Thursday, June 28, 2012

"The Ends Justify the Means." -Machiavelli

...At least that's the excuse Jefferson used during the aquisition of the Louisiana territory.

I had a broad sense of knowledge about Jefferson's appararent abandonment of states' rights and strict constructionism when he decided to purchase the territory from the French in 1803, but today with Dr.Porwancher, we dug deeper as to why he actually made this shocking decision. After our intensive discussion, we came to the realization that in reality, both states' rights and strict constructionism were ancillary to the greater good of republicanism and what he called the "Empire of Liberty." Although he is constantly accused of selling out his ideals, he was simply taking the steps he deemed necessary on his path towards liberty and ensuring the national security of his nation.

Today was probably my favorite day in class today. During our discussion about last night's article by Barry J. Balleck, "When the Ends Justify the Means: Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase," I contributed a lot to the discussion and rose my hand as often as I could whenever I felt like I had a good point to say. What made the discussion even more interesting, however, was due to the fact that often times I would disagree with one of the students and we would discuss our view points and learn a little from what each of us had to say.

The discussion only lasted for an hour today because Dr.Porwancher had arranged a guest speaker to visit our classroom. Her name was Kelly Dougherty, and she arranged for us an interactive debate-like session amongst our peers. As soon as we realized it was a "debate-like" activity, Aurea and I looked at each and smiled with glistening eyes because we both knew this would be exciting. Aurea and I are policy debate partners at Pinole Valley High School, which is considered the most intense and rigorous type of debate. Already use to the competitive nature and intensity of policy debate, I started heavily taking notes as Mrs.Dougherty would speak to us about the recent discussions about banning 16 ounce sodas from the state of New York. I looked across at Aurea and realized that she too was taking notes and jotting down every potential counter-argument and disadvantage. We chuckled realizing that we were the only two students in that class that were this heavily engaged in the activity even before it started.

After giving us some background knowledge of the plan, Mrs.Dougherty divided us into three distinct groups; the big businesses, the mayor, and the consumers. Aurea, Shayon, Hailey, and I were conveniently chosen as the consumers. I say "conveniently" because that was the group I was actually hoping to be a part of because I sympathized most for the typical New Yorkers.

We had 5 minutes to discuss with our group the importance of the issue at hand, our opinions on it, and the best solution for the problem. During the discussion, I had so much to say that at a certain point I realized a lot of the individuals of the other groups conclude their discussion and listen to me speak to my group. I was delighted when Hailey said to me in the midst of my discussion, "Okay, your going to be our speaker."
When the time was called, the mayor and the business group presented first, and our group was designated to go last. I constantly looked at the time to make sure I had enough time to present all my points, because I did have a lot to say.
To name a few;
1. The city of San Francisco recently decided to ban the toy from Happy Meals in McDonalds. People who still like to get the toy visit the nearby McDonalds chain right outside the city and get the toy they've been constantly seeing on the advertisements on televison. Similarly, the city of New York is only banning the soda from certain areas, not all. For example, Seven Eleven is still permitted to sell sodas larger than 16 ounces, so if someone really wanted a liters-sized soda, they can simply walk down to a 7/11 or any other store that does permit the sale and purchase what they choose.
2. We already have things in other states to lessen the sale of such beverages with the form of CRV tax, but it really does not make much of a difference.
Research Time!
3. New York is already expensive, and all this really does is create an advantage for big businesses because it permits the purchase of several 16 ounce bottles of sugary soda, but not one. So consumers who are already accostumed to drinking soda regularly must resort to paying more money for the product they payed less for. However, on the other hand, this "potential law" will not also try to prevent the selling of sugary juices, energy drinks, candy, diet soda, or anything of the sort. So in reality, the rich will continue to purchase the drinks while the poor must simply resort to other equally unhealthy beverages.
4. More people will begin purchasing diet soda instead for the monetary benefits of enjoying the same favorite drink at a cheaper price. Diet soda is commonly known to be a leading cause of cancer, thus, by trying to fix the prominent obesity issue in the city of New York, they are in reality unknowingly contributing to an even larger issue.
5. Although advocating the harms of the beverage is a relatively obvious approach towards dealing with the problem, the same type of approach would be evident in the case of teenagers when first granted the the right to legally drive. Although we all know the causes of driving fast and listening to loud music, we never really think those worst case scenerios would ever effect US. The same would go to diabetes and the endless people who smoke everyday regardless of the nasty images on the boxes that warn us of what may happen to our lungs in the future. We know it's true, but does that stop us from consumption? Especially with the endless ways to get around the law in New York, the law will only serve as an inconvenience to the public and ultimately solve little to nothing.
The list of points I had were endless and still continued past what I had previously mentioned. However, I was stopped halfway because it was unfortunately time to leave for lunch, but my professor did point out that he appreciated my enthusiasm.
Regardless, I did stay shortly to speak a little more to Mrs.Dougherty on the issue after class, but it was clear that both her and the professor were ready to leave as well so I cut it as short as I could.
Overall, I truly enjoyed today's seminar.

On the other hand, the rest of the day was pretty typical. I did not go to trips of any sort after the library session, instead I chatted more with my new friend Brittany and ate dinner with a group of students at the dining center. It was a lot of fun because we got a lot of laughs out of our discussions! I enjoyed being with them and invited them up to my suite to watch the NBA drafts in our living room area. While they enjoyed watching television, I just sat in my room endlessly reading my articles for class and typing away my blog.
Today was simply an enjoyable day, and tomorrow will be even better. Maroon 5 here I come!

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