Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Day

Today marks the 92nd anniversary of Armistice Day formerly known to many as Veterans Day.  The origins date back to November 11, 1918 when the Allies and Germany signed a temporary peace treaty at Compiegne, France during World War I (the final  peace treaty was signed in 1919 at Versailles).  It took effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month but some pockets of hostility persisted in parts of Russia and the Ottoman Empire. 

On November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of Armistice Day, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed, "To us in America, the reflections of armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." All businesses that day were required to close and observe two minutes of silence.  

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, several States made Armistice Day a legal holiday.  On May 13, 1938, Congress passed legislation declaring the day as a federal holiday.  After World War II and the Korean Conflict, President Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation on June 4, 1954 that formally changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor those vets from the recent wars. 

Unfortunately, many citizens often times forget about this day, except when they check their mailboxes and find no mail.  However, for our living veterans, they make an effort to remember this holiday by hosting various parades throughout the nation's cities, including here in Milwaukee that held its parade on November 6.  So, what makes this day different from Memorial Day? On that day, we remember those veterans who were killed in the defense of the country but today, we give thanks to both the living and deceased vets.  Finally, let us take the time, today, to thank our Veterans for their brave services in defense of our freedoms.  


Friday, November 5, 2010

Why is the electorate divided?

We just completed the 2010 Election Cycle and one of the questions I have pondered for the last couple of years was what divided the electorate? There are countless answers to that question but one of the biggest reasons might be how the media became innovative in providing political news to the American people.  About 40 years ago, Americans only received it from the Big Three Networks (NBC, ABC, and CBS) along with their local newspapers.  That changed as the Internet exploded with political blogs, online news websites, the emergence of cable news channels, and the popularity of talk radio. 

Over the course of the last ten years, the 5:30 network news and newspapers started to decline when it came to delivering political news to the American public. Beginning with the 2000 Election Cycle, saw the growth of countless political blogs published by both professionals and amateurs.  They both took the conservative or the liberal side when discussing political issues and allowed the average citizen to post their comments that often times sparked further debate.

Today, most of us receive political news through the Internet or the cable news channels of our choice.  If you are conservative, then you tune into Fox News. If you are liberal, you tune into MSNBC and in between then CNN would be your choice.  Instead of quick hits like the Big Three Networks of years past, these news outlets provide in-depth coverage along with their opinions on the current hot button political issues that draw large audiences on any given day. Finally, do not forget about AM radio. Originally, it started out with entertainment programs that replaced Vaudeville and then started to play music with news coming only at the top of the hour. When FM took over the music, AM replaced it with conservative talk radio that continues today.  It provides in-depth coverage of the hot button issues and allow audience members to have direct participation. 

As you can see, the media became more sophisticated over the years that spark the great electoral divide in our nation.  No longer do we see the media just giving the “who, what, where, when and why's” of the news but also their opinions as well.  The way Americans get their news depends solely on their political perspective.  Finally, the best way to become a well-balanced and informed citizen is to receive political news from various sources that contain different opinions and then you can form your own conclusions.