Questions of Civic Proportions
He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator."
—Francis Bacon, English philosopher
(share your answers in our Learning Studio)
What happens when policy defeats fail to write the end of the story?
Some problems persist through even the most severe policy defeats. You might have thought unions were dead, but one group of Instagrammers has decided to organize
with the rally cry, “Memers of the world unite!” There’s a future for unionizing in the new economy and its “mediated work” where platforms hold all the cards even though creators bring the profit. The Trump administration has dealt some heavy blows to climate science but hasn’t convinced anyone else to abandon the shared concerns of a future swallowed by plastic waste. Check out this article announcing Canada’s plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021
, and you will find a whole list of additional countries and American states who have decided to stick with the science and do their part.
Just in case you thought the fight for Equal Pay had stalled out, know that the U.S. Women’s Soccer team is fighting to win
a round on that issue too. They’ve filed suit.
What happens when an unexpected turn flips the script we all thought we knew?
A Twitter challenge has sprouted bipartisan legislation banning members of Congress from lobbying after they leave. Ted Cruz and Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez found common ground through a tweet exchange
and now their teams have joined forces to propose legislation to ban lobbying and make access to birth control an over-the-counter proposition. Both teams have expressed a willingness to work with anyone of any party when it leads to “good policy.”
For another U.S. Representative, unconventional behavior has led to an entirely conventional conclusion. You’ve heard that Rep. Justin Amash read the Mueller report, concluded that it described impeachable offenses and has now had to leave the House Freedom Caucus. Amash’s personal story aside, that organization once celebrated their independence and willingness to vote against the party. Amash’s story shows how little support is left for strategies like that
Also, check out this long read from Esquire: An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That’s Exactly What the U.S. is Running at the Border
. A thread of tweets from Andrea Pitzer (she’s the expert mentioned) inspired the article that brings in additional expert voices to show how the immigrant detention centers fit too comfortably within the broader context of U.S. History. The call to refer to these detention centers concentration camps comes as an Oklahoma Army base
that formerly served as an internment camp for Japanese families and a boarding school for Native American children prepares to serve as “temporary housing for immigrant children crossing the border without their parents.”
What happens when unconventional voices take the stage to show us who we are?
A new approach to civic learning started with a Broadway production that asks what to do with the U.S. Constitution. Art supporters have pointed to the success of Heidi Schreck’s (mostly) one-woman show, “What the Constitution Means to Me,” as proof that less conventional voices can find a stage today. That development has also taken the concerns of civic education to unusual places. Two teenagers who take turns debating Schreck at the end of the show talked to Teen Vogue about their off-stage opinions
on the future of the founding document. New York City announced its new Civics and Arts Fund
. The fund launched with $25,000 in seed funding and a mission:
“Creative expression has a unique power to spark meaningful dialogue. We look forward to introducing our city’s future activists, elected officials, and voters to how cultural creators help us understand social and governmental issues, opening their eyes to the opportunities civic engagement provides to shape the world we live in.”
—Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl