results are Delayed Due to Numerous Legal Challenges, 4. Threats and Acts of Violence Mar the Election Process, 5. Bloat the Vote.

Each of the arguments is interesting, but it led me wondering about the expanding election process during the Jacksonian Era.  I want the students to explain to me how having people who may not have any idea to digest the issues that they are voting on is that different than outright theft.

Furthermore, for World History classes, how different is a contemporary threat of violence from the descent into violent madness that the Roman Republic undertook?

Does Voting Matter? Did It Ever?

James Altucher was as thought-provoking as ever (link: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/10/why-i-wont-vote/).

In this column he had written:

People get very upset about this voting thing. I’m accused of being unpatriotic, for instance. Or my little 10 year old told me, “more people will run stop signs if we don’t have a President.” She associates a President with a magical parent. Perhaps projecting her own sense that I don’t give her enough boundaries for her to figure out where the edge of childhood ends and adulthood begins. I let her run a Stop sign when I don’t set a bedtime, or turn her TV off. She wants a President who will  tell her when to “STOP!”

We’re just coming back from Fall Break, so I might use this as a review with two of my US History classes.  I’m going to ask them which of the Presidencies that we’ve discussed might have been more successful if the President had followed Altucher’s advice.

I’ll also send them to the Word Wall and have them explain to me which policy would have suffered or succeeded by following this advice.  Or, if they would rather, which of these policies were immediately impacted by popular approval or disapproval?

War and Fascism

Washington’s Blog had a post titled ‘The Real Reason America is Drifting toward Fascism’. (Link (through lewrockwell.com: http://lewrockwell.com/spl4/america-drifting-toward-fascism.html).

This has some great examples of propaganda.  As a review of what we have discussed, I would start by asking the class to design a propaganda poster for any of the conflicts that we’ve discussed (French-Indian War, American War for Independence, Quasi War with France…).

I am also going to have them consider this along the lines of the Alien and Sedition Acts.  George Washington had written:

Genesis of the Meme: Carl Schmitt

But to really understand Strauss – and thus the Neocons – one must understand his main influence: Carl Schmitt, the leading Nazi legal scholar and philosopher who created the justification for “total war” to destroy those labeled the “enemy” of the Nazi state. Strauss was a life-long follower of Schmitt, and Schmitt helped Strauss get a scholarship which let him escape from Germany and come to America.

Not only was Strauss heavily influenced by Schmitt, but Strauss and Schmitt were so close that – when Strauss criticized Schmitt for being too soft and not going far enough – Schmitt agreed:

Schmitt himself recommended Strauss’s commentary [on Schmitt’s writing] to his friends as one that he believed saw right through him like an X-ray.

Schmitt’s philosophy argued that the sovereign was all-powerful in being able to declare a state of emergency:

The sovereign is the name of that person (legal or actual) who decides not only that the situation is a state of exception but also what needs to be done to eliminate the state of exception and thus preserve the state and restore order. Note the circularity of the definitions: the sovereign is the one who decides that there is a state of exception; a state of exception is that which the sovereign deems to be so.

This would mostly serve as a review…

Iran and Israel: Modern-Day Settlers and Natives?

Justin Raimondo has an interesting look at what at the time was going to be the third and final debate between the Presidential contenders.

Raimondo had written:

On the other hand, both the White House and the Iranians are denying direct talks are in the offing: and while cowardice is a signature characteristic of this administration, especially when it comes to dealing with the phony Iranian nuclear “crisis,” the Iranians have good reason to keep this under deep cover. They are all too aware of the Israel lobby’s ability to squelch efforts to reach a peaceful settlement. According to the Times, Tehran has agreed to talks only after the election, on the grounds that they don’t know whom they’ll be dealing with in the White House come January.

My students will be asked to explain how this may be similar to the Native American issues that surrounded the 1828 election.  Therein, John Quincy Adams was derided for insisting that treaties signed with Natives be honored.  Andrew Jackson was able to gain some popularity by…disagreeing.

What kind of conversation do you think we’ll have?

Article can be found at:  http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2012/10/21/before-the-election-a-pattern-of-provocations/

Why Current Events

Our school is up for accreditation and, since we’ve all been thrust into involvement in the accreditation process, I’ve been able to see what is and is not of vital importance to the education-insiders.  Turns out one of the things that has sparked their interest is the use of current events.

This really got me thinking.  As a History instructor the use of news articles came naturally to me.  So many times I’ve sat through students’ complaints about how, ‘This doesn’t have anything to do with…anything,’ and, ‘Why are we learning this?  These guys don’t matter to me…,’ and (my favorite), ‘Why do they keep telling us about 9/11? It was so long ago and on the other side of the country…

Working with budding genius like this has made me all the more excited to try and use contemporary news stories to show students how the current events can be traced along historical lines.

Unfortunately, many teachers get caught up in the zeal of sharing what may be important to the world as it is turning, but fail to link it to the curriculum.  Without the latter, the former is little more than preaching.

So here’s how I try and use current events in my classroom.  You’ll get a snapshot of what we’re talking about, or what we will be talking about.  And you’ll get to see the conversation that I will try and start.

I hope this helps!

Derrick Palmer