Monday, September 17, 2012

Great Night of Discussion

We had regulars there and even added a new member, welcome Carol. We went over parallels and differences in the campaign of 1828 and campaigns now. We talked about bias and the book along with bias in the media and peoples perception in general and decided that it is almost impossible to relay information while being devoid of bias. We noted that while there was only one party for the 1828 election the mud slinging was still robust. We noticed that neither were willing to change the constitution but accused the other of desiring too. Federalism was shown to be to powerful to go away even though the party disappeared shortly before this election and that even Jackson who stuck by State's Rights expanded both the reach of government with projects and the role of the president. We talked about the precursors seen in the campaign and election to the civil war and even discussed what might have been different if Adams had won instead. I really enjoyed the discussions on the qualities of the men involved and how their strongly held opinions during the campaign may not be feasible in practice and may even be counter actual beliefs. There were many issues that we see now, like electoral vs. popular vote to determine the president. We spoke about why it was designed the way it was, why it won't likely change for representation purposes and how some states are looking to force their electoral votes to match the overall popular vote rather than sticking with the actual states result. There was much more than that though. If you have any thoughts about the discussion I missed feel free to comment, or even if you couldn't make it tonight please feel free to include your take on the book. The next book will be: Little Bee by Chris Cleave We will meet next November 19 at 7PM. God Bless You and Thanks again for letting me do this with you.

Constition and Citizenship Day

Happy Constitution Day. September 17th, 1787 (225 yrs ago today) the US Constitution was signed in Philadelphia. Here is some information on the Constitution that DOD Public Affairs has put together. There is a course you can take and you can take a quiz at the end. Constitution and Citizenship Day

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Club is Tomorrow Night

We get to talk about the Birth of Modern Politics tomorrow and I am excited to hear what you all think. Some things I wanted to discuss were: What parallels are there to the current campaign for president? What ideas about how politics worked 200 years ago changed with this? Did it surprise you the views that each of the candidates had on issues that may be moot now? State's rights? Slavery? Balance of Powers? Designation of duties of the branches? Power of the federal government? Popular versus electoral choice? Two great men, both with flaws and strengths. How to choose.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Okay, Jesus, Now You're Meddling

The way this started I thought it would be more about politics, but a powerful message nonetheless. I thought I should share it. Okay, Jesus, Now You're Meddling

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Next book

Are there any suggestions for the next book? I will post suggestions from previous meetings later to help selection, but feel free to suggest something we haven't thought about before.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Birth of Modern Politics

I always thought that politics just started getting dirty in my lifetime, that somehow it was much cleaner and nicer and more gentlemanly in earlier times.  This book certainly makes that look like a fairy tale or at best wishful thinking.  It is interesting that even from the bitterness of this campaign there were so many issues that the victor was against that couldn't be stopped like the strength of the federal government versus the states rights.  It is almost hard to imagine the bigger than life president in Andrew Jackson running as a state's rights person.

I got to thinking about the expansion of the electorate that occurred in the 1828 election and some of the warnings that critics had about rich interests determining the interests of those poorer.  Is that what we are seeing today?  It certainly doesn't seem like there was any respect for the office of the president or any more civilized debate, fairness, impartiality, or even honesty in the battle than what we see now.  Watching the principles that Jackson ran on and the vices that he ran against make him look somewhat hypocritical when he abandoned some he stood for and adopted some he vilified in the Adams administration.  Do politics corrupt good morals as bad company necessarily go with politics and power?

If you read the epilogue you will also see how the tactics used in the campaign of 1828 engineered  by Martin Van Buren lost him a chance at a second term when another party adopted them.  Those that live by the sword...

I wanted to mention a couple of things as our next election is coming up.  First from Mike I got this link and thought it was interesting.  The article dwells on politics and the christian and even goes into what freedom of religion means to the practice of religion and politics.

There are so many places to get opinions on candidates and there even was a movie released recently 2016 that is about the views and beliefs of President Obama (trailer).  I have noticed that there seem to be no venues that present the candidates or the issues impartially.  Maybe there is no way to do that.  Maybe partiality is part of having a mind and an opinion and the ability to express them.

I must admit that my views and my vote are pretty well set and not likely to change at this late a date before the election, but if people are still undecided what are they looking for to change their mind?  Is it possible to change someone's mind about something they feel strongly about and if you don't feel strongly about anything then what would impress you?  Are we then just looking for a personality?  A hero?  A scholar?  Someone striking?  Someone witty?  Someone intelligent?  Are we really just shallow in our convictions so as to reduce them to whims?

What do you think?

Saturday, September 1, 2012