Monday, December 19, 2011

A Country Designed by Charter

A bit of holiday reading and writing:

UPDATED 2.Jan.12

One of the tenets (some say conceits) of our democracy is that our freedoms are outlined in documents and charters, as opposed to heritage, privilege, or at the end of a gun.

This website demonstrates and explains the origins of these documents. The link sends you to a page called "From Loyal Subjects to Traitorous Rebels." Near the bottom is an image of 1776 Americans pulling down the statue of King George III. Click on it to learn a bit more. Next, click here and watch a short video from early in the Iraq War. Read this brief LA Times article about the latter image.

For Tuesday:

read this longer article from the NYer that outlines the power of mass media to emblazon an image on the minds of its audience. After reading this article comment below on the images' purposes and power.

For Wednesday:

click on the square buttons at the top(ish) of the "Charters of Freedom" page from left to right. The information is concise, factual and well written. When you get to the Declaration of Independence, read it and make a three paragraph comment below about a few things that surprise or interest you about either the Declaration itself or list of harms done by the King. Comment on and/or argue others' work as well.


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  2. I think that both images stand for freedom and to assure their public unity. The statue was brought down in Iraq to appease the masses. When they pulled the statue down the act of symbols crashing down created a mass euphoria not only in Iraq but also in America and the rest of the free world. It was a gesture done on the behalf of all of the victims bonding them against a common enemy.

  3. The talk of symbols kind of reminds me of college applications. Although everything reminds me of college applications so this might be a stretch but- there are websites that you can check for each college which have check marks or xes when the college has received your application. Even after I knew I had submitted my application, I was not satisfied until I saw that red x change to a green check. I just felt better actually seeing that admissions had received it. It also reminds me of the Ronald Reagan thing- where what he was doing was more important than what he was saying.

    I think this kind of goes along with "seeing is believing," humans like to see evidence. The United States taking over Baghdad was a major accomplishment, and it was added to by the symbol of the toppling of the statue. It was made more "real" to United States and Iraq citizens that progress was being made. In this case, it was meant to symbolize not only progress, but also a nearing end to the war. This ended up being false, however I think the message was still an important one, whether somewhat staged or not. The pulling down of the statue was more significant and assuring than the president making a speech about it. Again, it was a visual evidence that humans sometimes need in order to feel okay, or truly believe what is going on regardless if it is actually true.

  4. The power of this image is in that it symbolizes the end of an era. For decades, Iraq had suffered under the reign of a tyrant, and the toppling of the statue stands for the fall of the tyrant, and the freedom of the Iraqi citizens.

  5. I like that happiness is something that is included in the Declaration of Independence. I also appreciate that it says if the government becomes destructive of happiness and safety the people have the right to alter or abolish the government. If the majority of the population are unhappy then perhaps the government isn't working. This makes me think of the problems that many people have with congress, maybe some changes need to be made to create a better functioning congress and therefore make a happier population.

    The comment about King George III making judges dependent on his Will interested me. It appears that if the judges weren't making decisions he agreed with he would fire them or lower their salaries. This would make them less likely to have fair trials and more likely to unfair, biased trials.

    Finally, King George III holding mock trials and protecting his soldiers even after they had committed murders. This surprised me and is probably related to the comment above. It makes me remember why fair trials are important and critical to good government.

  6. The organization of the Declaration of Independence is impressive. It’s like a well written paper in that it has a thesis followed by a body and a conclusion. The articles represent specific sections on different topics and inside the articles are paragraphs. This makes it easier to find information.

    It is also very important that they listed the unreasonable demands that the king stated. This helps the colonists by providing evidence about the unfair situation to their audience. I think that (“He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures”) is the most unreasonable demand by the king. The colonist were wanting to get along; maybe if he listened to them there may have not been a revolution.

    The last thing is that one person from every colony signed it. This is a metaphor for unity. It showed England that the colonies were strong and together. It was almost like a way of saying don’t mess with us.