Thursday, January 9, 2014

Weather: At least this mess isn't political - which means...?

I'm pretty sure you're all well aware of the weather and the cancellations and delays, so I won't spend two paragraphs detailing all that.  Let's get right to the good stuff.


Today, I gave a little government recap.  We spent so much time going over the various types of governments, I thought it'd be good to discuss what a government actually is.

So, I asked my students:  "What is the purpose of government?  What does it do?  Do we (human beings/ Americans) need a government?  Is it necessary?  Why or why not?  Explain your answer in roughly 5-10 sentences."

I also asked them about limited and unlimited governments, as well as the various types of governments we discussed at the end of last year.  But right now, I just want to focus on that first series of questions.

I came in early this morning, and thinking clarity is always a good idea, I decided to go old school and look up "government" in the dictionary.  (I already had my definition, but sometimes it's good to consult an outside source, you know?  In case I missed something.)

"Government:  n.  1.The administration of public policy in a political unit.  2.The office, function, or authority whereby political power is exercised.  3.  A prevailing political system or policy.  4.  A governing body."

So, already I'm a little annoyed that "A governing body" is one of the definitions for "government."  Apparently, nobody ever told The American Heritage Dictionary the rules for defining words.  And, even though I know what "political" means, I thought - well - why not just look that up for the sake of clarity as well.

"Political: adj.  1. Of or pertaining to government or politics.  2. Characteristic of political parties or politicians."


"Politics:  n. (takes sing. v.).  1.  The art or science of political government.  2.  The policies or affairs of a government.  3. a.  The conducting of or engaging in political affairs, often professionally.  b. The profession of a person so involved.  4. (takes pl. v.).  Political opinions or principles.

Seriously?  This is why people don't buy dictionaries any more.  I'd have been in big trouble if I didn't already know what political, politics, and government meant.  What a waste of time.

So, I went with my gut and had the students answer the question on their own, and then I gave them the purpose of government - according to me.


Ok... you caught me.  That's not my own.  I'm taking it from Thomas Jefferson, who was a pretty bright guy.  He put it in the Declaration of Independence - you know, the part between "We hold these truths to be self-evident" and "to effect their Safety and Happiness."

I could spend a lot of time typing up whether or not that's really the case - what about governments that only look out for themselves?  (I'd argue that they're "bad" governments...)  But I'm not going to deal with that.  Instead, I'll just ask you: how does our government protect and provide for its citizens?  Or at least, (if you're a Debby Downer) how does it try?

If you want the extra credit today, you should have read and discussed the blog with an adult.  If you did that, write down an answer or two from the paragraph directly above this one.  (You know, how does our government protect and provide...?)  You should be able to think up several examples, but if you're having a hard time with it just tell me that you're having a hard time with it...  But don't use that as a cop-out.  I mean, come on... you've come this far.

Once you wrote that down, have the adult you read the blog with sign the paper, and put it in the extra-credit tray tomorrow.

Oh yeah... you had homework.  Don't forget you can get it HERE. You may use your chart.

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