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Social Change and Politics

Question 1

The lack of socialism in America continues to be witnessed in the way of life of many people in the country. Several explanations have been given as to why socialism has never been in America. This paper presents a number of explanations.

The Economic Factors

America has been understood to be a land of abundance in resources and anybody who works hard is expected to become rich. This is the reason why there are many rags-to-riches stories in America. Most Americans believe that if people have managed to work their way to the upper echelons, there is no reason for anybody else to be assisted to do so. Furthermore, the American nation is a land with plenty of potentials and the social mobility is high. This description was well captured by Friedrich Engels, whose illustration indicated that the bourgeois conditions were only seen as beau ideal, given the rate of prosperity and success that the American people were experiencing. This way, those who are not succeeding and calling for socialism to come to their aid can only be seen as subjected to inconveniences. 

After all, the land itself provides everyone an opportunity to make a decent leaving. Thus, the country’s affluence and high standards of living do not give socialist ideas room to thrive, since everyone is living for themselves. Even the government’s indulgence in matters of public interests is seen as infringement of their private space.

Social factors

The Americans do not have a sense of class relationships because they see that there is an opportunity for everyone in their country. Those who came to America are all looking for escape from feudalism and therefore believe that everyone is presented with an equal opportunity to improve their lives. This forms a part of the reason why Americans are unwilling to promote the idea of socialism. The general belief is that each one of them has an opportunity to make their lives better. Social mobility can thus be achieved through individual work and effort. In addition, most Americans are born conservative of the ideas of individualism and therefore do not see any problem with their bourgeois nature. Those, who become discontented with their status, can only work hard, using many available opportunities and move from their unhappy class to other privileged classes.

Furthermore, Americans do not subscribe to the ideas of classes; they do not see themselves as “haves” and “have-nots”, thus making them to be even more individualistic in their approach to the ideas of socialism. Still, most Americans do not see themselves as lower class or bourgeois and therefore nobody is asking for socialism to come to aid them. They all believe that they belong to the middle class, which therefore gives them the pride that they can work to achieve the success. This also reinforces the view of many that they are not proletariat but only temporary embarrassed millionaires.

Political Factors

The political system in America confers power to the winner to take it all while many lose. This is also the view among the losers. The political strategies that are formed from this basis see themselves to have prevented the formation of third minor parties, forcing everyone else to belong to either of the two major parties; none of whom wants to help the other. The ruling class is thus trying to perpetuate the system that brought them into power.

As such, it becomes difficult for the formation of third parties, since the prevailing system does not give them an opportunity to be formed. It is a cycle that thrives on the realization that the political leaders and winners must have everything, while the opposition waits for its turn. Additionally, there has always been a turn for those, who are waiting for that matter. The lack of class formation also means that people do not get a class view of their society; hence there is lack of examples in their society to infer from as to what it means to be socialists. Naturally, it is not in the character of the Americans; even the proletariat think that their neighbor can help them and even if they did offer help, most of them would be unwilling to accept it.

The evidence that support the above claims is that there no work party or working class is strong in America. America is not exceptional because there is general decline of labor union and the state has little control of over activities of labor unions. Further, inequality is extremely high in the past 20 years.  If the country embraced socialism, there would be low inequality among its people, but this is not the case because inequality is all time high. State is forced to cut down on budgets of crucial services such as education.

End of Ideology Thesis

The end of ideology thesis is attributed to Daniel Bell, Raymond Aaron, and Seymour Martin Lipset, who argued that the ideologies that were espoused by the political class had lost their meaning among well thinking people and thus the future polity was likely to be influenced by the gradual technological realignment in the present system. Bell’s exposition on the future of the political class attracted criticisms, stating that his views were protecting the post World War II status, downplaying the real political debates that were waged to protect a technocratic approach to socialism and cultural proponents. Furthermore, the views of Bell were received with public skepticism and it hardened dissatisfaction in the politics of the United States. The 1960s and 1970s youth unrest served as another reason to disqualify Bell’s views because the young people failed to strategize themselves in light of Bell’s views. .Ronald Ingelhart noted that class based materialist values are replaced by post-materialist values in modern regimes

The Closed Thinking Approach

This includes a set of beliefs, values, and attitudes that people use to organize their ideas and evaluate candidates and policies. The closed thinking approach claims that people were likely to perceive and think about matters of public in relation to the prevailing thinking around them. Several factors define the closed thinking approach, including the need to have a common agenda. Shared measured interests and the fact that people tend to support each other in their thinking establish a closed system of thinking that is identifiable with them.  The closed thinking approach also enjoys support from people, who are in the same environment and enjoy similar conditions in that environment. It is attributed to Theorodo Adorno andErich Fromm, whose work discussed several forms of thinking approaches and deduced that people were likely going to think in accordance to the popular thinking in their surroundings. 

The Constrained Belief Approach

The constrained belief approach explains that belief should only be based on evidence. It is a form of thought control based on deception and distortion. The approach thus puts a strong emphasis on evidence, presented if an item is going to be believed and dependent upon by a person. As such, constrained thinking demands a total focus on the entirety of a system, while also paying particular interest to the constituents. The decisions involved in the constrained thinking are long-term and thus the person, who is thinking, must have time to do so carefully, especially regarding the decision that they are going to make in their social, political and economic aspects. Constrained thinking is attributed to Philip Converse, who exposes that constrained thinking is characterized by stratified and educated thinkers, who ascribe to independence in their thinking.

The end of ideology is most compelling in the sense that the issues that were discussed in this approach are coming to be realized in the current political landscape in America. The youth have become a reckoning force in national politics. Moreover, technological advancements are playing a crucial role in the decision making, especially with the social media networking. It can be argued that the last two national elections that saw president Obama elected as the first African American to be elected and reelected were mostly assisted by the wave of technological advancements around the world. Facebook and Twitter messages played a major role in attracting the young voters. Moreover, the youth could identify themselves with president Obama as a youthful president and this might also rhyme well with the youth power that is explained in the end of ideology thesis. The American people, however, exhibit a unique response to the issues that are going to affect their lives, with most of them choosing to follow their own convictions especially in political matters. 

Question 3

The use of symbols to pass messages influences the final perception that people are going to have over the same issue. Throughout history symbols have been used in campaigns and other political meetings to communicate the agendas and policies of a given political class of people. In many occasions, political messages and convictions are construed around the messages that people give in relation to their agendas.  The agenda setting in the political environment has been thriving in the political class and thus it enhances the spread of their messages to the political class.

The appeal, made to people, is much reinforced through political symbols that reinforce their perception and conviction. Some political symbols have been known to attract sympathy from people, who would normally not support the political movement. But through the symbols that they see, they might change their beliefs and conviction and support or withdraw from the movement. For instance, the use of emaciated people as the symbol for human rights movements contributed to the success of the objectives that these movements were agitating for.

An example of the contemporary political movement is the Tea Party Movement that has been associated with the protection of American Constitution and adherence to the principles laid out in the constitution. The Tea Party Movement prides itself in using the American flag as their symbol as they protest against what they see as a violation of the Constitution. The movement has branches in many American states and it uses these small organizations to sensitize the public on issues such as tax through anti-tax protests. The Tea Party Movement has changed their symbols over time to reflect the changing landscape in their struggle. For a long time, the Gadsden flag was the symbol that became famous as a protest symbol.

The symbol was also used in the Congress meeting of Tea Party members and thus helped in reinforcing the struggle that the Tea Party was committed to, that is restoring adherence to the United States constitution in its entirety. Since the movement was the originator of the symbol, the symbol became a political symbol among the observers just from its association with the movement. Another symbol that the movement uses and recently adapted is the Betsy Ross Flag that bears thirteen stars to symbolize the revolutionary struggle of the movement. The symbol also bears the Roman number “II” to signify that this is the second revolution that the movement is seeking to bring to the American people. The Second Revolution, as it is known in the United States, is attributed to the Tea Party Movement and members of the movement feel an obligation to bring this revolution to the American people.

Further, the Tea Party movement feels an obligation to protect the American people from the exploitative leadership that leans towards capitalism and ignores the American dream as envisaged in the American Constitution. The movement feels that the ruling political class has drifted away from the implementation of the American Constitution and feels that the citizens are denied their rights through faulty justice system, malfunctioning political leadership, and self aggrandizing congress, which pays little attention to the plight of the people.

Question 4

The shift in the Kansas State has been oscillating between the Democrats and the Republicans. However, with the residents favoring values over economic interests, the voters in the State have consistently supported the Republicans in the national election. Evidently, the trend changed between the Democrats and the Republicans despite the fact the region has more working class than the upper class.

The Kansas State is one of the political hotspots in the American politics with the way issues and matters define the voting landscape in the State. The shift in the Kansas politics has always been predominated by social and economic issues rather than the enchantment of the political correctness that defines the politics of other states. The Republicans have had a foothold in the politics of Kansas because of the rhyming nature of their policies with the convictions of Kansas residents. They believe that politics should provide a mechanism to excel in economic and social development of Kansas, so the state can become the defining state; it can measure the viability of each party to keep up the promises, made during their campaigns.

The Kansas State has been predominantly ruled by the Republicans. However, the Republicans keep shifting the political discourse away from the class politics in favor of culture and institutionalism. While politics plays a crucial role in the development of society, Kansas has opted to cling to the cultural wars that define the lives and well-being of people in the State. As such, the voters in the region have consistently voted against their own class interests with a view of preserving their cultural status. The Kansas politics has been fascinating to political analysts because it represents people, who invariably ignore the issues of rights, war, and class and vote on the basis of moral politics.

The Kansas anomaly can be explained in terms of the American society to embrace capitalism more than socialism. The fact that many Americans consider themselves as middle level despite their economic and labor conditions makes the residents of Kansas vote on the basis of convenience in accordance to their perceived needs at the time. Even though this has been the trend in the state, the state has achieved a considerable milestone in the economic and social development as people still enjoy economic development with a blend of cultural definitions. It is as though the politics of Kansas has provided a platform through which the residents of Kansas find political shelter, while adhering to their tenets, preserving their cultural patterns in the political sphere of the nation.

The Kansas politics is thus determined by the people themselves through parties vetting through the public eye. This can also be interpreted as the tendency of Kansas citizens to be more receptive to the populist messages of the politicians. The populist movements have always done well in Kansas as compared to other states that are seen as supporters of Republicans. In the end, the Kansas residents have regularly found a way of modeling the political pace alongside their needs, irrespective of whether the social class has its own policies or want to influence voters to conform to their views.

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