Secretary of State Transition From Hillary to John Kerry
For the past eight years the Secretary of State position has been held by a woman. Despite criticism that Obama’s new administration lacks the female power it has held in the past four years, John Kerry was announced as being Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Secretary of State successor. Kerry has fully acknowledged the fact that he will be the first man in the modern technological age to take on this position (LaFranchi 2013). Plenty has changed in the last two presidencies and the Secretary of State position has gone from without question belonging to a woman, to now transitioning back over as being a male-held position.
The issues that are dealt with by the Secretary of State have been known to be issues that may more likely be better handled by a woman (LaFranchi 2013). Kerry himself has been quoted as saying, “Can a man actually run the State Department?” (LaFranchi 2013). The reputation of the issues that are dealt with in this department require traits such as level-headedness and careful negotiation activity that are highly attributed to a female persona; thus far, this concept has been successfully put into play, but now a new perspective is once again going to be had. The position is now returning to the hands of a man.
John Kerry is known as being a person who manages policies that are already in place; he is great at reinforcing the values from which those policies stemmed from. However, Kerry is not known as being a politician to come up with innovative or policy-changing ideas as he predecessor Rodham Clinton has been (LaFranchi 2013). She has been a very successful and extremely well-liked politician by other international leaders alike. She has been known for developing notions on which compromise can be established. Kerry will have plenty to live up to and he will also have some “big heels to fill” (LaFranchi 2013) as he begins his journey into this position.
With the growing fear of terrorism abroad and the untimely deaths of great leaders such as that of the United States of America’s ambassador in Libya, the concern for a resolution to growing international turmoil and to the developing foreign affairs are of dire importance and concern. Kerry has been particularly vocal about this incident, among others, and guarantees American citizens that he already has plans and knows how he would be able to bring a solution to these impending political issues (LaFranchi 2013). His motto has always been for a safer America, both locally and internationally. Kerry’s transition into the Secretary of State position will bring more enforcement of the safety policies that are already in place. He may even go as far as attempting to tweak and change some of the pre-established policies, but like previously aforementioned, Kerry is not known to be a politician that will come up with new ideas of his own. Kerry is known to be dry, but productive (LaFranchi 2013). Unlike Rodham Clinton who was known for her outstanding interpersonal skills, Kerry is better known for his ability to get down to the point and getting policies enforced.
The transition from Rodham Clinton to Kerry will be one of change, but not entirely of a negative nature. Despite this transition being one of novelty and modification, it may be one that may bring more good than not. Maybe what has been needed is a fresh perspective that will provide alternative solutions to growing foreign affairs. The role of Secretary of State will indeed go through changes once again, but hopefully for the best.
Topic 2: The Life of Ed Koch
Ed Koch, born in 1924, is most famously known for being the mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989. During this time, he made essential changes to New York City, having a successful three term run in office and becoming one of New York City’s most memorable mayors. He died on February 1st, 2013 from heart failure and although it was a great loss to the political community, his legacy continues to live on as he has become a role model for those who strive to make a political difference.
Early on in the beginning of his political career, Koch established his democratic loyalty and his dedication to bringing forth issues that he thought were pertinent. His liberal views came during an era when being conservative was a growing epidemic and this led his opponents on a trail that would eventually lead to his demise. But not before making some essential contributions to New York City history (Honan and Michaud 2013). Koch was very forward in his thinking. He believed that all of his New York City citizens had the right to know everything that was going on politically. He believed in informing the public about issues that would directly be affecting them and educating them about his proposed solutions — no matter how controversial or tough they may have seemed at the time. He had a way of portraying issues to the public that allowed the public to understand him and to provide him with the public support that he needed to get his agenda through.
Koch created the sense that government, especially local government, was supposed to be made for the citizens of its city. He reformed the public school system by establishing a management system that oversaw children’s educational progress and allowed them change whatever was not working in hopes of improving students’ educational goals. Because Koch was not afraid to voice his opinions, he was able to establish public works regulation and create departments that oversaw sanitation efforts in order to clean up a polluted city (Honan and Michaud 2013). He was brave enough to cut spending in unnecessary markets in order to bring more good to the people of New York City. He is remembered for his ability to connect government with its citizens and for his desire to bring government resources where they are needed the most — in the hands of the hard-working people who lived in New York City.
Mayors after that have tried to live up to Koch’s legacy only to be constantly compared to him by everyone (Honan and Michaud 2013). He has been an inspiration to political leaders who hope to make a difference in the lives of their citizens. As stated before, Koch had a liberal mindset too early on in America’s recent history. He was a large supporter of HIV / AIDS prevention strategies that were not too popular when first announced. His support for gay rights also put him in the headlines as this life-long bachelor’s sexuality became a topic of debate and questioning during his runs for various offices. Koch ran for governor of New York, only to be defeated due to his low support in suburban, more conservative areas; he ran into the same problem during his stint for Presidency (Honan and Michaud 2013). But although Koch seemed to attract controversy because of his carefree progressive mindset, it was what he was able to accomplish and the legacy that he established that made him into the man that he will always be remembered as being.
Topic 3: Gun control, how to protect our children and what can be done in terms of safety
Gun control has become a significant political issue lately. From conservatives who do not want any sort of gun regulation, to liberals who want guns to be made illegal, there still has not been a middle ground on which both extreme parties can agree on in order to fulfill our goal of protecting our children (Simon 2013). On December 14, 2012, a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 6 adults and 20 children — all while other children and school officials scattered trying to protect themselves from a crazed gunman (CBS News 2012). This unfortunate event has once again started the great debate on gun control and the questioning of whether our children all over the country can be protected against this event if it were to occur once again. The answer however, seems to be more guns.
There needs to be some sort of middle ground on which all parties involved can agree upon. In order to best protect our children, assault rifles should be banned, as the President is now trying to do (Simon 2013); there should be no need for citizens to own military-style assault rifles. If the reasoning behind owning a gun is the fact that we are protecting gun owners’ rights, then a simple hand gun or shot gun should be sufficient. Protecting ourselves and our children at home becomes a great priority once one listens to the national and local news media. Reports on mass assassinations are constantly repeated when these unfortunate incidents do occur. News of home breaks-in gone bad are continuously reinforced. After hearing about all of these negative reports, all an individual wants to do is own a gun at home to protect their family and children from ever getting hurt. Not all people who own guns are criminals nor will they end up using their gun, but it does feel better to know that in a worst case scenario situation, one will be able to fight back on even grounds.
Gun regulation is not about banning guns, but about controlling who has access to them. As proposed by the President, background checks are essential when it comes to being able to own a gun (Simon 2013). This is no way violates any sense of privacy or freedom and right to bear arms. It just assures the public that those who do have access and ownership of these powerful weapons will not use them in a hurtful or harmful way, nor will they, most importantly, hurt our children. Although it is difficult enough to protect children at home, no longer do children have that security and safety that used to be felt at school. This is an essential component of any gun control legislation. Children’s innocence has been altered and in order to get a sense of normalcy back into the lives of students who have little choice about going into school every day, a solution needs to be established.
Propositions so far have suggested that armed guards should be stationed at every school across the nation. This will not only provide a sense of security in knowing that there is someone who will be prepared to handle situations if they were to go extremely bad, but there is also a sense of relief in knowing that if a crazed gunman were to get back into a school and initiate an attack as grand as the Newtown Elementary School shooting, a stationed and trained individual with a visible gun in their possession may deter these situations from occurring in the first place. Trained school officials may be more qualified in acting immediately to take control of a situation instead of having to wait for trained professional respondents to do their job. Again, gun control should not be about protecting the rights of its citizens, but about protecting the lives of its citizens and of their children.
Topic 4: The Presidential Inauguration
The Presidential Inauguration represents a promise for the next four years. It creates precedent for what is to come. This ceremony allows citizens to get to know the individual that will guide an entire nation. It is his time to reiterate his promises and to assure the public that they are indeed his first priority. However, despite there being a historical significance in the Presidential Inauguration, there is also a political significance; this is why there is more than one inaugural ceremony. There is a private pre-inauguration inauguration that is held in Washington D.C. just between private officials (JCCIC 2013). This ceremony represents the actual swearing in of the President of the United States. The ceremony itself handles all of the logistical aspects that may be too long drawn or not interesting for millions of people to watch. However, the public ceremony is the opposite.
The first Presidential Inauguration began with the first president of the United States: George Washington. This inauguration had to be the mold that other following inaugurations after that had to ideally imitate. The sense of pride that was felt after the United States of America was freed from Great Britain control was something that subsequent Presidential Inaugurations after that had to encapsulate (JCCIC 2013). Although ideally the Presidential candidates are inaugurated in a private ceremony in front of those individuals that can make the presidency official, sometimes because of mitigating circumstances such as the assassination of the current President or the sudden death of the President, the next in line — usually the Vice President — needs to be sworn in on a whim, without any time for preplanning this essential ceremony. This is stated to stress that not all Presidential Inaugurations have to be grand public events. It is more of a legal and logistic matter that needs to be had in order for a President to rightfully take on his position as the leader of the free world.
In general, the Presidential Inauguration has been one where the future leader of America swears upon God and its citizens, his loyalty to everyone that he will guide. The President repeats and emphasizes all of the issues that are at hand and how his coming into office will alleviate those issues instead of exacerbate them. This moment is necessary to once again revive a crowd that worked tirelessly to get their desired presidential candidate in the Oval Office. The newly inaugurated President must also address the opposing side — the side that did not want him to be giving the inauguration speech to begin with. It is the moment where the candidate addresses his citizens for the first time as President or for the first time after being re-elected.
As aforementioned, the road to Presidency is one that is paved with wishful thinking, exaggerated promises, and solutions to all of the nation’s problems. During the public Presidential Inauguration, the newly sworn in President reiterates his resolution to what is wrong, and provides his supporters with his acknowledgment on what is working just fine in the country, and his promise to maintain status quo on issues that have already been successfully resolved. This is an event that all citizens look forward to. Hearing one’s President for the first time is a psychological working that allows citizens to once again feel pride in their country. It allows people to remember why it is that they supported the President to begin with and it gives opposing citizens the opportunity to listen to him and find some common ground.
Topic 5: The way Wilkerson’s book connects to the theme of American society or government
“Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson was a book that depicted the Great Migration, one where hundreds of thousands of African-Americans migrated from the South to other areas of the United States, permanently and forever changing the demographics of an entire nation. This book takes on a positive perspective when it comes to the civil migration within one nation. African-American invasion to other regions of the United States has been depicted in a negative fashion, as this migration has been pointed out as the sole reason why inner-cities became infested with crime and drug violence. Wilkerson however, takes on a positive view and writes how this Great Migration in fact contributed to American society and how their moving from the South created a positive environment for all.
American society is known for having been built on morals, values, and good and honest hard work. The Great Migration contributed greatly to this philosophy of greatness and to this hope that oppressed Blacks from the Southern states of the United States had when traveling to the Northern and Western portions of the U.S. The story in the book follows the lives of three different African-American individuals, each one migrating because of their respective issues in the South. The Northeast, West, and Midwest brought to them a sense of hope for a better lifestyle than the one that they were currently enduring in the racism-filled and discriminatory South. Just as the first immigrants from other countries came to the United States with a desire to attain a fresh start, each of these Black individuals was also in search of a better life, a promise to be fulfilled by American Society (Wilkerson). This Great Migration, just as the influx of immigrants during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, had particular goals in common as these individuals were all escaping from the horrors that were to be their lives if they stayed in their current situation. This book represented all of those feelings that immigrants feel when they set off to a new location. It represented American society to its fullest.
This book adds on to the notion of survival on which American society is built on. Because of American’s desire to be free and be able to voice their opinions, wars have been fought, injustices ended, and discrimination controlled. Wilkerson’s book represents all of this and more. It demonstrates an alternative view to the widely believed notion that the Great Migration was indeed what preceded the influx of drug violence, gang crimes, and severe poverty stricken ghettos that arose in the United States during those decades. Other novels have failed to capture the essence of the Great Migration and how it contributed greatly to the American society and its government. Discrimination is an unfortunate occurrence that is still very much present in American society today. However, this book, just like any book written about immigrants and their struggles, illustrates how families and individuals come to the United States of America with the hope of having a better future for themselves and their children. It is representative of the cycle that constantly occurs in the U.S. when it comes to immigration. Every couple of decades a new group of people, ethnically different from the immigrant groups before them, travel to the United States with the same hopes in mind — to better themselves. American society is one based on the belief that everyone could make it if enough hard work is put into one’s goals and aspirations. Wilkerson’s book encompasses this very notion.
LaFranchi, Howard. “Big Heels to Fill’: What John Kerry Signaled to State Dept. On His First Day ( Video).” The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 04 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. .
Elementary School Rampage – CBS News. (n.d.). Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News – CBS News. Retrieved February 7, 2013, from http://www.cbsnews.com/2718-201_162-2046/elementary-school-rampage/
Simon, Mallory. “Gun Debate: Where Is the Middle Ground?” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. .
“Inaugural Address.” Fifty-Seventh Inaugural Ceremonies to Swear-in the President of the United States. Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, 21 Jan. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. .
Honan, Edith, and Michaud, Chris. “Ed Koch, New York’s Colorful Longtime Former Mayor, Dies.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 01 Feb. 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2013.
Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. New York: Vintage, 2010. Print.
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