Knowledge is Power!

Image is from the cartoon Schoolhouse Rock with schoolhouse Rocky holding up the ! to keep it all from tumbling over.I have been struggling with something. Ever since the election started heating up, before election day, I was not talking about it with my students in class. Part of me knew I was avoiding it so we wouldn’t have an argument on our hands, since this is a topic that can easily spark one. But part of me knew that I should be bringing it up. I’m teaching about popular culture. The election and everything leading up to it falls into this. But I know I’m not great about keeping my emotions separate and my mouth sometimes runs without checking with my brain first. Especially when I’m nervous, which is usually when I’m teaching.

Today I may have come up with an answer for myself. I have always believed in the power of knowledge. That knowing the facts will allow you to be able to at least understand what is going on if not the people who disagree with you. That is what I am trying to do in my class. I am trying to teach my students about the role popular culture has in our lives, but also the facts so they can better understand the world in general. I’m thinking about how to say something about this in class on Monday. I want them to know that I’m not ignorant or ignoring what is happening. That my approach to dealing with everything going on is to be as well-informed as I can be, and making sure they are as well. I don’t get upset with someone who disagrees with me. I get upset with someone who is ignorant of all the facts and thinks they understand what is going on.

Knowledge is power, people. Knowledge is power!

Effect of Popular Culture: The West Wing

At this moment, there is a filibuster happening in the U.S. Senate. Click here to watch it while you do whatever. Thank you @Lin_Manuel for sharing the link! This filibuster is in response to the senseless violence that happened this Sunday morning in Orlando.

I’m writing this post for two reasons: to make people aware that this is happening and to watch it; to share how popular culture has impacted me in regards to this particular action in Congress.

I’ve done the first, now for the second.

My parents watched The West Wing. I watched The West Wing. I have watched the entire series multiple times. I have learned so much about government from this television series. When given the opportunity to give a presentation about a celebrity and their influence on politics and the government in my HS government class, I told my group we were going to focus on Martin Sheen.

But that’s beside the point. There was an episode, “The Stackhouse Filibuster”. When the current filibuster is over, go watch it. It does not simply show a filibuster as part of the plot, it explains the rules of a filibuster and how the person leading the filibuster can be aided by colleagues to keep it going.

Honestly, that is why I am watching and enjoying it right now. I’m seeing these things actually happen in our Senate. Right now. Colleagues are asking long, multi-part questions to allow the Senator a break to gather his thoughts. It is a beautiful piece of American government to watch. All thanks to a television show.

I just hope something good comes from this. Not simply knowledge, but legislation that will prevent or make it much harder for this to ever happen again. I can’t find it right now, but a friend posted something on Facebook that shows that stricter laws make things like this harder to happen. People point out that taking away the guns won’t stop this. No it won’t. But it will make it much harder. After Timothy McVeigh’s action, it became much harder to buy that much fertilizer and to park as close as he did to a government building. After 9/11 hijackers used box cutters to hijack airplanes, stricter restrictions on what passengers can bring onto planes, and airplanes and their crew changed to make it harder for hijackers to take over.

With that, I’m going to leave you with something that has gone viral, for good reason: