Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Contemporary Consumer Item

Whilst looking through commercials for American consumer items, one that particularly stood out for me was a Ford commercial. As Ford is one of America's largest based automaker, I thought it would be intriguing to analyse the "F-150 Way Of Life" commercial.

First and foremost, the commercial is narrated Denis Leary, who speaks confidently and uses slang words such as “ain't”. He sounds aggressive, almost like he is ranting. As he speaks, the words crash into each other, moving quickly in and out of the scene.
The most pivotal statement starts at the beginning when he says:
 OK. Odds are if you’re one of the people in America with a pickup truck, it ain’t a luxury, it’s a way of life. And chances are you’re not making money pushing a pencil, or hand modeling. You’re actually working for every dollar and need your truck.”
This is implying emasculation for workers in America and to become masculine they need this truck.

http://suite101.com/article/gender-constructions-ford-f150-commercial-a167137

This article provided me with a proficient insight into what the advert stands for in relation to the values of America. Most specifically, the article identifies the notion of "American Superiority" holding a fundamental impact among American values that is underpinned with strength, power, and adventurousness.
Moreover, the article indeed states these characteristics are historically American values and synthesise with masculinity. Thus, this commercial excels at expressing American values through a consumer item that is significant in America.

Lastly, when the commercial says "well, the eagle has landed." Its worth noting that the article reveals the commercial is utilising a homage to Neil Armstrong’s famous quote upon landing Apollo 11 on the moon, a very formidable and patriotic moment in American history.
To this end, the Ford F-150 commercial is an important consumer item to ponder when considering the values it claims to hold as American.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

The American Dream


“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress” President Obama

The quote by President Obama is an effective example of how the idea of the American Dream is still presented today. Many ideas and aspects involving the idea of the American Dream, feature in presidential speeches and speeches made by other inspirational speakers.  The American Dream is also a belief which is also shared by many of the citizens in America today, and has been a belief which has stayed strong since the eighteenth and nineteenth century. However like during the eighteenth and nineteenth century there are also many people who are skeptical of the idea of the American Dream and merely see it as a myth or even a lie!

The quote depicts many ideas which create the overall idea of the American Dream, the idea that if you work and try hard you shall be successful in the long run. The idea of the American Dream is also represented in the novel Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger, in a number of different ways. The vision that if Dick, works hard and puts time and effort into succeeding then, he shall be successful in the long run. Dick’s, success is emphasized by the comparison to his friend Johnny’s lack of success, Johnny also shows little examples of the concept of the American Dream in his life. The character Dick made progress through his strives to succeed and be successful, continuous hard effort and determination but also honesty. All of these help to create the impression of the American Dream.

Obama supports Algers presentation of the American Dream in a number of different ways, through the reference to the path being presented as a path to success and to the overall goal and achievement that is the American Dream, much like Dick’s overall goal and aim in life. The words which present most powerful to me in the quote are “Keep walking” implying that the journey to achieving the American Dream can be long and hard work an effort is needed in order to achieve it. Much like the events which are presented in the novel Ragged Dick, Dick has to overcome certain obstacles but after hard work and determination he is eventually successful. Dick’s transformation reflects on the idea that the American Dream becomes a part of one’s life. Both the quote from Obama and aspects from the novel Ragged Dick show examples of how the American Dream is seen as a goal or and aim, but it take time and determination to achieve it. 

The American Dream

The American Dream is a notion of early American history that nationally represents prosperity and success. To achieve the American Dream you would have had created something from nothing regardless of your background. In a more contemporary view the American Dream is hard to pin point and to describe. It was difficult to find an article or some evidence that backs the idea of the modern American Dream in a positive manner. I found an article on Forbes that explains the complexity of the American Dream and how now in a modern context not many people would experience it.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/09/03/why-most-people-will-never-achieve-the-american-dream/

'The American Dream of the past inspired hope and optimism. When you you could believe that anything was possible, it became easier to dream. While I wholeheartedly encourage people to continue dreaming (and dream big), you must be aware that the infrastructure and resources of that past are either gone, much more difficult to access, or in the process of being recreated'

The statement that I found neither dismisses the American Dream or really stands in favour of it. It leans more to the idea that the American Dream is still alive and well but has been reformed to fit a modern day context. The world of politics and corruption has twisted and moulded what used to be such a dream of 'ease' and now is something that has to be worked for on a new level of commitment. When you look back on the foundation of the American Dream you see that people could prosper and achieve from owning a plot of land and creating a business from it. In the 21st century you have to contend with millions to achieve to the likes of Richard Branson whom of which is regard as a 'modernised' personality who has achieved the American Dream. The article goes onto explain how it's not only a visualisation of what you want to achieve but you have also got to have the right credentials, attitude and responsibilities to have a chance, which really criticises the notion of the original American Dream and being able to achieve it.

When you put this into comparison with Ragged Dick you see that Dick was a very fortunate young boy, despite not achieving what he wanted entirely he still made it from the streets of New York to becoming a man in a suit with a job. The core of the ideas are still there, the idea of wanting to achieve, not necessarily to become rich but to become 'something'. However the ease in which became apparent in the 1800's that it was literally 'Rags to Riches' has become pretty null and void in a modernised context. The idea that Dick was a boot-black and after a period of just over 9 months in the book was able to achieve what he did seems so obtuse nowadays, however he appeared to be 'too' lucky in the people he met embraced him with open arms, but you could see this as a product of his personality.

In society today it would be regarded as improbable for someone who is homeless and working on the streets to be fortunate enough to relive the notion of 'Rags to Riches', especially with a corrupt government and an economy that is teetering in and out of control. Many say that the belief is there and if you work hard enough you can achieve it, but how hard do you have to work and will all the hard work pay off?

A Contemporary Statement Doubting the American Dream.


 "Americans now widely believe that merit, hard work and determination are not enough to get ahead. There is a pessimism that says the Dream will not be there for the next generation. The Dream has been hi-jacked."

 "54% of the public believes that it is impossible for most people in the U.S. to achieve the American dream"

In 1993 Bill Clinton proclaimed 'The American dream that we were all raised on is a simple but powerful one – if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be given a chance to go as far as your God-given ability will take you.' However, in 2008 newly appointed President, Barack Obama says 'Many of the American people believe the American dream is slipping away.'  The situation that America find its self in economically gives a clear indication that the American dream is falling apart, and Americans themselves are beginning or already doubting that the American dream is even achievable.

 Referring to the first statement, it is clear the the American dream in America's current situation is disappearing, that the public are losing faith in a dream that they have held so dear for generations. Even more apparent the idea that the American dream is becoming less and less relevant throughout the generations means that soon it will no longer exist. The problem with having one particular 'dream' that you try and apply to every American and every society is that it does not take into account the influencing factors. America today is in the midst of a recession, the idea of becoming a home owner for many Americans is unachievable, paying for medical care, getting an education, achieving a high paying job, all things that are reliant on the economy. Therefore it is easy to see how the 'dream' can be lost; today's generation will move away from the current 'dream' because its unachievable in the current economic climate...another dream is then formed...which is then passed onto the next generation...and so on until this dream is unachievable. The American dream is never the same for long, therefore it is easy to see how the original American dream is being doubted in 2012, and arguably the original American dream is dead, replaced by a new, relevant and achievable dream. 

Applying this to 'Ragged Dick,' who epitomised the original American dream, is practically impossible. The novel today seems like a fairy tale; the society that 'Ragged Dick' triumphs in does not exist. Ragged Dick achieves what he achieves through charisma, luck, and wit...these are things that will get you no where in America society today. 'Ragged Dick' in a way patronises society today, presenting an America that no longer exists, no longer can be achieved. A handful of Americans will achieve the American dream, through luck and wit, they will be the 'Ragged Dick's of the 21st Century, however the majority will not. 'Ragged Dick' cannot even be applied to today's society due to the ever changing dream; the dream that 'Dick' is able to achieve within the novel is not the same as American's are striving to achieve today. The fairy tale of a boy going from 'rags to riches' literally is a fairy tale. There will never be an American dream that can be applied to every American from every generation, there will only ever be an American dream relevant to the time, an American dream that will quickly disappear, quickly change, and once again become unachievable for many Americans.

A Contemporary Statement Doubting The American Dream

 
In the above video, Obama states that the 'American Dream' is; 'shared in big cities and small towns, across races, regions and religions.  That if you work hard, and can support a family; if you get sick, there will be healthcare you can afford.  That you can retire with the dignity and respect that you've earnt.  Your children can get a good education, and young people can go to college, even if they dont come from a wealthy family'.  Here Obama explains that he feels the American Dream is still alive because people are willing to work to support themselves and their family, and that this is still rife in today's American culture.

However, this can be argued on many different levels.  How is the American Dream doubted? Examples like couples buying their first property is seen as one of the many steps people take in their life when they want to succeed.  Due to the economic state of the country, although still very wealthy, many citizens struggle to do such an act.  This is because of the 'real estate collapse' which hasn't been this bad since the depression in the 30's.  This could perhaps suggest that the essence of the American Dream can potentially be doubted as the aspirations for people that want to succeed could be dented, due to economic issues and such.

http://www.wbur.org/2010/03/30/depreciating-dream-ii
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-25/housing-declared-bottoming-in-u-s-.html

A proclamation which suggests that the American Dream is in jeopardy, is 'hard work alone is sometimes not enough to become financially successful in America' which is opposite to what the mythical dream really stands for.  Most people would associate the dream with connotations of been able to support themselves, their family, being financially stable and able to exert their wealth in manners such as property.  This statement above is quoted in the American paper; 'The State' which is based in South Carolina, in which the paper references the 'Winthrop University Poll'.  The statement also refers to the 54% that agree with this, which is just more than half.  This shows how a lot of citizens are struggling at this moment to support themselves, not even their families, which surely implies that the American Dream is failing?

http://www.thestate.com/2012/04/29/2254890/majority-in-sc-doubt-american.html

The American Dream can be related to 'Ragged Dick', who almost lives the dream by succeeding in life, as he started out as a 'boot-black' and in the end, managed to get a good job and educate himself.  Although in the novel, this is mainly due to the luck he has by meeting wealthier gentleman who want to help Dick and also because of his own kindness, it still suggested to the younger generation that this dream is attainable if you work at it.

However, this questions the relativety of this work, as today, the 'rags to riches' concept could still work, although it is a different era, with different laws and opportunities available.  For example, children have to go school and they aren't able to work, in which in 'Ragged Dick' both examples wouldn't be in effect. 

 This picture suggests how many people could have a lack of faith in the concept of the American Dream.  In which the result of the concept is now unattainable; in todays economic climate and everyday struggles in today's society, it could now be seen as a mythical perception of American culture.




Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2012/04/29/2254890/majority-in-sc-doubt-american.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Contemporary Statement doubting the American Dream

After researching the Phrase 'The contemporary American Dream' I came across an on-line article with this statement which says the following; 

"What is startling is that these bright, ambitious youngsters just don't believe that talent and hard work are enough to ensure they will ever have a shot at that mythical American Dream." 

The statement here is very much doubting the American Dream, believing that in today's society, Youths have lost belief in the dream and think that 'something more' is needed to achieve this. Because the youngsters believe that they will not achieve the dream. many do not try hard or work hard as they have no trust in the so called 'dream' becoming true.   
The fact that the word 'mythical' was used in front of American Dream possibly shows that the Phrase is now the past, it's history and would be questioning whether it's still occurring in the current America. 

Applying this to Ragged Dick, Where the 14 year old Dick wanted to become more than a 'black boot' still applies today.


" Isabel wanted more than the dream -The Dream is to work, to have a home, to get ahead, you can start as a janitor and become the owner of the building."
The statement here can apply to the notion of what Ragged Dick supplies to the audience the belief in going from 'rags to riches' Many Americans still believing that America shall supply them a perfect life, believing they would go from nobody to somebody although as like Dick, the dream can happen for some but not all. The notion can be argued in today's contemporary society that it does not indeed exist for most as many American's are working multiple low paid jobs to make sure that there family are living a comfortable life. 
"the multiple, low paid jobs that their parents must do simply to get the rent paid and put food on the table.
Here it shows that the ideologies that is set out in Ragged Dick are somewhat changed today's society. Not everyone are able to achieve the dream and however hard individuals are working many are still in Alger's words 'Ragged' than achieving rich.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Contemporary Statement Doubting the American Dream

When looking for a statement in regard to "the American Dream" I came across a website that was doubting "the American Dream" in today's society.

"Although the thought of the American dream inspires and encourages growth, it has become unrealistic and unachievable. The saddest part is that many Americans believe that that this ridiculous goal can be achieved."

This statement is overtly doubting "the American Dream" and completely dismissing the claim that it cannot be achieved. As harsh as the latter part of the statement may sound, this article is demonstrating how the possibility of achieving desired goals is scarce in America at this existing time. Moreover, the article goes on to discuss that in early America, "the American Dream" meant having a plot of land, having enough money to live comfortably, and having a job that would provide enough money to clothe and feed the family. Then goes on to say, most specifically, that nowadays "the American Dream" has turned into greedy materialism.

To apply Ragged Dick the article addresses that Americans still believe in the notion of "rags to riches."

"This phrase might have applied in earlier times when "riches" were seen as a place to live and enough money to support the family, but modern day "riches" are now nearly impossible to reach."

This statement is further establishing the articles argument by saying stories like Ragged Dick are presented as being true in the sense of how it was in the 19th Century, however, this doesn't bear much relevance in the present day.
To this end, one can make the assertion, in sense, that the ideas presented in America today don't match the ideas presented in Ragged Dick because of the concept of "rags to riches" fundamentally carrying different meanings to how it formally was. On the other hand, a contrast can be made as the article points out that "the American Dream" can be split into "the American Dream" itself and "the American Goal." 

"The American goal is a reasonable goal for many families of varied social and economic classes. My definition of the American goal is a safe home, a job that supports the family, enough money to pay the bills, etc. The American Goal allows families to live comfortably without being too materialistic or greedy."

This last point made in the article is pivotal as, simultaneously, the position of the writer changes by pointing out a notion in America that is more than likely to be achieved. Most importantly, the quote relates to what Horatio Alger Jr. states as being in the "Riches" which could argue these ideas presented today do match those considered in Ragged Dick.

http://criticsandbuilders.typepad.com/amlitblog/2010/03/the-modern-idea-of-the-american-dream.html


Monday, November 19, 2012

Gun Control





I have found two separate websites that promote both for and against arguments for gun control in America. This particular policy is something that is heavily debated throughout the country because of the strong beliefs in being able to have a firearm and those who are against firearms and want to reduce gun violence and create different ways to reduce Americans from using guns.

The first website I found is pro gun control and that is the CSGV (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence). Their website is clearly laid out with a lot of social networking keyed into its front page. Their aim is to basically stop gun violence all together through 'research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy'. As the site is a campaigning site it gives you a lot of emotive description and statistics to help you buy into to believing that guns are a bad idea in the wrong hands. I personally believe that guns should be illegal everywhere, however making things illegal then increases the 'want' for them, which results in an increase in crime. Again, the site is very up to date with advertising it's policies and what they do. They have all of the big social networking feeds on their site to give instant sharing access to people around the world, as well as signing up for emailing lists etc. The CSGV gives great detail into their policies and how they believe they could help to get around gun crime and reduce it overally. One of the policies that I liked the look of was to have all bullets stamped with a micro-stamp to help identify the perpetrators of using guns in a harmful and unjust way. When you look at it, it basically looks like a modern day campaigning website but with a different focus, in which this time is guns.

The second website is an anti gun control website which is highly in favour of gun ownership and the belief that Americans should be able to bear arms due to the second amendment. This website similarly to the first one gives a really high level of information to help back up their thoughts and beliefs as to why they are against gun control and how they justify how having a gun helps them in their day to day lives. Their aim is to defend the second amendment and to persist in keeping guns as a part of daily life in America. They have fought to put extra guns on planes and to help lift bans on firearms in a huge variety of different contexts. The website itself is pretty boring and I couldn't find any solid history about the organisation, which then didn't help me in actually wanting to read into the website. Their statement is pretty clear from what you read in what they do in that they appear old fashioned and by the book. They believe that as Gun Owners they deserve the right to be able to bear arms and to have a gun for their own personal use to protect themselves if needed.

To me the debate is pretty ridiculous. I believe that if guns are legal that yes, people should be allowed to have guns to protect themselves and their families if needed. But then the issue of people that use their firearms on others in inhumane ways, which is probably the biggest problem to have to deal with. Many gun owners don't believe that the idea of a firearm is the problem for such crimes but the individual themselves. I think that is a fair statement, but I would say that if a firearm is so easily obtained, would that person have used their firearm against the law or not?


This a video of Rapper Ice T explaining on BBC News that he believes that people being allowed to own guns isn't directly consequential for mass killings such as the recent shooting in Denver. Ice T is obviously a person who supports the idea of firearms and being able to carry one, however I think his argument is invalid in that yes, people do use explosives to kill others; but having a gun legally in your possession is a ridiculously easy way to kill people if you needed to. If someone was to buy all of the ingredients in a store to make homemade explosives they would get a look of suspicion, however if you went to a gun store, bought a gun and some ammunition this would be as common as buying a loaf of bread or some milk.



Here is a really interesting debate from Piers Morgans show with Ted Nugent who is a famous musician. He is an extreme Republican and is heavily supportive of guns and is known as a redneck and a keen hunter. He is very patriotic hence his very well researched argument into gun law and the second amendment. The video shows an interest perspective coming from someone who is very supportive of having guns and someone who is rather in the middle and sees guns ultimately as a bad thing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gun Control In America

Gun Control In America


The picture above shows people protesting at the Supreme Court in Washington to increase the amount of guns in the US.  They are awaiting the Courts decision on the DC handgun after a ban on June 6th, 2008. The Court had a 5-4 ruling in favour of the guns, affirming an individual right to their own firearms. Other pro-firearms have also bills have been subjected in many states in the last four years, including; Virginia, whose General Assembly approved a bill to allow people to carry firearms into a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol and Arizona and Wyoming are considering the right to let people carry handguns without a permit.  Furthermore, states Tennessee and Montana passed legislation in 2009 to exempt their states from the federal regulation of guns and ammuntion made, when sold and used in the state, according to the Times. (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/02/24/US-states-ease-gun-laws/UPI-75251267016743/ )
http://home.nra.org/#/nraorg

 On the NRA's website (The National Rifle Association), their trailer for the year is composed of two men that have served in the U.S. Army, who have now found freedom in truly becoming an American.  Although the video shows clips of the men using gun's and at the end of the video there is advertisement on the freedom of guns, the video doesn't actually mention firearms.  It consists of the men talking about the freedom of being an American, which can be correlated to their petition for less regulations on guns.  It is meant to persuade people that the point of having freedom as an American is to also have the right to bear arms.


The video on YouTube above is Pro-Gun advert from the Patriot Resistance, which is transcripted from the perspective of a criminal, which adresses the viewer of being in danger without a gun to defend themselves.
http://www.patriotactionnetwork.com/ This is the official website for the Patriot Resistance/ Action which claims to be 'one of the nation’s largest conservative social action networks, serving hundreds of thousands of citizens every month. We are united by our passion for re-establishing Constitution-based liberty'.  The network and the group intend to persuade people on different issues, for example; gun ownership.  They believe that every American should have the freedom to be who they like and own what they like, in assistance with their views.
This picture is from a pro-gun blog, and suggests that without the protection of guns, you are unable to defend yourself from armed criminals.  This however, disincludes the fact that most murders happen in the home, which includes relatives murdering someone in their family.  Nonetheless, the image shows they feel in a sense that they believe the right to bear arms is the only way to protect innocent civilians from being injured or killed due to another gunman.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjELsNV8omk  This link shows how Obama is attempting to ratify an anti-gun treaty, which means that all firearms should be regulated.  The video shows discussion between senators, clips of Obama's speech and people's views.  This shows how divided America is on this issue, seperated by states, delagates, Senators and citizens.  For example, the Senator of Wyoming is very pro-gun and has said he will do anything to 'stop Obama' having this Bill ratified.
However, other campaigns against gun-control, like the Brady Campaign, who proposes that 'we should make it harder for convicted felons, the dangerously mentally ill, and others like them to get guns in the first place'.  They want to do this by 'We can do this by passing laws such as requiring Brady criminal background checks on all gun sales; banning military-style assault weapons; and strengthening law enforcement’s efforts to stop the illegal gun market, like limiting the number of guns that can be bought at one time'.  The campaign attempts to persuade people using the crimes that have been committed, for example, they use tragic events like the 'Wisconsin Spa Tragedy', where 3 women were murdered at the Azanza Spa and Salon in Brookfield.  The campaign compare the fact that a background check on guns takes precisely 40 seconds to do, in which those 40 seconds could have saved the victims.
 
 
This picture was used for the charity 'Trident' which opposes gun ownership in the USA.  The image was meant to shock due to the information given on the label, and to express to people in the US that this is who the guns affect, because it's the innocent people that get hurt. Their opinion is to show that although some citizens have used their gun in self defence or in defence of their home or family, innocent people like children have been murdered due to gun regulations allowing certain people to own firearms.
This picture is from an anti-gun website, which also provides statistics on the facts if you own a gun, etc.
The stats show how owning a gun can even exmplify your chances of being murdered by a gun or your children getting killed because the fact is that most murders occur at home, and if you own a gun, it could more than likely be a source for that.
 
 

Comparison of Anti- gun and Pro- gun Control Websites

Gun control has been under debate for many of years, whether legislations should be bought in to control the problems it has with gun violence in the country and control the amount of fire arms one owns. Here is two comparative websites which show for and against the use of guns and which seems more convincing to me. 

Pro- gun control




http://www.opencarry.org/

The opencarry.org website is a site that supports in favour of owning a gun in America. What I first found on this website, which I found interesting to see was the photograph, which is pictured here, it supports the fact that owning a gun is a good idea, the fact that it shows a family owning a gun and other types of individuals handling guns, smiling and looking proud because of it. The website then explains gun rights in each state to make sure that people know  their rights with guns and they also explain loopholes for people to show them how to get or own guns without breaking the law.  The site is also used for blog/ forum purposes where people discuss their experiences with guns and discuss what guns they may have.  Even creating friendship circles and even events because of the fact that they own guns. So this site is not promoting the fact that guns are good to protect yourself but because of the fact guns can become a sociable thing amongst people.



Anti- gun control

http://www.bradycampaign.org/

The Brady campaign website was set up after attempted assassination on Jim Brady, here after, this campaign started to fight for legislation to handle gun control. The website here uses mainly statistics and  emotive language to warn the audience about the use of guns in America - ' 87% of Americans want solutions to gun violence- we will keep fighting until those solutions come.' so here it uses statistics to show the problems with guns and why they should be protected by laws. Another way they try to promote anti- gun control is to show the amount of people who has been shot from a gun, for example people shot in America this year, 87, 109 people etc...' this promotes the problems with having guns and how using them can devastating effects, which here is completely opposite of what the pro gun represent where they say use a gun when in need. The site constantly throws facts about the problems in guns to help get the message through to the audience to make sure that their view is getting heard. In all the website brings to attention the problems involving guns using various of ways, which they then use the evidence to back up to help them fight for rights in order to protect the American civilisation against guns. 

After looking at both sites, I believe that the Brady campaign site had more of impact on my views about carrying firearms and that something should be done to prevent any furthur trouble that has already happened in America.

Even when America suffers from devastating events like the cinema shooting in America, Colorado, where 12 people died, no legislation has put in place since as it is hard put an order the right to bare arms without a backlash from people especially the NRA.

Gun control within America.

The Second Amendment is one of the fiercest defended Constitutional rights within America, and therefore gun control is an issue that brings about numerous debates and can impact heavily on a presidential election depending on where the candidate stands on the particular issue.

Pro-Gun Control Attitude:  http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/

The Brady Campaign is one of the main active pressure groups for Pro-Gun control; set up after the assassination of Jim Brady in 1981 the Brady Campaign focuses on bringing in gun legislation, gun trafficking and more issues evolving around gun control.                    

  http://www.youtube.com/user/bradycampaign?feature=results_main

The Brady Campaign claims that over 100,000 Americans are killed or shot every year by a firearm and with over 1,000,000 people being killed by guns since 1968 the Brady campaign clearly highlights an obvious problem within the United States, however America obsession with firearms means these staggering figures seem to be ignored, where in other countries legislation would be quickly bought into to stop drop this particular statistic. Obama has taken a stance on gun control where he has claimed he does not want  to limit Americans rights to bare arms and has not seemed to concentrate on this issue which has angered some activist groups. Where as Romney has taken a much more active approach to gun control seeing most of his policies turning into legislation when he was Governor of Massachusettes.

Anti Gun Control:  http://home.nra.org/#/nraorg  

The NRA is the biggest Anti Gun control pressure group within the United States currently, and are one of the main groups that go to the defense of the Second Amendment taken certain cases to the Supreme Court; such as after Hurricane Katrina, the NRA took the police force to court after they began to take firearms off residents after the natural disaster.  The NRA claim to have huge influence during a presidential election and arguably this is true; for every 100 Americans there are 90 guns which demonstrates how seriously Americans take the Second Amendment and therefore if a presidential candidate demonstrates a stance for Gun control it is more than likely they will lose that particular demographic; many of the Presidents of recent years have been part of the NRA and have been members.

 http://www.youtube.com/user/nravideos?feature=results_main

The American people fiercely defend the Second Amendment and with many of the American electorate exercising their right to bare arms it is extremely difficult to bring in any legislation that limits this right. This is demonstrated clearly, when numerous mass murders most recently being James Holmes occur and yet no legislation is bought into action. America has an obsession with guns more than any other country in the world, the very fact the right is sewed into their history makes it very difficult to change. I fail to see that anywhere in the near future that any legislation would ever be bought in to limit Gun control.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Comparison for Pro gun and Anti gun control websites


Pro gun control

The website GOA- Gun Owners of America is a website supporting the use of guns in America. The website reveals statistics and data which support and promote the use and ownership of guns. The information provided on the website is very in depth and clearly states a lot of research has been done, in order to promote citizens of America to carry armed forces for their own safety and safety of others. The websites states the as a gun owner you are eighty times more likely to protect lives of honest citizens than to take lives. With statements like this it, is easy to see why gun ownership in America is increasing dramatically.  Statics which are provided include; That murder and crime rates have been reduced when guns are carried, the murder rate has reduced by 8.5%, rape reduced by 5%, aggravated assault reduced by 7% and robbery reduced by 3%. Twice as many children are murdered playing football in schools than they are murdered by guns, this statistic is shocking as you preserve football as being a relatively tame sport, and something with hundreds of children take part in, whereas a gun is a powerful piece of machinery which can kill someone instantly with a click of a finger. The website really emphasises that guns are used for self defence purposes and provides research that a gun is used 1.5 million times annually for self defence purposes.  In 1990 accidental gun deaths in homes decreased by 40% with the increase in gun ownership, another way the website is reassuring readers that gun ownership is nothing to worry about. The website also has a particular focus on women and women’s use of guns, statics show that women use guns 561 times a day across America as a self defence against sexual assault.  In 2002 ABC News reported that 3/4ths of the American public believe that the second amendment protects the rights of ‘individuals’ ownerships of guns. Also in 2002, 85% of Americans would find it appropriate for principals or teachers of schools, to use a fun I school to defend the lives of students. The website also explains that criminals avoid those with guns and accidental gun deaths in children declined by 50% in 25 years. Finally the website quotes that ‘Guns save more lives than they take: Prevent more injuries than they inflict’- another reassurance for gun owners in America.

Anti gun control

http://sbcoalition.org/about/principles-goals-and-agenda-for-action/
The anti gun website also contains statics and research but not as much as the pro gun website. The website provided a list of statigies in which the publishers of the website believe will cut down the use of guns and the increase in gun ownership. The website uses short, powerful and effective phrases in order to capture the reader’s attention “Life is short, precious and limited” by doing this, it allows the reader to consider the use of guns and having a gun as a possession, as they can question what is  more important a gun or life? The website continues to state that the idea that guns keep you safe is a myth and the exposure of guns in the media, through television, newspaper, articles, magazines and books, promotes an unhealthy approach to the idea of gun usage for all ages. The information provided on the website is designed to raise awareness about gun ownership. It also supports Obama’s idea to tax fire arms and promotes the Brandy campaign to prevent gun violence. The website also provides the reader with the statement “People of all races, classes, ages, sexual orientation and in all communities have the right to be free from gun violence in their homes, schools, workplaces and on the streets”.

Although I am against the ownership of guns and the use of guns as a weapon of self defence or to be used to cause pain or harm to someone. I feel that the Pro gun website, is more convincing as it somewhat reassures the reader through the use of data, research and statistics that owing a gun can be safe. The focus of the female audience and their role in gun ownership is also particularly effective as it makes the reader feel, that by owning a gun, women are much more protected from sexual assault and other forms of attack and assault. The website uses encouraging and convincing words which also help the reader to feel at ease with the idea of ownership of a gun. Despite this, I still feel that the idea of having a gun for self defence in America says a lot about America and its beliefs. I believe it would be worrying as a citizen of America you only feel safe if you are to carry an armed weapon! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Comparison of an Anti-Gun Website and a Pro Gun Control Website

When looking at different websites for gun control in America, I came across a variety of intriguing websites to ponder over.

Pro-Gun Control

http://gunowners.org/

This website was remarkably pretentious at dealing with pro-gun control. For instance, this can be exemplified with statements such as "Americans have lost some of our precious gun rights and WE WANT THEM BACK! This is why GOA is considered the 'no compromise' gun lobby." This is significant, yet, arguably controversial to gun ownership in America. There seems to be sustained optimism present throughout the website, which thus, makes this come from a patriotic view. Ideologically, Gun Owners of America adhere to America's traditional values "GOA has never wavered from its mission to defend the Second Amendment -- liberty's freedom teeth, as George Washington called it." Moreover, one can make the assertion,overall, that this website is controversial in what is being ideologically said, however, to Americans this site would be predominantly convincing and would be hard to fight against.


Anti-Gun Control

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/07/gun-control

This website took a different view from the pro-gun control website. The purpose of this text plays more as a warning about guns and the claim that its too late to do anything about it. For example, the text draws comparisons to other countries, "Perhaps American supporters of gun rights would say that in fact people in every country do have a natural right to bear arms, but their enjoyment of that natural right is denied them by oppressive governments in countries like Britain, France, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Japan." From this statement it can be gathered that gun supporters seem self-righteous in the way they look at gun control. The article goes on to discuss how some Americans find the subject of gun control offensive after an atrocity has occurred, "A large segment of the American public these days apparently finds it offensive, not just misguided but actually offensive, to talk about gun control after these sorts of atrocities occur." This implies that Americans don't seem bothered about banning gun control and this is overtly shocking. Lastly, the article finishes by summing up that these kind of gun atrocities will continue, however, there's nothing no one can do about it. "We will continue to see more and more of this sort of thing, and there's nothing we can realistically do about it."
To this end, this website, from an anti-gun control point of view, can be significantly convincing to that certain amount of people, however, to the major population of people who do believe in gun control, this article wouldn't achieve much at convincing Americans to put down there guns. In contrast, to the first website (gun owners of america) the 'too late' article is fundamentally more pivotal, nevertheless, its the pro-gun control websites that will be surfed on the internet more. Most specifically, this asks an overall question of will gun control ever be prohibited? One could argue the 2nd amendment would have to change completely in order for this to ever happen in America.




 

I posted this video as a good insight into the stats of gun control in America. For instance, the two participants in the video dont stand for pro-gun control or anti-gun control, however, they do describe the dangers of guns which is pivotal. Importantly, being American, they recognise the 2nd amendment and understand having a handgun, but are against the use of semi-automatic guns in America. Overall, this video provides a substantial insight into gun control in America.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Prior to the 2012 US elections, I was really unsure as to who would win the vote, although many felt Obama had it in the bag, statistics closer to the election date questioned this view. It is interesting when looking at researching, showing which states won Obama’s vote, and which states won Romney’s. It makes us questions the correlation between the states and the choice of vote. There could be a number of possibilities as to why some states favoured each nominee for example, states in the south have a large black community therefore could have been more inclined to voting for Obama although the only southerner state which received Obama’s vote was Florida interestingly, there could also be connections between, the age variations in each state- states with a considerable amount of young people could be more likely to choose Obama again, for a number of different reasons, such as he is positive and sincere attitude he also reaches out to a broader community of people through his morals and beliefs.  The map shows how Romney received more of the states votes compared to Obama again illustrating how close of an election it was.  I noticed prior to the election the increase of young people, sharing their thoughts on the election, through social networking sites such as, Twitter, Face book and Instergram, people were posting images and support messages letting the world know their vote was for Obama. Images like this were a common occurrence. I also believe the younger generations were very artistic through their ways of showing their support for Obama.  There is a definite difference between the enthusiasm and participation for the US elections as opposed to the British elections and I feel this enthusiasm was defiantly shown through the younger generations a lot more. I feel that Obama demonstrates a classic image of American Dream, he was born in Honolulu Hawaii, he graduated from Columbia University, then graduated from Harvard Law School, he was a community organizer in Chicago, a civil rights attorney in Chicago, he taught in constitutional law at the United States House Of Republicans, he was elected the first black president of the United States and finally he was then re-elected for a second term. I feel that Obama really illustrates how hard work and determination can result in outstanding consequences.  Statistics show that 49% of young Americans aged 18-29 voted in the election, this really says something about the young people’s participation in the election, and shows how politics has a big impact on young people’s lives too, therefore being able to vote is very important. Quotes from celebrities also help illustrate the support for Obama, Jay Z quoted that;

“Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so Obama could run. Obama's running so we all can fly.” – I believe this quote is an excellent example of how the black community in America has developed over the years dramatically.

Obama, has a lot to be proud of not only is he the first black president of the United States, but he has managed to be re-elected for this role for another four years! Could this say something about the change in America, how the American citizens are becoming less racist? The thought of America having a black president 40 years ago would have been unimaginable. The fact that a black man is now running the United States, when previously the black community could not even use the same water fountains as white people, I believe really shows how America is becoming a nation of acceptance and racial awareness.  Although there is a conspiracy theory as to whether Obama is actually classified as an American since he was not born in the US, there is also the question of Obama’s religion and the belief that he is in fact Muslim. These theories have a big impact on the vote for Obama; however he has managed to overcome these beliefs. Despite all these theories, I believe Obama is a brilliant example of the new American image, although this ideal American image has somewhat altered from previous years, where traditionally the president of America would have been white, I feel that through this change and alteration it really says a lot about how America is changing its idea of the typical American. 
 


 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The 2012 Presidential Election

Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney

The Presidential Election of 2012 saw Obama fight for his second term in office as President of the United States against his closest opponent to date, Mitt Romney. There has been a huge amount of speculation (especially from the Republicans) as to whether or not Obama won the election because of the Democratic party's policies or because as a nation they just like Obama. 
For almost the entirety of the campaign the contest has been neck and neck, which both confused and worried Americans and people around the globe. It was a shock to see that Barack Obama had a really close competitor on his hands and he really needed to prove to the American people that he was the right man for the job. Many have seen Mitt Romney in a negative light due to his persona of being a typical wealthy, upper class American; who didn't really come across as a likeable person or very representative of his countrymen and women. When you compare him to Barack Obama you can't help but feel he makes you squirm a little bit. For me, what really stood out was the notion of 'Anyone But Bush' - which to me is a huge factor in his first success of being put into office. I think that Barack Obama looks, speaks and acts like a true leader, whether or not his policies work, he always seemed to be the man for the job. But in reality, anyone but Bush.

I stayed up to watch most of the election on the BBC before falling asleep half way through, I was anxious to see again how neck and neck it was. The map that showed what states Romney and Obama had won showed that the majority was in the Republican's favour. However the amount of Electoral College votes received obviously went to Obama and the Democratic party. Obama received 332 electoral votes compared to Romney's 206. This was something that shocked many people considering how close the competition was throughout the entire Presidential Campaign and I was convinced it would be Obama literally by the skin of his teeth. I think that many people thought it would closer due to how close it was prior to the night of the election. Some days Obama was in the driving seat, other days Romney was. 


This specific article within the BBC news website shows a line chart of how the favourability differed between both candidates from May to November. You can see that there are many different fluctuations and specific key events that affected their percentage of the votes. You can see that Obama had a huge spike in his campaign when he expresses his support to gay marriage. There is also a dip in Romney's favour here in his contrasting view of opposing gay marriage. Further down the line in around the time of the first Presidential debate you can also see a spike for Romney as he was declared the winner of the first debate. Again this was another significant event for a lot of people when they seemed to have witnessed their leader beaten by his fiercest opponent. Personally I saw this as a huge shock, I didn't expect Romney to beat Obama at all. However Obama didn't seem to be as a bubbly and valiant as he usually is, could this have been nerves or a fear of his first true opponent? 

To summarise, there are many factors to consider as to why Obama got voted back into the White House for another term. You could say that Obama won by a popularity vote, which some say is the sole reason and is against the main reason of electing a President. Another way you could see the election is was Mitt Romney the best candidate for the job as the main representative of the Republican Party and the Republican supporters around the country? He was criticised heavily throughout his entire campaign for certain mishaps, and loopholes in his policies. Don't get me wrong, so was Obama, but Romney seemed to suffer the worst of the two - again, is this due to popularity and representativeness? 

My View of The 2012 Presidential Elections

The 2012 election, Obama VS Romney. 

Obama has once again has been re- elected for another four years for America. It has been under debate that Obama only won because Republicans did not put forward a 'electable' candidate for president otherwise Obama would of lost. http://www.divinecaroline.com/33/121326-obama-win-2012 
The fact that Obama won Swing states like Ohio and Florida shows that the republican side needs a reshuffle possibly picking a better Candidate to represent them. The states that Romney did win were the states that usually vote Republican  for example Texas has voted Republican for the past nine elections. Showing that they rather stay the same, keep the same values which Obama does not want as he would rather 'look in to the future' and 'move to the future' possibly meaning changing values etc. 

This above website explains why they think Obama won. One of these points includes religion  as Romney is deeply religious, who practises under the religion of Mormon. Many say that because of his religion, it had made it hard for him to pick up many other ethnic groups like Latinos etc. 

I believe that many American's chose Obama as he appealed to many young voters and he promoted himself through many shows and through the first lady, for example going on children's channels. The storm Sandy, I believe also gave Obama a few more votes as he went out and met the families of the disaster  giving out aid, showing his dedication to America.

 Another reason I believe that Obama won the election is because he gained majority votes from the black race, 72% of the population of black, African- Americans last year voted for Obama, this could relate to this years election as many wanted there own race as president instead of a stereotypical 'rich white man'

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/15/obama-africanamerican-jewish-voters


picture from; http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1241&bih=584&tbm=isch&tbnid=RG2aLqmPPbhLdM:&imgrefurl=http://365daysof39.blogspot.co




 One could say that the election is possibly a popularity contest, meaning many Americans vote for there favourite rather than the best candidate for the future of America.

2012 Presidential Election, what I think.

Obama Vs Romney 
The 2012 Presidential Election, saw America's first black president re elected for a second term; and the question must be asked, is it Obama's policies that won him the election, his charisma and ability to connect with the electorate? Or was it the Republicans poor choice of presidential candidate, and focus on a demographic that is quickly decreasing? 
A prime example of this, would be New Mexico. The state which used to be a solid Republican seat, was won by the Democratic party 52.9% to 43%. This being due to the fact that New Mexico has seen its Hispanic population grow significantly in recent years and therefore the Republican focus and policies did not appeal to this particular demographic, hence why the state was lost to the Democrats. This reasoning can potentially be applied to future elections, with the Hispanic and Black demographics increasing in states such as Arizona it could easily be predicted that this could be a state lost by the Republicans in the next election. Furthermore, the white older generation, a demographic that the Republicans focus towards are slowly disappearing. 
Therefore, perhaps this election more than any other has shown the Republican party that a complete re design of the party is needed, new policies thought out, new candidates bought to the forefront and a mandate that incorporates a wider demographic. Obama's re election was also significantly helped by the winning of swing states, such as Virginia and securing the vital state of Florida, with its 29 electoral college votes, which was so important in the 2000 election between Bush and Gore. Furthermore, the Democrats winning of the highly populated states, those on the west and east coasts compared to that of the Republicans who dominate the central states, but which aren't populated to the same degree.

By re-electing Obama, America demonstrated it still had faith with its President; despite many political commentators and critics focusing on Obama's lack of progress with many of his policies Romney's obvious flip-flopping reputation over rode any negative focus that was put onto Obama. Furthermore comments within certain states damaged his campaign, such as comments about 'rape' within America, and 'A child conceived by rape is still a gift from god.' 
It therefore be said, that perhaps rather than America choosing Obama for Presidency, they were forced to choose him; a lesser of two evils it could be said. The electorate were pushed away from Romney throughout his Presidential campaign and this was evident when it came to the vote. Obama in his acceptance speech said "The best is yet to come," many Americans will be hoping to see changes that perhaps did not occur in Obama's first term, or we could quickly see Americas and the worlds love for Obama quickly disappear.  



Thursday, November 8, 2012

What I think about the 2012 Election

I think the 2012 Election has told the world a lot about America and American politics at this existing time. In particular, there has been a conflict with those wanting a surge into equality and moving forward, whilst the rest of America wanting to hold on to the traditional American values such as religious and constitutional values. Most specifically, its Mitt Romney who wants to keep these traditional values, whilst Obama believes in the notion of moving forward in America.

As the map depicts, Romney had more of a popular vote and, interestingly, won more states. However, Obama won through the electoral college making it, on the whole, a close contest. Its also worth noting that, similarly, the campaign was a close contest between both Romney and Obama.



I have posted this video of Obama's victory speech to illustrate what he wants for America over the next four years. The video describes how Obama plans to meet with Mitt Romney to discuss how they can work together to bring the country forward. Notably, when Obama says "the best is yet to come", that is highly significant as it emphasises the 'newness' notion that Obama overtly believes in and one can argue with this notion in mind, Obama will work rigorously to make sure this becomes a reality.

Moreover, it goes without saying that, despite most of the nation shifting towards the right of the political spectrum, one must identify how it did not gain a win for Romney overall.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/11/07/us/politics/obamas-diverse-base-of-support.html

The website I have included demonstrates how Obama did win the election. Importantly, its vital to add that Obama maintained his women votes almost the same as how he did in 2008. In addition, the influence Obama has over ethnic minorities proved proficient in the election as there was an increase in support from Hispanic voters, particularly, in the swing state of Colorado for example. Lastly, Obama also maintained his young voters from 2008, however, the swing states gained him some more voters this time round.

Above all, the election of 2012 was significant for America. History is still being made by the second term of America's first black president, nevertheless, the overwhelming cheering from Obama's victory speech tells the world that they believe strongly in Obama's motivation for working hard and achieving the "best is yet to come" notion. Its also important to note that Obama working along side Romney for a greater America will be intriguing to witness over the next four years and America could be in a far more substantial position then they are in now.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A 19th Century View Of America.

'Kindred Spirits' by Asher B. Durand (1849)
'Kindred Spirits' was an oil painting by Asher B. Durand, which focuses on the nature of New York state and the friendship between the two people on the rock ledge. The people in the painting are Thomas Cole, who was an American Painter who founded the Hudson River School of Art, and William Cullen Bryant, a poet.

The picture is based in New York and is a very different image of what the state looks like today.  Durand includes many different forms of nature, including the tree's, the rock ledges which seem to be untouched and there is a waterfall in the background.  The painting was drew from memory, to outline what they first saw when they arrived in America. Faintly, you can see birds which could establish the freedom that the New World seemed to embellish to the new settlers.  The birds could also suggest the other forms of wildlife and could advocate that America is a rich and resourceful country if wildlife and birds are already surviving in this huge landscape.  Furthermore, deep in the background you can see many huge mountains that arise in the distance which could further propose the vast landscape.  Durand focuses a lot on the tree's; further past the waterfall seems to be a forrest which lead to the mountains and there is also tree's surrounding the friends on the ledge. The tree's could also imply the immeasurable range of resources that the country holds because they could represent a prosperous landscape.  The men on the ledge appear to be discussing but also taking in the new, untouched countryside.

This painting was meant to represent the nature of America and the friendship of the men in the picture in relation to this sonnet, named 'Sonnet to Solitude';

'Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Those words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s a pleasure; and sure it must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee'.


I think this further shows that the painter was attempting to convey the freedom America witheld to the new settlers that arrived, which I think he portrayed with the use of the untouched nature like the tree's, the waterfall and the depiction of the mountains in the background and also the birds which are liberally flying in the state which is now New York City.