Deconstructing The Absurdity

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Brexit: A victory for xenophobia; loss for everything else

In EU, Europe, United Kingdom on June 28, 2016 at 6:30 pm

1945 was a pivotal moment for the world. Europe, in particular, had been the epicenter of major unrest for the past three decades that culminated in the deadliest military conflict in modern human history. The Second World War claimed a total of 60 million lives which was about 3 percent of the world population in 1945. While military casualties added up to 38 percent (axis and allied powers), the majority of the brunt was borne by civilians where casualties were 58 percent. Needless to say, Europe was seeking long-term stability with great immediacy.

In a picture that captures the violence and sheer destruction inherent in war perhaps more graphically than any other ever published in LIFE, Marines take cover on an Iwo Jima hillside amid the burned-out remains of banyan jungle, as a Japanese bunker is obliterated in March 1945. Image credit: W. Eugene Smith for Time and Life pictures.

In a picture that captures the violence and sheer destruction inherent in war perhaps more graphically than any other ever published in LIFE, Marines take cover on an Iwo Jima hillside amid the burned-out remains of banyan jungle, as a Japanese bunker is obliterated in March 1945. Image credit: W. Eugene Smith for Time and Life pictures.

After the war, European integration was widely viewed as an antidote to extreme nationalism which had ravaged the continent. At the Hague Congress in 1948, with 750 delegates participating from around Europe as well as observers from Canada and the United States, a decisive step was taken with the establishment of the European Movement International and the College of Europe, where Europe’s future leaders would live and study together.

In 1950, French foreign minister Robert Schuman laid out a proposal, known as the Schuman Declaration, designed to create common interests between European countries which would lead to gradual political integration.

“Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity. The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany,” Schuman wrote.

Within a year of the Schuman Declaration, on April 18, 1951, six founding members (France, West Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, Belgium and Netherlands) signed the Treaty of Paris creating Europe’s first supranational community – the European Coal and Steel Community.

Shortly thereafter, in 1958, the founding nations signed the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), effectively paving the way for the European Union (EU).

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Can enforced mandatory voting in a post-industrial United States increase political efficacy?

In Democratic Party, Elections, Electoral process, Republican Party, U.S Congress, U.S States, United States of America on June 3, 2016 at 9:49 am

vote

An outline of the problem

Political participation can assume various forms: protesting, voting and actively engaging in campaign activities, however in industrial democracies, more people vote than engage in a routine mass political behavior. A participatory culture creates an atmosphere where citizens depict a heightened enthusiasm for politics and take pride in the institutions and its roles in public life (Jackman 405). But interest in matters of state and policy framing is dependent on individual experience and relationship to the sociopolitical environment. Sociologist Andrew Perrin posits that we fabricate a “democratic imagination” from experiences in civic life along with other domains such as work, family, and neighborhood. This democratic imagination drives the motivation of getting involved in politics, how to do so and when to stay away (Perrin 2).

A relatively new trend in the American political system is emerging where public engagement with the policy framing process is on a steady decline towards a deep legitimacy crisis. In the 2014 U.S midterm election, a meager 36.4 percent of the eligible voting population showed up to the polls. According to the New York Times editorial board, this national election cycle marked a 70-year low in terms of voter turnout going back to 1942 when 33.9 percent of adults reportedly voted. The excuse in 1942 was reasonable as most young men eligible to vote were fighting in the Second World War (Montanaro et al).

The detrimental aspect of the 2014 midterms was the disproportionate outcome when viewed across the lines of race and ethnicity. According to the latest U.S census data: 75 percent of the population is Caucasian; 12.5 percent Hispanic or Latino (of any race); 12.3 percent African-American; 3.6 percent Asian. The United States has a tremendous mixture of ethnic groups with different expectations from government, however, the exit poll data from the last election shows a grim picture when it comes to representation from the above-listed communities. In the race for the U.S House of Representatives, 75 percent of the voters were white and the next significant number is 12 percent from the African-American community followed by eight percent of Hispanic voters (NBC news). Read the rest of this entry »