- Bridging Two-Party Polarization in America (Likely topic): “My number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.” This quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell exemplifies the political gridlock that filled the Obama presidency with unprecedented instances of filibuster among other obstructionist tactics. The polarization of our senators is reflected in its constituents, a trend highlighted by the recent 2016 presidential election. Personally, I am most frustrated by the lack of civil discourse between voters on either side. Too often, I see debates degrade into uncivilized bickering and name-calling. This problem is only further exacerbated by online echo chambers and the epidemic of fake news on social media forums. I believe part of the problem is Citizens United: big pharmaceuticals, Wall Street, Super PACs, and the NRA are only some of the instances of large organizations drowning out individual opinions with money and influencing the politicians they back. Ultimately, I want to address the roots of political polarization in America and examine the policies that exist to tackle it.
- Civility and Order In Hacktivist Groups: Hacktivist groups like Anonymous use illegal methods like DoS attacks to forward their political agenda. I’m curious how these groups maintain organization without leaders and what code of ethics they adhere to.
- Activism Through Satire: Art is a powerful form of social commentary, and sometimes it’s precisely that witty satire that brings light to issues that often hide in plain sight. Since political satire often highlights problems but rarely offers solutions, I’m interested in examining the efficacy of satire as a form of protest.
- When Are Violent Protests Justified? There’s no doubt that images of burning houses and protestors fighting with police attract more media attention than sit-ins and picket signs. I want to explore the ethics of violent protests and the conditions under which they do more good than harm.
- Athlete Activism: By not standing during the national anthem, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a fury of polarized commentary on the military, BLM, and athlete activism. Is athlete activism justified, and if so what is the ideal means of protest?