Popular Thinking in Political Life, Recent American Politics

Mining for professional experience and for various political answers

April 2005

I testified at Stetson’s Model Senate in favor of defusing land mines before a panel of role-playing student “Senators.” They grilled me with questions about ways to reduce innocent destruction and about ways to assert power. At Model Senate, students get the feel of wrestling with real political choices. And the experience was a reminder that, with the current fear of terrorism, there have been no recent bills to support dismantling these deadly instruments of past wars.

On Saturday, March 19, I took a day trip to the nation’s Capital—actually I was only there an hour, and I never really left town. I testified at a Model Senate hearing, and for a few moments, it felt a little like being in Washington.

Stetson’s Model Senate was initially formed in 1970, and is still going strong today as the oldest collegiate-level model senate in the country. For more on Paul Croce’s experience there, click here!

Popular Thinking in Political Life

Why do we bother voting at all?

October 2003

Citizens receive mixed message about voting. The civic message is about the special right to have a voice about public decisions. The more subtle message whispers, Why bother? The most powerful seem to have their way. The sway of power and money in elections only works if we let them. Each individual vote may not count for much, but if voters make their own choices, rather than letting political handlers trip wire them into serving the interests of the powerful. Add those choices up, and then your vote counts.

What is so important about our civic duty? Read on here.  

Popular Culture and Cultural Politics

Chocolat: A gentle endorsement of change

June 2001

It is easy to view Lasse Hallstrom’s movie Chocolat as a light and tasty treat. It is a fanciful story about a 1959 traditional French village transformed by the opening of “Chocolaterie Maya.”

Well, it is simple—like a fairy tale. Taken for what it is, a morality tale with social types standing in for contemporary social issues, it is a charming fable with and easy-to-taste moral about the forces of modernization and the liberalization of tradition as the best response.

…read more by clicking here!

Popular Culture and Cultural Politics

The Polarization of America: The Decline of Mass Culture

Pop culture is forever, but mass culture is only a few hundred years old and showing its age. Popular culture is just a big, loose term for things popular beyond the tastes and standards of small groups of elites. It’s always been around. Mass culture, however, requires mass communication across long distances.

Read on here!