Log inskip to content

Archive for the 'US GOV: Pol Culture' Category

One Nation Under God?

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

The words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and the phrase “In God we trust” on the back of a dollar bill haven’t been there as long as most Americans might think. Those references were inserted in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration, the same decade that the National Prayer Breakfast was launched, according to writer Kevin Kruse. His new book is One Nation Under God. Here is an interview with Kruse from Fresh Air.

And here is Kruse in a KCRW debate with: 

Kevin Kruse, Princeton University
Gary Smith, Grove City College
Alan Cooperman, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
Mary Ellen Sikes, Secular Majority

KCRW Discussion: One Nation under God…but Since When?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

American values may be compatible with the Christian Bible…but the Founding Fathers insisted on the separation of church and state. Yet many Americans believe they live in a historically “Christian Nation.” We hear about a long-running campaign to associate religion and politics.

Mudslinging in 1800 and Beyond

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

I want to push back a bit on the Diehl-Rocks thesis that the election of 1828 is the genesis of dirty campaigning. Thomas Jefferson supporters accused Adams of being a hermaphrodite with “neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” In response, the Adams campaign accused Jefferson of being the son of a half-breed Indian squaw and a mulatto father.

Of course the election of 1800 is just the beginning. One of my favorites was in 1876 when Democrats accused Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes of shooting his own mother and stealing the pay of dead soldiers while he was a Union general.

None of the above had to show their original long form birth certificate.


T.R. Reid: Looking Overseas For ‘Healing Of America’

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Journalist and author T.R. Reid set out on a global tour of hospitals and doctors’ offices, all in the hopes of understanding how other industrialized nations provide affordable, effective universal health care. The result: his book The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.

Reid is a foreign correspondent for The Washington Post — in whose pages he recently addressed five major myths about other countries’ health-care systems — and the former chief of the paper’s London and Tokyo bureaus.

Listen to this Fresh Air Episode

Sick in the head: Why America won’t get the health-care system it needs

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

When Congress is in session, Michigan Congressman John Conyers holds a regular public meeting at the Rayburn House Office Building, where, if you happen to be interested in health policy, you are welcome to join like-minded citizens in considering the merits of HR 676, also known as The National Health Insurance Bill. If signed into law, HR 676 would require a single payer (the government) to provide health insurance to every American, which is likely why most Americans have never heard of it. Nearly every other wealthy nation has a single-payer system, but in the United States-or at least in Congress-single payer generally is understood to be too utopian, too extreme, and certainly too socialist for domestic consumption.

I was surprised, therefore, when I went to one of the meetings in July and found a hundred or so people stuffed into a stately conference room. Everyone had a notebook, but no one had the bored look of a political reporter. These were activists, young and mostly black or Hispanic. Conyers, along with several guest speakers, sat behind balusters on a low platform that crossed the width of the room. At the other end, near the door, someone had arranged a banquet table potluck style, with tins of homemade brownies and cupcakes. I pushed my way to one of the few remaining chairs in the back as Conyers, now at the lectern and speaking softly into a microphone, asked whether anyone would like to address the gathering.

A fine analysis from Harper’s

Civil Society Readings, CCS & Lippmann

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

The Center for Civil Society, What is Civil Society?

Walter Lippmann from The Phantom Public

Reading responses to CCS and Lippmann

Political Culture

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Consider the following news headlines from across the globe:

  • The Russian president proclaims that he will appoint hundreds of political officials who until then had been elected by the people, and no one in the country seems to object.
  • The Chinese government sends troops to arrest farmers who refuse to give up their land to state-sponsored developers as China continues to bolster its market economy.
  • The citizens of Mexico vote the one-party system out of its 75-year rule by selecting a president from a party on the right in 2000, but now seem to be leaning toward a leftist president candidate for 2006.
  • Almost every week, the British prime minister faces the opposition party leader toe to toe in a “question hour” that encourages even members of his own party to hurl insults at him.

How do we make sense of the actions that we read about in the news? Start by reading this

Teaching Against Idiocy

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Contemplating the root of the word “idiocy” leads Dr. Walter
Parker to explore the challenge that democratic societies
face of developing public-minded citizens. The schools,
he argues, are the most likely institutions to succeed in
that task.

The Article

The Response Sheet