I think that's because I don't want to offend anyone. I tend to be a peace-maker in political discussion, even though I have my own opinions. I pretty much have to be -- my Dad is a passionate Democrat and my husband is a Republican. Basically I had to register as an Independent so as to not pick sides. That, and I actually am an Independent.
That said, I think the most important thing any American can do is be an informed citizen and vote. Even I don't agree with you, I will 100% respect you if you are informed about the issues and vote based on that. I don't like it much when people are apathetic or when people are "single-issue voters."
So in the spirit of being an informed electorate. I thought I'd share a couple of things that I personally think should be required watching and reading for Americans, particularly Californians.
The first is the documentary, Waiting For Superman.
I think this documentary did an excellent job exposing the problems with America's educational system. I think American teachers truly are a national treasure. I had so many life-changing and amazing teachers. But I think that teachers are often surrounded by a broken system.
Does this documentary address every issue in American schools? No. But it does a great job of giving a fair look at American education. Therefore, I declare this "required watching for all Americans."
The second is The Economist, particularly the special report on California and direct democracy gone awry.
The Mr. and I subscribe to the Economist and read it every week at our breakfast table, in bed, and on airplanes. If you're looking for a balanced and informative news source, subscribe to The Economist.
A couple of weeks ago The Economist did a special report on California that was particularly good. The report covered the history of the "failed state" and the unintended consequences of direct democracy gone haywire.
Therefore, this report is "required reading" for all Californians, but I strongly suggest that everyone read it considering 1 in 8 Americans are Californians.
The Special Report had several articles. Here are the links to them all:
- The people's will - Introduction to the Special Report on California
- Origin of the species - A brief history of California Democracy
- War by initiative - The awful unintended consequences of Prop 13
- Stateside and abroad - More about Direct Democracy
- The withering branch - How the initiative process has redistributed power
- A lesson in mediocrity- How Direct Democracy messed up CA schools
- What do you know? - Citizens are not as well informed as they think
- Burn the wagons - How California must change
And for statistics/graph nerds like me, you'll be excited to know that the articles contain great charts and stats like these:
(from The Economist)
If you saw Waiting for Superman or read this Economist special report, leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear them.