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Political Division in America: A Fresh Perspective of the Chaos

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The United States is in a period of political turmoil and polarization. New technologies have matured over the last ten years, which have transformed an individual’s relationship with society and government. The emergence of these technologies has revolutionized access to

The United States is in a period of political turmoil and polarization. New technologies have matured over the last ten years, which have transformed an individual’s relationship with society and government. The emergence of these technologies has revolutionized access to both information and misinformation. Skills such as bias recognition and critical thinking are more imperative than in any other time to separate truth from false or misleading information. Meanwhile, education has not evolved with these changes. The average individual is more likely to come to uninformed conclusions and less likely to listen to differing perspectives. Moreover, technology is further complicating and compounding other issues in the political process. All of this is manifesting in division among the American people who elect more polarized politicians who increasingly fail to find avenues for compromise.

In an effort to address these trends, we founded a student organization, The Political Literates, to fight political apathy by delivering political news in an easy to understand and unbiased manner. Inspired by our experience with this organization, we combine our insights with research to paint a new perspective on the state of the American political system.

This thesis analyzes various issues identified through our observations and research, with a heavy emphasis on using examples from the 2016 election. Our focus is how new technologies like data analytics, the Internet, smartphones, and social media are changing politics by driving political and social transformation. We identify and analyze five core issues that have been amplified by new technology, hindering the effectiveness of elections and further increasing political polarization:

● Gerrymandering which skews partisan debate by forcing politicians to pander to ideologically skewed districts.
● Consolidation of media companies which affects the diversity of how news is shared.
● Repeal of the Fairness Doctrine which allowed media to become more partisan.
● The Citizens United Ruling which skews power away from average voters in elections.
● A Failing Education System which does not prepare Americans to be civically engaged and to avoid being swayed by biased or untrue media.

Based on our experiment with the Political Literates and our research, we call for improving how critical thinking and civics is taught in the American education system. Critical thought and civics must be developed pervasively. With this, more people would be able to form more sophisticated views by listening to others to learn rather than win, listening less to irrelevant information, and forming a culture with more engagement in politics. Through this re-enlightenment, many of America’s other problems may evaporate or become more actionable.

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Date Created
2019-05

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A Comprehensive Analysis of the Changing Ideological Frameworks Guiding Interpretations of the First, Second and Fourth Amendments, 1776-2017

Description

Historically, Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution of the United States have been significantly important, impacting the lives of every American. This honors thesis seeks to understand the ways in which the Constitution has been interpreted through the lens of

Historically, Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution of the United States have been significantly important, impacting the lives of every American. This honors thesis seeks to understand the ways in which the Constitution has been interpreted through the lens of political ideology. Using constitutional theory, I explain how the political ideologies of classical liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, and progressive liberalism have played a role in the interpretations of the First, Second, and Fourth Amendments. I also examine how these ideological interpretations have changed from 1776 to 2017, dividing the history of the United States into four eras: the Founding Era, the Civil War Era, the New Deal Era, and the Modern Era. First, the First Amendment's clauses on religion are examined, where I focus on the separation between church and state as well as the concepts of "establishment" and "free exercise." The First Amendment transitions from classically liberal, to conservative, to progressively liberal and classically liberal, to progressively liberal and libertarian. Next, we look at the Second Amendment's notions of a "militia" and the "right to keep and bear arms." The Second Amendment's interpretations begin classically liberal, then change to classically liberal and progressively liberal, to progressively liberal, to conservative. Finally, the analysis on the Fourth Amendment's "unreasonable searches and seizures" as well as "warrants" lends evidence to ideological interpretations. The Fourth Amendment, like the other two, starts classically liberal for two eras, then becomes libertarian, and finally ends libertarian and conservative. The implications of each of these conclusions are then discussed, with emphasis on public opinion in society during the era in question, the ways in which the ideologies in each era seem to build upon one another, the ideologies of the justices who wrote the opinions, and the ideology of the court.

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Date Created
2017-12

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Click to Connect: The Internet's Influence on the Employment of Civic Republicanism through Online Political Engagement

Description

There exists a strong correlation between successful democratic governance and citizen participation. Pulling this sense of civic engagement to the furthest end of the spectrum, author and political theorist Benjamin Barber expresses the benefits of citizen independence and self-governance though

There exists a strong correlation between successful democratic governance and citizen participation. Pulling this sense of civic engagement to the furthest end of the spectrum, author and political theorist Benjamin Barber expresses the benefits of citizen independence and self-governance though political deliberation in a variety of texts, one of which being Strong Democracy. While the United States currently operates on a "democratic" base, the overall lack of political efficacy undermines democratic effectiveness. Benjamin Barber outlines a series of solutions and employment strategies in order to increase efficacy and bolster civic engagement and bring about a culture of self-legislation, but in his analysis seems to overlook the collaborative capacity of the Internet, more specifically social media outlets and blogs. This study will examine the use of the Internet in various political manners, to observe if the presence of platforms such as social networks and blogs are facilitating or hindering the push towards a more civic-republican political structure. While research has displayed that the numbers on political internet-usage are consistently increasing, it is evident that not all forms of online-engagement are beneficial towards Barber's Civic Republican ideals, and may serve to strengthen the current unsound system. Through this study, I argue that certain methods of political activity over the Internet may work to support the collaborative democratic culture, and increase a sense of Civic Republicanism through political creativity, deliberation and online-action. If we are to one day achieve the goal of recovering a true sense of cooperative democracy, these forms of participation may play a significant role in the struggle for change, and must be facilitated through both civic education and the cooperation of elites. If this Internet-mediated political deliberation continues to develop, I believe that it has the capacity to act as a significant catalyst towards Barber's Civic Republican ideals and an overall shift in the political culture.

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Created

Date Created
2016-05

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The Colectiv Nightclub Tragedy: A Case Study of the Broken Mechanism

Description

Following the fall of communism in Romania which took place on December 25, 1989, those living within the country as well as others around the world believed the ushering of a nation towards a brighter future was underway. The limitations

Following the fall of communism in Romania which took place on December 25, 1989, those living within the country as well as others around the world believed the ushering of a nation towards a brighter future was underway. The limitations imposed by the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu were removed and a brighter future was on the horizon. Twenty-seven years have passed since this historical event in Romanian history, yet the country is far removed from that brighter future, as it is now plagued by other symptoms. The transition from communism to a fully functioning democracy has not been as smooth or as quick as many initially expected, and although some problems are no longer prevalent, others are becoming a staple of the nation. The Colectiv nightclub fire exemplifies the current obstacles and drawbacks of present day Romania, which impede the country's further progress to becoming a truly democratic nation, free from corruption and other widespread negative forces. Although the results of the incident which happened on the night of October 30th, 2015 are devastating and painful for those involved, their families, and to the entire country as a whole, the factors which led to this tragedy must be examined and rectified in order to help prevent any such event from reoccurring in the future. Throughout this analysis, I will proceed by first outlining the damaged system within both the Romanian government and society, and then examine how these shortcomings had a direct impact on the disaster which took place on the night of October 30th, 2015.

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Created

Date Created
2016-12

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MENDING A DETRIMENTAL CRISIS: PROPOSAL TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM THROUGH THE INCORPORATION OF COMPUTER SKILLS AND CODING IN PRISONS

Description

With a prison population that has grown to 1.4 million, an imprisonment rate of 419 per 100,000 U.S. residents, and a recidivism rate of 52.2% for males and 36.4% for females, the United States is facing a crisis. Currently, no

With a prison population that has grown to 1.4 million, an imprisonment rate of 419 per 100,000 U.S. residents, and a recidivism rate of 52.2% for males and 36.4% for females, the United States is facing a crisis. Currently, no sufficient measures have been taken by the United States to reduce recidivism. Attempts have been made, but they ultimately failed. Recently, however, there has been an increase in experimentation with the concept of teaching inmates basic computer skills to reduce recidivism. As labor becomes increasingly digitized, it becomes more difficult for inmates who spent a certain period away from technology to adapt and find employment. At the bare minimum, anybody entering the workforce must know how to use a computer and other technological appliances, even in the lowest-paid positions. By incorporating basic computer skills and coding educational programs within prisons, this issue can be addressed, since inmates would be better equipped to take on a more technologically advanced labor market.<br/>Additionally, thoroughly preparing inmates for employment is a necessity because it has been proven to reduce recidivism. Prisons typically have some work programs; however, these programs are typically outdated and prepare inmates for fields that may represent a difficult employment market moving forward. On the other hand, preparing inmates for tech-related fields of work is proving to be successful in the early stages of experimentation. A reason for this success is the growing demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent between 2019 and 2029. This is noteworthy considering the national average for growth of all other jobs is only 4 percent. It also warrants the exploration of educating coders because software developers, in particular, have an expected growth rate of 22 percent between 2019 and 2029. <br/>Despite the security risks of giving inmates access to computers, the implementation of basic computer skills and coding in prisons should be explored further. Programs that give inmates access to a computing education already exist. The only issue with these programs is their scarcity. However, this is to no fault of their own, considering the complex nature and costs of running such a program. Accordingly, this leaves the opportunity for public universities to get involved. Public universities serve as perfect hosts because they are fully capable of leveraging the resources already available to them. Arizona State University, in particular, is a more than ideal candidate to spearhead such a program and serve as a model for other public universities to follow. Arizona State University (ASU) is already educating inmates in local Arizona prisons on subjects such as math and English through their PEP (Prison Education Programming) program.<br/>This thesis will focus on Arizona specifically and why this would benefit the state. It will also explain why Arizona State University is the perfect candidate to spearhead this kind of program. Additionally, it will also discuss why recidivism is detrimental and the reasons why formerly incarcerated individuals re-offend. Furthermore, it will also explore the current measures being taken in Arizona and their limitations. Finally, it will provide evidence for why programs like these tend to succeed and serve as a proposal to Arizona State University to create its own program using the provided framework in this thesis.

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Created

Date Created
2021-05

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The Forgotten: The DNC's Failure to Return to their Roots

Description

The contemporary Democratic Party has departed from their roots protecting working-class issues in favor of neoliberal ideology protecting the professional class; however, recent surges in progressive campaigns demonstrate the desire to move past this elitist ideology for New Deal-like policies,

The contemporary Democratic Party has departed from their roots protecting working-class issues in favor of neoliberal ideology protecting the professional class; however, recent surges in progressive campaigns demonstrate the desire to move past this elitist ideology for New Deal-like policies, namely, young people. By utilizing the works of Thomas Frank and Anand Giridharadas to analyze the faults of the DNC, I then make case for the path forward that is more inclusive of young people and older members Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian, and LGBTQ+ communities with progressive policies to "bringing the party home."

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Created

Date Created
2021-05

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Real Life Superheroes: An Ethnographic Exploration Behind Cosplay and Politics

Description

In this undergraduate thesis, I explore the relationship between politics and popular culture through an ethnography of Justice League Arizona, a cosplay ensemble devoted to costumed civic activism. While existing scholarship addresses cosplay ensembles and political theory, there is very

In this undergraduate thesis, I explore the relationship between politics and popular culture through an ethnography of Justice League Arizona, a cosplay ensemble devoted to costumed civic activism. While existing scholarship addresses cosplay ensembles and political theory, there is very little that examines how the act of cosplay can be a form of politics and what the impact of that interpretation has on both individuals and the community at large. Through both participant observation and interviews with members of the ensemble, I discovered that cosplay has the ability to intensify aspects of the self, the ability to expose new aspects of the self, and the ability to bring one closer to a particular character. I also found cosplay to be political through the sensibility and situated knowledge that proves to be in practice during cosplay, ultimately having the power to be used as a form of political resistance.

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Created

Date Created
2016-12

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Media to the Polls: How Trafficking Knowledge Affects How Generation Z Votes in the United States

Description

Gen Z is very active on social media where there is a large amount of misinformation on human trafficking. This bears the question, does correct knowledge of human trafficking have a correlation with how Gen Z votes? This study looks

Gen Z is very active on social media where there is a large amount of misinformation on human trafficking. This bears the question, does correct knowledge of human trafficking have a correlation with how Gen Z votes? This study looks into the correlation between Generation Z’s (Gen Z) voting patterns and their knowledge of human trafficking. The underlying thought is how media and social media play a role in what information Gen Z is taking to the voting booths. The results will show if both Republicans and Democrats or just one are affected by inadequate knowledge of human trafficking and if therefore, they are voting a specific way. A result emerged by surveying 30 people across the United States with ages ranging from 18-24, on where trafficking happens and to whom it happens to, alongside asking the participants different political questions to determine their voting patterns. The survey questions were written and analyzed quantitatively to use the data numerically as the results.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2022-05