My Top 5 Reads, Listens & Views of the Month
Civics-related content that made me pause, grumble, think, or smile
May 7, 2020
Pick #1 — Gen Z was fed up with the status quo. Coronavirus could affirm their beliefs.
Gen Z was fed up with the status quo. Coronavirus could affirm their beliefs.
High school senior Emma Rehac can't help but feel resentful as leaders across the country scramble to keep families…
I’m always fascinated by generational dynamics and how life course and historic events shape the characteristics of entire blocks of the population. This article discusses how Coronavirus will further emphasize the predominantly left-leaning political beliefs of the youngest generation of adults and rising adults, Gen Z.
Remarkably, despite heavier participation and outspoken activism than youth in generations before, the article points out that the predominant narrative on young people in the U.S. in the wake of Coronavirus has surrounded the spring break partiers in Florida who chose to selfishly put their own pleasure above the health of themselves and their communities.
How unfortunate that this minority is what many adults remember as we emerge from a crisis that desparately needs leadership and perspectives of Gen Z and other young Americans to rethink the way our society should live moving forward.
Pick #2 — We’re Not ‘All in it Together’
We're Not 'All in It Together'
Garrett M. Graff: What Americans are doing now is beautiful After many decades of truancy, when our markets and…
“People make choices. Choices make history”. So reads the slogan from Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit that focuses on historical remembrance to teach about moral decision-making.
This thoughtful reflection on the Corona crisis’ impact on our civic fabric makes an important point that we have a choice as individuals that will shape our collective approach and shape our national character. Liu argues that in the face of other recent crises —like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing — Americans haven’t risen to the challenge to come together to put one another before ourselves.
In the early days of the crisis, I also noticed an unusual aura of solidarity. Knowing that all those around me faced a common enemy felt uniting.
For me at least, this feeling has abated in the weeks since, replaced by the realization that this “common enemy” will strike us all in different ways and to different extents, depending on class, race, age, etc. The political polarization of the crisis that has emerged in the U.S. is another sign that this may be yet another missed opportunity for civic strengthening of our society.
Pick #3 — World War COVID-19: Who Bleeds, Who Pays?
World War COVID-19: Who Bleeds, Who Pays?
"It's a medical war," President Trump declared of the coronavirus on March 18. The commander in chief then cast himself…
This opinion piece puts into certain terms the concerning, albeit disparate sacrifices that young and old are faced with as a result of Covid-19. Older generations are faced with an unprecedented health threat, while younger generations will bear the brunt of the economic fallout that will certainly impact them far into the future.
This is creating a too-seldom spoken about generational divide that will continue to make finding suitable solutions to the crisis difficult.
How can government make an ethical decision that pits human life in the short term against long term well-being of individuals and society as a whole? Or do we have to choose? Is it possible to enusure both?
Pick #4 — Put ‘Screen Time’ Debates to Rest by Making Kids Leaders
Put 'Screen Time' Debates to Rest by Making Kids Leaders - EdSurge News
In the last six weeks, I've spoken with educators and parents all over the country, conducting virtual workshops to…
In February, I had the opportunity to attend an Erasmus+ Training Course in Weimar, Germany that focused on two youth work competences using a Self-Designed Learning process.
Rather than a structured six-day training course with presentations and structured coffee breaks, we spent half of the week developing topics, forming our own groups, and fully deciding how to spend our time and what our final outcome would be (if we even decided to have one).
My discomfort with the assignment was acute. I quickly realized I had never truly been offered the opportunity to entirely and completely decide what I wanted to learn and how I wanted to learn it.
Turns out, you have to learn how to learn.
My project for this year is much the same. I have the generous support and advisement of my host institute, but aside from that, I have free reign to design a project and the freedom each day to decide how to reach my end goal.
No wonder I’ve found it to be one of the most difficult professional ventures I’ve yet undertaken.
All that being said, this article on how to let kids take the lead in their learning makes a strong point that I can personally connect with. Giving young people the opportunity to make decisions at a young age is a lesson in learning itself.
Young people are curious, creative and entrepreneurial, and the current crisis gives us the opportunity to encourage stretching those “muscles”.
Pick #5— Why Merkel-Mania is flourishing in the USA (translated)
Warum in den USA die Merkel-Mania floriert
Wenn amerikanische Medien ihre Brillen mit den rosaroten Gläsern aufsetzen, sehen sie in Angela Merkel eine gelernte…
This piece from the German-language Tagesspiegel (if you’re an English-speaker, Google Translate works wonders) is a reflection from the German perspective on US opinion of Angela Merkel in regard to the crisis. Although Merkel faces tough criticism from the left as an often too-cautious leader that waits for public opinion to guide her decisions on issues like gay marriage and the environment, it is undeniable that her collected approach to the crisis lies in stark contrast to current U.S. leadership.
I have often reflected recently on how the situation might differ had it occurred under Barack Obama’s leadership, and I imagine it would have been much closer to Merkel’s clear, science-based approach. Although the situation has been challenging here in Germany as it has in much of the rest of the world, it is now taking slow steps toward reopening and medical capacity is enough to make support available to neighboring countries.
Of course, these successes can’t be credited entirely to Merkel’s leadership. As a federal system, decisions are left in large part to state governments, much like in the U.S. A further comparison of how these two federal systems have handled the crisis in starkly divergent ways would be interesting.