American Government

15 Year Anniversary Of “The Progressive Professor”! :)

Fifteen years ago on August 11, 2008, this author and blogger created this political and historical blog, “The Progressive Professor”!

A total of 7,862 entries have been published in these 15 years, and 22,922 comments!

I have enjoyed being committed to the discipline of this blog, and hope to continue it in future years, as long as I am able.

I want to thank my readers over these 15 years, and I hope that I have enlightened many readers and followers with my insights as a Professor of American History, Government, and Politics, and as the author of two books.

Thanks, everyone, for the attention you have given this blog over the years!

Back From Wonderful Vacation In London And Paris With My Older Son, And Ready To Resume Regular Commentary On American Politics, Government, And History

I am happy to announce that I have returned from a wonderful vacation in London and Paris with my older son, and am ready to resume regular commentary on American Politics, Government, and History.

I had never traveled overseas since my younger son was Bar Mitzvahed in 1996 in Israel, but my older son has done a lot of travel in Europe, some for work purposes, and also for vacations. He wanted to treat me to an all expenses paid trip to my two favorite European nations, the United Kingdom and France, to honor me for Fathers Day, and for his 40th birthday, with him being born on that day in 1979.

We saw all of the historic and cultural sites I had always wanted to visit, and it enriched my historical and cultural knowledge, and increased the bonding I have for my older son, but with equal feelings for my younger son as well. This was a trip of just the two of us, since we had not spent much time together over the past decade since he moved to the Washington DC area, and myself continuing to reside in South Florida.

I was totally out of touch for the two weeks in regards to the news, and only now am catching up on the events, including the danger of war with Iran; the resignation of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders; the threat to have mass deportation of undocumented immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the usual maniacal behavior and utterances of Donald Trump; and the preparations for the first Democratic Presidential debates in Miami this coming Wednesday and Thursday, June 26-27, with Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg not having the best fortune in this past week, and Elizabeth Warren seemingly surging for now, while others are hoping for a breakthrough as a result of these two nights of debates.

I plan to comment daily on those events and trends that seem worthy of the most attention, and I am glad to invite my readers to return to a daily interaction, although while visiting Washington DC in two weeks from now for tourism and family, it is possible I might miss a day or two as a result.

Thanks, everyone, for your patience, as I took the most wonderful and enriching trip imaginable in the past two weeks.

The Death Of Famed Political Scientist And Historian James MacGregor Burns At Age 95

Sad news has come, that famed political scientist and historian James MacGregor Burns, of Williams College, has passed away at the advanced age of 95.

A professor at Williams College for nearly a half century, and then at the University of Maryland, Burns was the author of some twenty books, as well as a famed textbook in the field of American government, which this author used in his classes over the years, in several different editions.

The first to write a study of his friend, Senator John F. Kennedy, as he was running for President, Burns became most noted for his three volume history of the United States; his two volume study of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1956 and 1970 (which had a profound effect on this author); a study of the three Roosevelts (Franklin, Eleanor, and Theodore); studies of Congress; and also analysis of the Supreme Court. He won the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for his second volume on FDR (The Soldier of Freedom) in 1971.

There are few scholars in political science and history who have had the massive effect on those fields that Burns had, so he will be missed, but also remembered for his tremendous contributions.

C Span Founder Brian Lamb Steps Down As Chief Executive Officer: His Great Accomplishments!

Anyone who is interested in American history, politics, and government cannot imagine living without C Span, the cable company founded in 1978 by Brian Lamb, who was its Chief Executive Officer from its inception, until the end of this month, when he will step down and become executive chairman of an indispensable cable channel.

It is hard to remember what it was like before C Span, which began as a channel to cover the US House of Representatives live, but developed further into a second channel which covered the US Senate live, and then a third channel which covered American History in all its manifestations, live and taped.

All kinds of special programs and events have been covered 24 hours a day on all three C Span channels, and have enriched knowledge of history, politics and government, making those who watch or look at C Span online much more educated and insightful about how our country works, and also examining the outside world of foreign affairs as well.

Brian Lamb has been a giant in cable development, and will be long appreciated as having made a great contribution to improving our understanding of the political world around us.

There is no more important and precious set of channels on cable than the three C Span stations, and it has come about at a very low cost, and in a manner non partisan, and objective and open minded!

All the best to the future of C Span under its new leaders, Rob Kennedy and Susan Swain!

No Time For Ignorance Or Narrow Mindedness In the Presidency Or Vice Presidency!

The candidacy of Sarah Palin for Vice President introduced the factor of total ignorance and lack of knowledge of the Alaska Governor in 2008.

We cannot afford another Sarah Palin running for either Vice President or President. We also cannot afford any candidate who would advocate or believe the following ideas:

Anyone who denies the significance of science; anyone who allows religion to be the dominant factor in his or her judgments; anyone who does not have a basic knowledge of our government and history; anyone who believes that it is fine to deny people the right to vote on flimsy grounds; anyone who promotes veiled racism and nativism; anyone who believes we should go back to the 18th century concept of the world; anyone who denies the dangers to the environment; anyone who advocates women going back to the 1950s and earlier; anyone who believes that hard won labor rights should be taken away; anyone who advocates keeping 50 million Americans from having basic health care; and anyone who believes that a college education should not be a goal to promote among young people–anyone who advocates or believes these eleven points—should not be allowed to become our President if we wish to look to the future, rather than go back to our checkered past!

The Republican War Against Science And History

The Republican Party has become a “KNOW NOTHING” party, encouraging the population to believe myth and fable as fact.

In the field of science, the Republicans deny climate change is going on, despite harsh environmental conditions, including floods, fires, and tornadoes, along with extremes of temperature at all points of the year.

They also deny evolution, and instead profess the concept that the earth is about 6,000 years old, and that mankind walked with dinosaurs, the concept of creationism or intelligent design, with most Republicans arguing that it should be taught alongside evolution, even though creationism is a religious belief with no evidence of being scientific.

At the same time, Republicans love to argue their own version of history and government, totally distorting the Founding Fathers, the Civil War, the history of American capitalism, the role of American religion, American foreign policy, and Ronald Reagan! It is literally embarrassing how often Republican Presidential candidates and congressional and state Republicans misread history, and show their total ignorance and prejudice toward women, African Americans, immigrants, and labor!

The Republicans are busy spreading a propaganda view of human knowledge, and in the process, undermining America’s greatness! Knowledge is supposed to be power, but to the GOP, knowledge is a enemy of their distorted agenda to mislead the American people!

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute And Civic Literacy Testing

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute is an organization which promotes civic literacy among the American people.

In a survey done in 2008, it was discovered that the average American taking a 33 question test scored 49 percent, and more shockingly, college educators only scored 55 percent! But those in public office scored lower than the average citizen, only 44 percent!

The test deals with American history, government, and economics, and it demonstrates how poorly our citizenry is knowledgeable about its own institutions and traditions.

79 percent of those in public office did not know that an official establishment of religion is banned in the Bill of Rights! 43 percent do not know the purpose of the Electoral College! 54 percent do not know that the power to declare war resides in the Congress! 27 percent cannot name one right or freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment! And 49 percent cannot name the three branches of government!

The author of this blog is proud to announce that he got a 90.91 percent result, 30 out of 33, matching his son David, on the exam, with both of us somewhat stumped by economics questions, but fortunately, only three of them!

By the way, IF such an exam was given to Rick Santorum, who this week condemned liberals for the poor knowledge of American history in America, it seems certain he might not even score the average of 49 percent of the typical American citizen who participated in the exam in 2008 or the average of 44 percent of officeholders. And it is clear that Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin would also fail miserably. Instead of them all blaming liberals, who have promoted an expansion of the American history curriculum to cover the history of minorities, women, and labor, from just the usual white male leaders of government and great business capitalists constantly idealized by conservatives, they might finally learn the truth and complete story of American history!

Americans Cannot Pass Citizenship Tests, But Are Critical Of Immigrants Who CAN Pass Citizenship Tests!

Many Americans are quick to be nativists, to believe that America should only be for Americans, meaning that we should not allow immigrants into our country, as they, supposedly, cannot be Americanized.

But while many Americans have these prejudiced, often racist, attitudes, many Americans cannot pass a basic citizenship test that immigrants MUST pass to become citizens!

Quick to judge others, these bigots are not informed enough about their own country, but seem to think it is perfectly alright to be ignorant, simply by the fact that they were born in this country!

Imagine if we were to say that if you do not know the history and government of the country in which you were born, that you should lose your citizenship rights, as a basic part of citizenship should be to have an intelligent understanding of the heritage and traditions of your homeland!

Before any citizen should be judging immigrants, better to look in the mirror and improve oneself! And doing so would also improve ability to vote intelligently and understand the issues that government must deal with every day, rather than simply being ignorant and apathetic, as if they are birthrights!

Newsweek and The Daily Beast polled 1,000 Americans on ten random questions from the 100 that make up the list of questions of the US Citizenship test given to immigrants applying for citizenship.

38 percent failed to gain even six correct out of the random ten questions!

29 percent could not name Joe Biden as Vice President of the United States!

73 percent did not understand the concept of the Cold War as a half century conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union!

44 percent did not know that the first ten amendments to the Constitution are the Bill of Rights, our basic civil liberties that very few nations possess!

Six percent did not know that July 4 is Independence Day, absolutely unbelievable!

The knowledge of international affairs is absolutely abysmal, but realize that many Republicans act as if the United States is so wonderful and special that it cannot learn anything from “old Europe” or any other parts of the world!

What causes this tragedy about lack of knowledge of the government and history of America? Among the crucial factors are a very inequitable and inadequate education system; and the extreme inequities of wealth, with the top 400 households having more money than the bottom 60 percent combined!

We have a small percentage of Americans who are very tuned in and understand government and history, while a very large number of Americans have no clue at all! This is a danger to American democracy, as education enlightens us, and ignorance breeds further ignorance!