oday, there are various “stake holders,” people who have an

 

oday, there are various “stake holders,” people who have an interest, in our federal, state, and local governments.  This was not obviously the case before our 1787 Founders met at their Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  They thought of politics rather simplistically, seeing the need for only a legislature, executive, judiciary, and participation of the people to put the process of government in motion.  But, unlike our 1776 Founders, they were not sure that men, either individually or collectively, would act for the benefit of society as a whole.  To paraphrase James Madison, “if men were angels, there would be no need for government.”  Even though the media (newspapers) were an important part of the American Revolution, they did not see the press as an integral part of politics, as we understand it today.  Our founders also realized that farmers, merchants, artisans, lawyers, day laborers, and religious leaders played an important role in politics, but they were not perceived as what we today call “interest groups.”  They did not even formalize political parties,which they referred to as “factions,” in the original document that was the Constitution, but had to add that part of the document with the 12th Amendment. 

However today, we understand our political system to be a much more integrated and complex process, as our society and polity have become so.  It includes not only the formal institutions (Congress, President, and Judiciary) and the people, but also the media, which is now much more than merely newspapers, and the special interest groups, which represent the interests of various social, economic, political, religious, and cultural groups within the United States.  Today, the media (print, sound, and image as shown on television or computer) is seen as a vital and active part of politics, at times referred to as the fourth branch of government, and we understand that special interest groups are a critical part of politics, for we Americans to inform our elected or appointed officials of what we want, particularly in drafting any proposed legislation and lobbying members of the executive.

After reading your textbook for this week, and with the above information in mind, will you please respond to the following:

What do you do for a living?  What activities do you, your family members, and your friends and neighbors like to do?  What aspects of your social, economic, religious, or other cultural life are important to you?  In answering these questions, please tell me, what is an important vehicle of the media to you, and why it is important?  Further, what is a special interest group you might support—or do support already—and why?  These questions request a lot of information, but please provide specific examples as you respond to each one of them.

Your response to this initial post should be at least two or three paragraphs in length (at least five sentences per paragraph) and include specific examples to support your opinions. Once you have responded to this post, I will read your response.  At that time, I will either provide a follow-up post for your response or direct you to critique another students’ response.  Please wait for me to do this before you continue.

Your second response, or critique of another student, should be at least one to two paragraphs and do the following:  state what you agree with as to what is written; state what you might not agree with; and, add something else to the discussion.  It is expected that you will be on your best netiquette when you respond to either my of other student’s writing.

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