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Last week, the Experience covered how some Los Medanos College instructors are integrating the election into their lectures.
But we would like to suggest that more classes inject politics into classes every year, not just the fall semesters following the Summer Olympics.
Some instructors might object to this on the basis that classes should be depoliticized or unbiased, but the fact of the matter is that nearly all facets of life are political in one way or another, and having lessons centered around topical issues and their possible legislative remedies would be a good way for the college to produce better informed citizens.
Some instructors said that they do not even cover the election for fear of students viewing them as biased, as if having opinions threatens their credibility. Try as they might, the public opinion on the political leanings of college professors has long since sailed, and most lectures will slant right or left no matter what.
In fact, the misguided attempts by the media to remain neutral in the face of Donald Trump’s calls for various constitutional violations were in part responsible for him ending up as a major party nominee with a non-zero chance at the presidency. The urge to present both sides of some issues — the ethics of committing war crimes, vaccinating children versus not vaccinating, whether climate change is real — creates the illusion that both sides of an issue are equally valid, when that is often far from the truth.
Instructors don’t need to dodge issues entirely to appear unbiased, just be up front with their students on their biases like Professor Zimny. Over the course of a semester, Zimny states many times that he is a liberal, and that this worldview affects his opinions on the topic he is discussing that day, be it social security or regime changes. It’s a simple action that allows all parties to see where they are ideologically and look at the facts.
“So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of,” wrote Rolling Stone writer Hunter S. Thompson. “With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
Thompson understood the distinction between subjectivity and outright lying. “Saddam Hussein has nuclear weapons,” wasn’t a subjective view to be covered credulously by the media, but nevertheless, it was, and most of the war’s cheerleaders in the media are still there, only in positions of greater power, like editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg.
Just about every action — or inaction — in your day is a political one. Speaking up against (or for) American racial inequities is political. As Noam Chomsky said, there’s no standing still on a moving train — even your silence is political.
Even if instructors themselves are compelled to lean to one side or the other of the political spectrum, the diverse student body of Los Medanos College almost guarantees a wide range of opinions regardless of the instructor’s views.
Though it may not be as exciting as the presidential horse races, the real political battles are fought every day, in odd years as well as even. Our classes should reflect that.
April 10, 2017 – LMCAS Meeting 1:00 pm
April 17, 2017 – LMCAS Meeting 1:00 pm
April 24, 2017 – LMCAS Meeting 1:00 pm
May 1, 2017 – LMCAS Meeting 1:00 pm
May 8, 2017 – LMCAS Meeting 1:00 pm
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