This unfortunately is the final week of this class! I enjoyed this class throughout the semester even if most of it was online. I felt as if I learned so much about the American system of government and a lot about US politics. Given the number of readings that I had to complete for this class, I learned the importance of managing my time well so I can complete my assignments on time and with good quality. I just want to thank Professor Brandle for how well this class went since I learned so many new things I didn’t know before about the government. This new information I learned throughout the semester will help me be more politically active.
For all of these blogs, I believed I should get a 19 out of 20. This is because for most of my blogs I worked hard on them. I also was able to complete almost every week, two blogs a week. However, I do not deserve the full 20 points because for a couple of weeks I wasn’t able to do two blogs for those weeks. I also felt that for a few weeks I didn’t give my best effort on blogging, and for those blogs, they aren’t as high quality as the rest of my blogs.
This week in the textbook I learned about foreign policy. I thought that it was harder to connect this topic of foreign policy to current events because I’m not that informed about what goes on internationally. I also thought that out of all the readings from this year this textbook reading was by far the most content-heavy so I will not share all I learned in this blog. However, What I learned that I thought to be important was how foreign policy is defined as international government objectives and the “values” that give rise to these objectives. I learned the differences between foreign policy and public policy and that foreign policy is very strategic and not random like public policy. I also learned about how the different branches of government influence foreign policy especially congress and the executive branch.
Even though I don’t know of any current events that are happening with foreign policy, when the topic of protectionism came up it did remind me of a historical event that was related. First Protectionism means When a country blocks or puts up tariffs on imported goods from other countries, to protect their companies from foreign competition. One of the historical events that I thought relating to protectionism is the Chicken tax. This I thought was a great example of protectionism since Germany decided to tax United States chicken imports to protect chicken farmers in Germany from losing business to foreign companies.
Foreign policy is an issue that I am unfortunately completely unaware about and I would love to continue to further research after this class since I did find this reading interesting.
This week has been a very productive and beneficial week for my learning. This week I was able to finish my textbook readings and complete one of my blogs early in the week. However, the most significant accomplishment of this week was finishing my book I completed for my book review, “Making the News” by Amber E. Boydstun. When I finished it I wasn’t able to wrap my head around certain concepts talked about in the book. To help me with the parts of the book I didn’t understand, I scheduled a meeting with Professor Brandle who helped me deepen my understanding of the book and the news in general. I felt like with the completion of this book I have a brand new insight on the news and how it functions which I didn’t have before.
Next week for me will be pretty busy given that it is the last week of the semester. I plan to complete my book review on “Making the News” by Thursday. I also plan to study for the final happening on the 6th-9th which I need to prepare for. Given that I have so much on my plate during next week I do want to finish my textbook readings by Monday to get it out of the way. I also want to complete one blog relating to the textbook on Tuesday. Scheduling this ahead of time will allow my week to be more productive which will inevitably benefit my learning and studying.
This week In the textbook I read about domestic policy and what it was. The textbook began by explaining what public policy is which is a guide to the government’s legislative action to address the needs of its citizens. From the textbook, I learned about the different categorization of public policy which was based on who pays the cost of an implemented policy and who receives the benefits. The textbook explained to me the different areas in were policies are implemented such as health care, education, and business regulations. I felt as if this week’s readings were really hard to wrap my head around because I never really knew what policy was, to begin with. One of my main takeaways from this week’s readings was that policy wasn’t just a piece of legislation but essentially an entire framework the government uses to decide how it provides for the needs of the public.
As I was reading what caught my attention was chapter 16.2 and its similarity to the first chapter of the textbook. The first chapter discussed the government’s role that it plays in society, and how interconnected our capitalist system was with the government. The first chapter discussed the different types of goods such as private goods, public goods, and toll goods. In the same way, chapter 16.2 discussed all these goods and also discussed America’s free-market economy. Even though chapter 1 and chapter 16 have different goals in mind when bringing up Capitalism, I found it interesting how everything connects throughout the textbook. This I felt was a great reminder about the importance of building off prior knowledge when trying to understand something new, just like the textbook built off prior information to teach something new.
This week in the textbook I read about political parties and how they function as major players in influencing policy. One of the most significant things I learned is the reason why there is a two-party system in the US. Part of the reason for our two-party system, I learned, is because the winner takes all voting systems which limits the number of people running for office. Another reason for our two-party system is the difficulty third parties have of convincing voters that they have a good chance of winning when third parties don’t usually win. This explained to me why ultimately the only people I hear running for political office are either democrat or republican. This also explained why I never hear the media talk about candidates from third parties such as the libertarian party.
What struck me however the most is George Washington’s warning about how political parties can become divisive and potentially lead to a negative impact on America (ch. 9.1 of the textbook). This divisive nature of political parties seems very prevalent today especially between the Democrat and Republican parties. One way I see this happening is within the issue of climate change. Many Republicans today are going to the extreme by denying the significance of climate change, and some even go so far as to be skeptical of the existence of climate change. However, while many democrats acknowledge the existence of climate change they go to extremes by proposing legislation such as the Green New Deal. Even though the Green New Deal sounds great at face value, it could potentially harm our economy. The Green New Deal also could drastically expand the power of the federal government and their control, which would be best left to the control of private institutions.
There are many more examples between the extremely partisan nature of political parties today but this just goes to show that as time moves forward there will be a further division between parties.
I was piled with many assignments this week from many classes but fortunately I was able to be consistent with this class’s reading assignment. Knowing that I had too many more assignments I had to complete, I read all my textbooks on Sunday and wrote my first blog on Monday just to get it out of the way. The downside to cramming all of the textbooks in one day was that I had much more difficulty comprehending and understanding what I read. I don’t usually read the textbook summaries but when I read them I realized how much of a great tool it was to help me understand the textbook. Thanks to the textbook and the Crash Course videos I was able to have an adequate understanding of political parties.
This week I also made much progress on my book review book that I am reading. Given the effect summaries affected my textbook comprehension I decided to try in on this book. I had trouble comprehending the overall message the author was trying to show with all these chapters. However thanks to the summary in the back of the book, and also re reading in chapter 1 “the story of this book in a Nutshell”, I was able to put together the gist of what she was saying which helped my understanding of this book in its entirety . As my understanding of this book grows I feel more and more prepared to write my book review. Next week therefore I plan to finish the book and start my book review and hopefully finish it as well.
This week my readings were focused on the American elections, voting, and campaigns. This topic seemed to be the most familiar to me because much of what I read was discussed already in chapter 12 of the textbook about presidential elections. Also, this was most familiar because this topic gets a lot of coverage on the media. While I was familiar with this I did gain a deeper understanding of elections not just for the president but also for other government officials. I also understood more about how campaigns worked and what laws are currently in place to regulate campaign financing.
While I did develop what I already knew, I also learned new things as well. I learned about how campaigns fundraise and the significance that money plays gaining publicity with campaigns which I had no knowledge of before. I also learned about voter turnout, and how it is calculated by comparing different groups within the population such as the whole population or the population of people who are eligible to vote. The textbook also showed me the different reasons for low and high voter turnout. Calculating voter turnout will affect campaigns and whom they choose to target.
One last thing that was completely new to me was direct democracy. Since I had a lack of understanding a couple of questions were raised. One is why do states in the east usually not participate in direct democracy? Another one is, is there any way for citizens in states with no direct democracy to get directly involved in politics? Lastly, One thing that was briefly touched upon in this chapter, which I have an interest in knowing more about and I don’t know anything about, is state constitutions.
This tenth week of American politics class resulted in continuous growth in my learning. While I do prefer having school in the building I feel like not having to commute to school has given me a lot more time to continue to learn and grow in this class. As this week progressed I was able to follow my schedule I made for myself so I can get my readings done at an appropriate time. This schedule allowed me to manage my time well and continue to progress in my learning. I continue to realize that the key to learning effectively is how I choose to manage my time so I can consume information in bite-sized pieces and I don’t feel overwhelmed.
However, I did have a few setbacks this week. For one when going to fill out the census I lost the blue sheet which had my census ID in it. I also haven’t been making much progress in my reading for my book review, which means I’m going to have to focus on catching up to where I should be by this weekend. As I said in blog 11 these setbacks allow me to stay motivated to stay on track with my schedule.
Next week I will continue to manage my time well with my reading. This will allow me to continue to progress in my learning.
This week I read the textbook and watched crash course videos on the judicial branch which I had little to no understanding before this week. I learned much this week, primarily from the Crash videos, about the different types of courts and their powers. I learned about original jurisdiction, the ability to be the first to review a case, which for the most part only trial courts have. I also learned about appellate courts and how they review appeals from trial court cases and they function with appellate jurisdiction. Lastly, I learned about the role of the SCOTUS and And the process in order to get your case heard by the SCOTUS which was probably the most complex thing I learned this week.
One other thing I learned in my readings this week was how this branch was intended to be the weakest Or “least dangerous” branch because it cannot directly make legislation like the president or congress. However, throughout history, SCOTUS has made many court decisions that were very impactful to shaping America. Decisions like brown vs. board, Marbury v. Madison, Loving v. Virginia just to name a few, challenged norms and policy that greatly impacted America Today. I would say that with the amount of impact the SCOTUS has had throughout history I see the judicial branch as one of the strongest branches.
This week continued to go as planned just like last week which is very good. I was able to finish my textbook reading within a few days and was able to complete my blog for this week. I also continued to read my book for my book review and learn more about the relationship between news and politics from the book. Lastly, I want to fill out the US census for my political participation assignment which I do plan to do this week. While this blog is brief as I continue to progress with my learning by managing my time well and keeping up to date on all my assignments.