Research functions the way it does. They sit at

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Paper

Alexis Alfaro

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Political Science 1

Section #13632

[email protected]

John P. Tabakian, Ed.D.

 

 

 

 

 

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Alexis Alfaro

John P. Tabakian, Ed.D.

Political Science 1

29 January 2018

Research Paper Assignment

The majority of Americans go about
their days, every day, without having a clue on how and why society functions
the way it does. They sit at home to watch the news and hear the events that
took place that day. They listen to all the terrible disasters that occurred,
to the lottery outcomes, and make a note about tomorrow’s weather. This whole
routine is comfortable, but the majority aren’t aware of the bills that were
passed that day or about the decisions that were made. This awareness is
essential because it will indirectly affect every citizen in the long run, but
unfortunately, many don’t realize this. Many don’t understand that their
representatives are constantly attempting to pass legislation that will either benefit
themselves or directly benefit the people that pay them. Regardless of whom
they’re working for, it is our civic duty to be informed about all our
representatives and what they stand for. This will allow us to support someone
who is actually representing and fighting for our beliefs rather than someone
who will deceive us for a short while in order to win our vote and get the
position of power.

The country of the United States of
America is a relatively new nation in comparison to other countries. During
those 242 years, this nation has carried out arrangements to influence the
ideals of many people. These influences are intended to

 

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change the minds of the voter in order to change their
vote on the ballot. This doesn’t occur by chance, it is more fundamental than
that. This is due to a phenomenon in human psychology. Humans are more likely
to think quickly rather than taking time to contemplate because thinking slow
depletes resources in our body and takes more work than to think fast. This
fact raises many dilemmas that affect the thought process of many individuals.
For example, the psychological phenomenon of cognitive ease. This study demonstrates
how humans are more likely believe something that is easy to understand and
that is already tied to their own believes. Elites are wide aware of this fact
and use it to their advantage. They will invoke the ideas, trends, and language
that people are familiar with in order to dissuade the general masses into
changing their votes. As mentioned in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the
United States:

Those upper classes, to rule, needed to
make concessions to the middle class, without damage to their own wealth or
power, at the expense of slaves, Indians, and poor whites. This brought
loyalty. And to bind that loyalty with something more powerful than even
material advantage, the ruling group found in the 1760s a wonderfully useful
device. That device was the language of LIBERTY and EQUALITY, which could unite
just enough whites to fight a Revolution against England, without ending either
slavery or inequality.

 

Our Founding Fathers were able to gain public support
by using the words “Liberty” and “Equality” to rally up the masses in the
colonies against the British. This isn’t the only psychological effect that
affects individuals, the list goes on. Therefore it isn’t difficult to
understand how a small group can control masses with deliberate and strategic
schemes.

In the 1760s, the ruling class of the
colonies needed to come up with something that would have to unite everyone
together to fight against the British government. The

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primary reason why the ruling class wanted sovereignty
from the British government was because they saw that by creating a nation, the
United States of America, they would be able to acquire property, wealth, and
political power as the leaders of this new entity. Especially Benjamin
Franklin. Benjamin Franklin is a great example of one of the many wealthy men
who founded our nation. Franklin’s agenda to remove the American

colonies from British control was motivated by the
British government’s many interventions and laws and his own pursuit of
political power. Our Founding Fathers were concerned with the overreaching
government power. They did not want to be ruled by a government that was an
ocean away.

            Another
reason why Americans wanted sovereignty from Great Britain was due to the
British Banks influencing the English Parliament to pass the Currency Act that
was passed by King George III. The Colonial Note, the currency used in the
American colonies, was negatively affecting the British currency and made it
harder for the British government to regulate. The Colonial Note, unlike the
British currency was backed up by land rather than commodities (like gold).
This arrangement of currency allowed the colonies to sell, buy, and trade with
other. Benjamin Franklin once describe the British economy as bad. He described
the streets of London as full of beggars and tramps, and discussed the high
unemployment rate. Nothing like the colonies back in America. He explained how
beggars and tramps were not common in the colonies, and everyone in
in the colonies were employed and owned a home and lived decent lives. After
the Currency Act was enacted, he soon noticed that, “In one year, the
conditions were so reversed that the era of prosperity ended, and a depression
set in, to such an extent

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that the streets of the Colonies were filled with
unemployed” (Waltzek). Although much of this issue had died down by the time
the revolution came around, this issue showed the colonists that the government
did not care about the welfare of the colonies. It also showed that the British
government was not aware on how to govern the land because they were on a
completely different continent. The Founding Fathers used the psychological
trauma from this instance and many others related to it to gain the support of
the public.

Today’s elites still govern many
aspects of our society including our economy and government. The elites of our
society have many ways of manipulating the masses, many of these strategies
were used by the elites when our nation was starting out. One common, and easy,
way to manipulate and even control the masses is through moral panic.  Moral panic, according to the Oxford
Dictionaries, is defined as, “An instance of public anxiety or alarm in response to a
problem regarded as threatening the moral standards of society” (Moral panic | Definition of moral panic in English by
Oxford Dictionaries.)  Key role players
in creating and spreading moral panic are politicians and the media.
Oftentimes, moral panic is instilled to get some sort of policy or legislation
passed. These panics are usually focused on members of society who are
“marginalized in society due to their race or ethnicity, class, sexuality,
nationality, or

religion”
(Crossman). In these situations, the
perpetrators of the panic exaggerate stereotypes of these members and spread
the panic. Moral
panics can push those members at the center of the issue deeper into the
margins. During these moral panics, the elites take advantage of the situation
by promoting certain ideas to push their

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agendas. Some popular subjects of moral panics are
foreign, which is a great way to gain public support of the government. The
perfect example of this would be radical Islamic terrorism. Propaganda against Muslims
has been rampant in the media, this is mostly stemming from the September 11th
attack on our nation. Stirring up public fear of foreign entities is beneficial
to many elites, not just in our government. Once the public is riled up about a
certain foreign issue, they will support the government in increasing our
defense systems in terms of intelligence agencies and military. In times like
these, our nation is more likely to rally together to support and defend our
country.  Moral panic is also a good way
to get the masses to give up “civil liberties” because people would rather be
safe than free. Members of the elite, who are not part of the government, view
this as something to capitalize on.

Another classic way of manipulating
the masses is through Divide and Rule- or conquer. Elitists like to use
unimportant issues (relative to the grand scheme of things) such as gay
marriage, immigration, and racial issues to distract the masses from the real
issues. An example of this practice in our society would be the Occupy Wall
Street movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Occupy Wall Street
movement was a retaliation to the recession of 2008 against wall street, the
banks, and

corporations. One goal of this movement was to ” fight back against the richest 1% of people that are
writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our
future” (“About”). Protests were happening nationwide, fighting against the
elites of our nation who are just trying to profit off of everything and
anything. Of course, these protests had the powerful elites of our nation on
their toes. However, the elites had

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found a good distraction to keep the
attention away from them. That distraction was Trayvon Martin. Trayvon Martin
was a seventeen year old African American from Florida who was shot dead by
White-Hispanic George Zimmerman. The elites, with their control of the media,
had attention moved to this issue and made it seem like a hate crime of race.
Trayvon Martin’s killing started the Black Lives Matter movement, and this was
the perfect way to get the public to focus on racial issues. Even today, 5
years later, Black Lives Matter is a big movement in our society. Social
movements like this have been a great way to get the public’s attention away
from more important issues such as legislation and the economy.

            A
great example of our elite leaders losing legitimacy would be the Watergate
Scandal. In the year 1972, the current president Richard Nixon was running for
reelection. In May of that year, five members of Nixon’s campaign were arrested
for breaking in and stealing documents from the Democratic National Committee
office. President Nixon and the White House declared that nobody from the White
House Committee was involved in the wiretapping and burglary of the Democratic National
Committee office. Nixon went on to win the election that November. Over the
course of

a year, the burglars went through trials, people
resigned or were fired, and information is leaked. In July of 1973, Nixon’s
assistant, Alexander Butterfield reveals that the president had a taping system
installed in the White House. President Nixon refused to release the tapes to
the Senate Watergate Committee, which was a committee assigned by Congress to
investigate the Watergate Scandal. After much back and forth between Nixon and
the investigators, the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon release the

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tapes. All while this happened, the House of
Representatives voted to impeach the president for, “obstruction
of justice, abuse of power, criminal cover-up and several violations of the
Constitution” (History.com) Nixon released the tapes, and three days
later, on August 8th 1974, Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. Many
consider this as a time when public distrust of the government began to grow
exponentially.

Another example where public opinion
of our nation’s leaders legitimacy dipped is the Iran-Contra affair, which took
place during Ronald Reagan’s terms as President. In the early 80s, congress
passed the Boland Amendment which restricted our nation’s role in the situation
going on in Nicaragua. At the time Nicaragua was going through a socialist
movement, led by the Sandinistas. Due to fear of the spread of communism in
Latin America, the U.S. backed the Contras, who were going against the
Sandinistas. During the same time, Iran was at war with Iraq. Iran had
requested that the U.S. sell them missiles, however, there was an embargo on
weapons sold to Iran. Reagan struck a deal with Iran to sell them weapons if
they released seven hostages that were being

held. Iran had paid $30 million dollars for 1,500
missiles, and it was discovered that over $18 million was “redirected” to the
Contras in Nicaragua. At the time that this information became public,
President Reagan’s approval rating was the lowest that it had been in four
years, and all other aspects of Reagan’s job as president was decreasing
according to the New York Times. Vice President Bush’s approval rating also had
dropped significantly. About half of Americans believed that Reagan was lying

 

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about important aspects of the situation, showing a
great decline in trust in our government.

            Trust
in government is the idea that the public/masses have confidence in our leaders
and policymakers. Of course the masses elect who they think will best represent
them and take care of the public’s best interest. We as the people decide on
who will govern us, so if majority of our citizens were to lose faith in our
government then there is a great possibility that political, social, and
economic instability would ensue. Influential economist Albert O. Hirschman wrote that when trust in
institutions, government included, is lost the people of that nation do one of
two options. Those options are to leave or to rally and speak up against these
institutions. We see that members of our society lose more and more
trust in the government with each scandal. 
Historically, the public’s confidence in our leaders and government is
at an all time low. If the public continues to lose faith in government, then
some sort of a revolution would definitely take place. As proven before, the
American people are not afraid to speak out and have their voices be heard.
Take for example the Occupy movement and the

Women’s March. Masses of people gathered together to
rally a cause that they support. With little to no faith in the government, the
nation might possibly see a rise in the amount of illegal activity. Since there
is no trust, the people would not care about the policies and laws of the land,
taking away legitimacy of the government. The result of this would of course be
the rise of illegal activity, which does not necessarily have to be violent. In
the long term, many issues would arise socially, economically, and politically
leading to destruction of our current system in favor a new one.

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My opinion on the issue of protecting
minority rights against majority factions is that minorities do need their
rights to be protected. It doesn’t matter if they are the richest one percent
of the country and they hold a lot of power, they are entitled to the same
rights that everyone in this country are guaranteed. Anyone who is a citizen
and an active member of our nation’s society has certain unalienable rights.
Now, I am not saying that these minorities should have certain rights that
pertain only to them, I believe that everyone is allowed the same rights no
matter their socioeconomic status, race, religion, or sexual orientation. These
rights are what make our nation so great and desirable.

            There
is no denying that the elites working in the political system are in it to gain
money or power. Most of them are not there because they care about the American
people, of course with the exception of a select few. Many Americans have been
deceived throughout their lives by the elites. Elites have carried out
deliberate actions that have changed the minds of American. I believe that a big
change in the way that government officials are elected needs to be made. Many
are in it to gain power and money from groups that want to sway politicians
decisions a certain way. 

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