American Elephants


The Attention Is All on Iowa. It Begins. by The Elephant's Child

IowaWinter

Soon the returns from the Iowa Caucuses will be coming in. As someone online remarked today —”the results of the Iowa Caucuses don’t determine the result of the election —  just ask President Santorum.”

It’s a strange year. I forget that there are reporters from all over the world following the candidates and the campaign, not just our own journalists. I was really excited about the campaign at the beginning with such an outstanding bench of Republicans — Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal who had all been such successful governors. Uh huh. Apparently the media didn’t like successful governors.

I’m increasingly convinced that the media plays far too large a role in our primary campaigns as do probably meaningless polls when most Americans are just beginning to find out who the candidates are. I’m a political junkie, always have been, but I recognize that most people don’t pay much attention until it’s time for an election. I understand that. You come home tired from work, and want nothing so much as to just relax with something good on TV.

In the Saturday Essay at The Wall Street Journal, John O’Sullivan pointed out “two long-term shocks to the American political system, both gradually coming to a boil in recent decades, and in one short-term shock, which has turned up the gas on them to produce today’s bubbling over.”

The first was the end of the Cold War. But didn’t that happen in 1989? Yes, it did, and it began to loosen the discipline that had kept political parties world-wide either anti-Soviet or “peace-minded,” as their primary orientation. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, they have been released to follow their other instincts.

Mr. O’Sullivan suggests that “behind the two-party curtain, America’s social classes have been changing places in politics. Highly educated and very rich people used to lean Republican, they now increasingly vote for Democrats. Working class Americans no longer feel well represented by the Democrats…and have shifted sharply to the GOP.”

I certainly had not thought in those terms, but it seems possible. We have a big chunk of mega rich here — Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Costco, and they are certainly reliable Democrats. I would suggest that the mega rich have done quite well under the Obama regime, but the working class clearly have suffered.  Everybody I know complains about having lost some of their favorite small businesses, and everyone knows someone who has been laid off.

You have probably seen the results: High turnout. Ted Cruz won significantly with 28 percent. Trump, second at 24 percent with Marco Rubio, a very close 23 percent. Martin O’Malley on the Democrat side and Mike Huckabee have suspended their campaigns. Hillary and Bernie Sanders are essentially tied, in a dead heat. A setback for Hillary, who is not qualified to run.  Technically there are 30 Republican delegates and 44 Democratic delegates. (I don’t know!) Ben Carson placed 4th and Rand Paul 5th.

Also pertinent is an article from the Washington Examiner: Confronting the hard truths of America’s civic illiteracy

Recently, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) released a major report: “The Crisis in Civic Education.” ACTA’s curricular survey of over 1,100 colleges and universities shows that only 18 percent of them require students to take a course in U.S. history or government. In secondary education, the results are equally dismal. In 2014, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed through their civics test that one in four high-school seniors did not have “proficient” civic knowledge. Moreover, over one-third of 12th-grade students did not have “basic” knowledge of American civics. The NAEP governing board has since shot the messenger that brings such bad news by eliminating the high school civics test.

To spell it out, fewer “than 20 percent of American college graduates knew what the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation were; nearly half could not identify the correct term lengths of Congress; and almost 10 percent thought…”Judge Judy” served on the Supreme Court.” Apparently the Millennials are very enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders, but have no clue what socialism is. Perhaps it’s the offer of tuition -free college (not going to happen). Bernie is even more unfamiliar with economics than the Millennials. Do read the whole thing.



Affirmative Action Was Meant Well, But They Didn’t Think It Through. by The Elephant's Child


In searching for answers to the racial angst of black students on their campuses, some universities are turning to — segregation. The University of Connecticut is constructing a living space (dorm) meant specifically for African American males. SCHOLA2RS, an awkward acronym for “SCholastic House of Leaders who are African American Researchers and Scholars”.

Dr. Eric Hines, an assistant professor of educational psychology will serve as faculty advisor to the around 40 students involved with the house.

Dr. Hines claims that SCHOLA2RS House is “a space for African American men to one, come together and validate their experiences that they may have on campus.” Hines further elaborates that the new dorm would also serve as “a space where they can have conversation and also talk with individuals who come from the same background who share the same experience.”

It seems a little awkward for even a psychology professor to suggest that because students are black they “come from the same background and share the same experience.”

There is a program for Women in Math, Science and Engineering, and it is a good way for students with similar interests to be grouped with those who share the same interests.

Commenters asked where the living space was for Caucasian students? SCHOLA2RS is apparently the only dorm segregated by race and gender. It is meant well and while the graduation rate for all students in 2012 was 82.5 percent, for African American males that year it was 54 percent. The school is trying to help, but stuck with numbers of black students who must be admitted to have the right (quota — bad word) diversity. Is segregating on the basis of race and gender more meaningful than say segregating on the basis of interest: Jocks vs. hopeful computer science geeks, or biology students with PE majors?

Most of the racial incidents in other colleges that provoked major protests turned out to be hoaxes, made-up, or just plain false. It is true that at many schools, black students often self-segregate for lunch tables or other occasions. Some have been protests about a statue of a Founder who owned slaves, or a building named for a benefactor who was known to have owned slaves a couple of hundred years ago. That’s when you know the protest is a phony one.

Stirring up feelings of discrimination for political purposes seems like a particularly dirty trick on everybody. But the Left isn’t playing tricks, and it’s not a game. They are at war and the goal is to’ fundamentally transform’ the United States of America to something better where they are more completely in charge. The Republicans assume that Democrats just have different policy preferences, and they are being difficult.

ADDENDUM: The original story about the  University of Connecticut was misleading. The “segregation” of African American males by race and gender is not a separate dorm, but merely a section on one floor of a large dorm. The intent is to help students share their efforts to succeed and to feel more comfortable with others who share their problems. I think my post was misleading, and I apologize.

I believe human beings are tribal by nature. The Middle East is aflame because of the extreme tribal nature of the area. Europe is tribal as nations share a language, traditions and a history, and do not assimilate newcomers easily. Some of the ‘refugees’ coming to Europe find assimilation far more difficult than they expected — nothing is what they expected, they don’t like the accommodations, they don’t like the food, and some just want to go back home.

In America we create our own tribes. I am in touch with some of the kids I grew up with. I’m in touch with a large number of my college friends, I have a collection of former neighbors few of whom know each other. People join clubs, civic organizations, churches. Black students are observed to seek out other black students, and within the voluntary grouping of black students they will find their own tribes of jocks and science majors or kids from their own hometown. It is a worthwhile experiment and hopefully will succeed.




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