Thursday, September 20, 2012

Representation and the Importance of Voting

By Gregory Allen

Elections in the United States, such as the presidential election in November, are designed to appoint representatives that will reflect the opinion held by those who voted; essentially legislating and acting on behalf of the majority or prevailing perspective.

However, when candidates win a popular election (or via Electoral College) having been selected by the minority perspective, the design of fair representation is undermined. Unfortunately, the loudest voice that might appear in voting ballots this November may not represent the majority or be seeking steps toward tolerance when they cast their vote.

Stephen Colbert shared a survey on his Comedy Central television show The Colbert Report that identified the growing progression of tolerant and secular beliefs among young voters. The survey found that 63% of millennials (persons born 1981 or later), also known as Generation Y, favored same-sex marriage.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Freedom of favorable speech

by Gregory Allen

NFL linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo received caustic criticism recently for his support of marriage equality. Maryland pastor and state house of delegates-member Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D-Baltimore County) wrote the following of Ayanbadejo's exercise of free speech, "'I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player.'"

The letter was obtained by WBAL-TV and referenced by Dan Wetzel in his Yahoo! article "Maryland politician out of line for attacking Brendon Ayanbadejo's support of gay marriage." Wetzel cites that Burns attempted to force the Baltimore football franchise into silencing its player and depriving him of his First Amendment rights, writing, "Burns went nuts last week, firing off a letter on Maryland House of Delegate letterhead to Ravens owner Steven Bisciotti seeking action against Ayanbadejo."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Has controversial television gone extinct?

by Gregory Allen

The Dick Van Dyke Show first aired on television October 3, 1961. Immediately, the show began challenging cultural traditions, most noticeably gender roles. Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke) frequently happened upon satirical situations involving his strong-willed wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore), and the show found a chance to provide genuine criticism on American culture in Rob’s unorthodox reactions.

One of the show’s most blatant criticisms can be found in “The Bad Old Days” (1.29). Rob is confronted by a friend with an article claiming the American male is in decline, corralled to impotence by dominant women. Rob is rendered insecure and refuses to participate in domestic responsibilities, avoiding chores commonly assigned to women, despite normally aiding in these tasks without conflict.

Rob convinces himself he desires the “good old days”; a time when women were docile, unquestioning, adopting opinions and orders from their husbands. During his sleep, Rob is visited with a dream that reminds him of the reality of demoting one gender to the role of servant and the tyrannous role played by the counterparts imposing this unequal condition. Rob wakes, realizing his dream was a nightmare.