Political science is the study behind political opinion and discourse. It is study of past societies, successes and failure. It is history with economics, anthropology and philosophy.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition defines “political science” as [t]he analytical study of public policy and policies, past, present, and prospective.
Political science doesn’t have to get “political.”
I recently taught a comic and cartooning class to a K- 12 group in my local school district. We are working on a project to publish a book of their works. In addition, some are working on this site and providing future content. We are very excited for this project.
Political cartoons are part of America’s fabric. We have been using them since before the Revolutionary War. There are some fabulous ones out there. Politics can be so divisive but they are also a bond between us all because they are our policies, our politicians, our government. A Democracy only works if people in it participate. You should not fear using your voice. Without people debating on all sides of an issue, you cant work out a solutions. Your vote is only good if you use it; when more eligible people don’t vote than do vote for for any candidate, you have a failing Democracy.
Ah, but that begins to sound political. So, for this lesson, we looked at somethings happening all around us in this changing world. A student and I put this together. We see an elephant and a rhinoceros reading a newspaper with headlines about climate change and extinction. The rhino has a cape labeled unicorn, a name we already associate with a mystical creature that we have no evidence of. This reflects that rhinoceroses have nearly disappeared and they may also been seen as a mythical creature to future generations. Elephants are also nearing extinction due to poaching and loss of habitat. The last image in the primary scene is a newspaper. A physical, printed, paper copy of a newspaper. They, also, have almost left the scene in today’s times. We have fewer and fewer media outlets. There are less voices; almost no local voices. There is no paperboy or girl. Does your town have a newspaper?
This one is rhetorical. It is supposed to be thought provoking and provide stimulation for new ideas and solutions, not to cause despair or depress. We are the solution to all of the problems. We do have to work together. We do not have to agree, nor should we agree with everyone on “our side.” There really are no sides in this. We are all working together or against each other. You may notice that the sun is setting behind the scene; or is it rising?
There is the high ground and the low ground. Both are hard. You have help when you work together. Ants travel together, in groups or pairs, and face adversity together. If they need to cross a crevasse, they can do it together by bonding and binding together to make a bridge. Crabs in a trap stay stuck because they only care about getting themselves out. They climb on top of each other and tear at limbs to knock others down so they can be on the top. They don’t understand that the solution only comes from thinking, discussing, debating and working together.
That is what politics are really about. Do you live in a society of ants or crabs? No. That is why we study political science and what happened last time and the time before.