033 – Political Capital … Really?


Many of my fellow debaters who have any clue about the politics disadvantage should know what political capital theory is. For those who do not, I’ll summarize it in the following sentences. Congressional debate and conflict threaten or promote various bills and laws. However, with a high amount of political clout or capital, a president can influence the direction of  certain policies with speeches, press conferences, meetings, and et cetera. Although this has been a theory that has been circulating for a while now and has come to be accepted amongst a large group of people, does this idea still hold weight in our current society?

If we look back to the early twentieth century, we can see the massive presidential influence the executive had on the other branches of government. “Teddy” Roosevelt had a profound effect on the United States and the world abroad with his big stick (realist) policy in international relations. The  other Roosevelt known as FDR was able to influence congress to pass countless bills through the legislative branch with ease. Even charismatic JFK was able to convince a nation that it was the United States’ duty to go to the moon. However, with the election and promise of an equally as charismatic president with Obama, why haven’t the same sweeping congressional agreement and seemingly unilateral work been seen today?

The Problem

I have a few theories.

The problem begins with  the fact that there is no singular problem, or enemy that the government has to deal with that can be used to rally a nation. Franklin Roosevelt had the failures of Hoover and the Depression to campaign on and John F. Kennedy had the “evil” Russians during the Cold war. However, I think that a striking lack of a conceptual or tangible “enemy” figure in the War on Terrorism (or even a recovering recession) makes it a lot harder for citizens and congress to feel a nee to cooperate with a powerful leader figure like the President.

Second, the voters and people today seem to be a lot more aware of government. With the onset of the internet and mass-communication, political gaffs, problems, and the proliferation of sexual harassment charges have made government into something that is respected or looked up to, but rather as a monolithic symbol for corruption. The fact that a President was almost impeached due to policies outside of the office in the case of Bill Clinton compared to a more justifiable impeachment of Andrew Jackson is a testament to the growing skepticism placed on government. the Occupy Wallstreet and Tea Party movements are additional examples of a tangible chaos in American society that makes the prospects of a history making, inspirational speech by Obama less likely.

Finally, people now are simply more aware. With the internet, details of specific laws and bills have been placed out for the public to view. No longer does the caring voter have to take the president at his words. Now they can hear and watch him, scrutinize everything that he says and comparing his words the contents of specific bills. The importance of having great ethos and diction is lost when voters simply read and choose.


Although political capital is only a component of political theory itself, I think that is an integral part of the president’s job to have a high amount of poltiical clout to get thngs done. But, I’m wondering whether or not those days of clean, cut, and well communicated pleas can be taken seriously anymore. Are we headed to a power grab by the legisltive branch of government?




032.5 – Because the next post is taking a while…

I tried coloring this time. It turned out okay I guess. Anyways, get ready for that post about China. Hopefully I can change some opinions about the country

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032.5 – What did I get? Part Two

So another random doodle for you today. This one is Marissa from the Touhou series. Or at least as accurately I could. Still not too great at appendages, some ratio issues, eyes, and terrible at coloring. But  I think I’m not bad at the first sketch. Haha. The Wacom Bamboo Create tablet is really living up to expectations. Although I thought it would be hard to draw while looking away from the tablet and at the monitor, I can say that it only took about thirty minutes to get used to.

I’m rambling. Anyways probably the last “for fun” post in a while. Get ready for some new interesting posts. Next one will be Chinese International Relations with a little visual aid from the ole’ tablet.

032 – What did I get?

You bet your sweet self I did. Efficiency, get!

Aphorism #2

When you say that we got off on the wrong foot, which foot was the wrong one?

031 – I love Languages

I'm happiness. And I have a story.

I love languages. If I had the time and money, I would dedicate a large portion of my life to learning as many languages as I can. Culture, lifestyle, religion, and philosophies of the areas that speak a given language are intrinsically tied to that language. Being blessed with living in a Chinese family, I had the lucky stars of understanding and communicating in two languages with Spanish and hopefully Japanese and German on the way. And in that time, I have noticed a few things about linguistics just from looking around.

We all know that English words are compounded composed of roots from German, Greek, and Latin. There is a certain, direct, and clear interpretation of the etymology of many of these words. However, when we move into other languages, and especially non-phonetic languages like Chinese, the traditional, root etymology shifts into a more abstract and less outlined realm.

Chinese has a certain qualm to it that I find extremely intriguing: its etymology. Every word in the Chinese language has an interesting background to it and the fact that it is not a phonetic language makes the etymology all the more unique as well as convey part of a culture that doesn’t exist elsewhere. For example, the word for family, jia ( 家) is visually interpretative. The word contains a bracket at the top – an obvious roof on our proverbial house. Below the roof is part of the word meaning “pig.” This can either mean the people are literally pigs cuddle up under the roof or in our Chinese agricultural culture, the pigs we keep around the house. Other words like 福 (fu) meaning happiness is also an interesting window into Chinese culture as well. The left hand character is related to the meaning of clothes and the right hand can be interpreted as (yi ko tian) or 一口田 (田 being the visual representation of a rice patty) which can be thought of as unit of measure for “a single rice patty.” Thus, as the Chinese would believe: happiness is clothes and some land and food.

But not only does Chinese have a basis in the culture of the Chinese people, the culture has a basis in the language as well. Calligraphy, writing as a form of art, is especially widespread in Asian cultures. Although English in the feudal and Anglo-Saxon eras had a form of word art, that form of calligraphy placed images within the text. However, Chinese caligraphy permutes the language, creating art out of the text itself. Waves, lines, curves, flowing together as a piece of art: a interesting look into  a culture that is focuses on the beauty of nature, water and the like.

Languages do reveal a lot about culture. Although I really aren’t familiar with the culture and histories behind the western and latin based languages, hopefully learning and experiencing these languages will allow me to have a better grasp on their culture and forms of communication. Man, I love languages.


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Aphorism #1

The hierarchy of life is like a tower of Jenga blocks: the bottom blocks are often forgotten but are holding the foundation together.


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