Thursday, 25 September 2014

Yellowstone National Park

Hey guys, I just thought I'd post a few images of Yellowstone for those of you who didn't know what it was.

The Nat Geo website has a bit more info about it, click here
And a quick Google images search kicks out a bounty of stunning pictures, click here

Not sure if I am supposed to post this kind of stuff here but i thought you might be interested!

Bald Eagle vs. The Ghettos

This is an iconic image due to the reason the bald eagle was chosen to be America's emblem which is it's long life and strength not to mention the almost 'pure' beauty of the bird. Often the Bald Eagle and the Stars and Stripes are combined to form an emotive illustration of freedom and power, the eagle also gives a sense of domination that it seems America believes it has over other countries and cultures. This belief gives the American people a sense of liberty which is powered by the Government and they believe almost anyone is therefore able to achieve greatness.

When I look at this picture I don't think 'that must be what liberty is' I ask myself 'how could a government allow someone to live like that?' The idea of liberty is freedom from oppression mainly from a place of authority, that authority could be the bus driver who picks you up, to your employer or predominantly the government. This image is iconic because when you think of an American ghetto you don't think of a middle aged white male, you think of a young black male as seen in this picture, ask yourself why that is and for me it's because you know there is still oppression and racism in America no matter how much they try to deny it which completely negates the idea of liberty.

Image 1:
Image 2:

America's Association with Liberty

1. The 'Black Power' salute of the 1968 summer Olympics. Tommie Smith (centre), Peter Norman (left) and John Carlos (right)

African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised a black gloved fist and bowed their heads during the American national anthem after winning gold and bronze medals in the 200m sprint in the 1968 summer Olympics, sparking either outrage or hope in their fellow Americans.
Both Smith and Carlos wore a black glove and black socks with no shoes to symbolize black unity and black poverty in racist America; Smith also wore a black scarf symbolizing black pride, although contradictory to popular belief the silent protest was not a gesture of 'black power' but it was a 'human rights salute' aiming to bring attention to the inequality in the country at the time.
I believe that this image affirms the association between America and liberty. Although at the time their protest caused mass controversy within the country; for two African American men to stand in front of their country and the world to show that the civil rights movement had not gone far enough was brave and valiant and protests such as this have guided and built America into a more equal and openly diverse country.

2. Liberty vs. Anarchy
To me, this image negates the association between America and liberty. The American government are slowly becoming more and more oppressive and some people would argue that they are taking away some of their constitutional and human rights and that their freedom is being infringed upon. However without government and laws there would be anarchy which proposes the idea of semi-freedom; doing as you wish within the set boundaries without taking 'liberties'.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Icons of America

Image 1: The statue of liberty 

The statue of liberty was originally a gift from France as a symbol of the alliance between the two countries during the American Revolution, but it has now become an iconic symbol of liberty. The statue of liberty is located near Ellis Island which was the place of arrival for about 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954. This meant that the first distinctive thing seen by the millions of immigrants who were entering America in search of the ‘American Dream’ was the statue of liberty, thus it became a symbol of hope and freedom.

Although, it acts as a symbol of liberty there have been attempts to close America’s borders, such as the immigration control and reform act of 1986, which contradicts the idea of liberty for all and show’s a more narrow idea of liberty only for those already classed as legal American citizens. 

Image 2: Police

When I think of America I think of the police, whether it’s a city cop or a Sheriff it is still a distinctive icon of American freedom. The American police are supposed to enforce the law so as to maintain the freedom of America, yet there have been increasing numbers of incidents of unnecessary police brutality and other unlawful behaviour.
Of the 6,613 police officers who were involved in alleged cases of misconduct in 2010, 1,575 were involved in reports of excessive force. Where as in 2009 only 1,457 police officers were cited as being involved in police misconduct. This shows a marked increase in police misconduct over a period of just one year. This negates the link between America and liberty as the very thing put in place to uphold this liberty is affected by corruption. How can a country claim to be the country of the free when those who live there are harmed by the very people put in place to protect their freedom? 
     On the other hand, this relatively small number of cases of misconduct could be seen as the price to pay for liberty. 

Icons of America

Image 1: President Obama

President Obama is a recognizable icon of America from all over the world. I believe he affirms the association between America and liberty as he represents African Americans and how they are no longer treated as slaves but instead can now be viewed as leaders. Obama has also fought for American liberty promoting his support of equality for women and same sex marriages.

Image 2: The American Dollar Bill

This bill is iconic to America as it has been used as currency since 1786. The American Dollar questions and negates liberty of religion through the phrase printed on the back which says "IN GOD WE TRUST". This phrase suggests that to be American you have to believe in God. Some people living in the United States are discriminated against today because they are atheist or follow another religion and as a result of this they may not have the same opportunities as a Christian American would have when it comes down to military, health care and education.


Icons of America

Image 1: The American Flag
This image is iconic of America because of what it represents and stands for and when most people see the U.S flag they automatically know that it is associated with the U.S. This image affirms the association between America and liberty because it represents freedom "embody American freedom".Also, because the "white stripes stand for liberty". So this image is positive because it shows that liberty is related to America because of what it represents.

There is also a flag code which is the Federal Law relating to displaying the flag. In the flag code it states that, "No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." This shows that America and liberty are associated together because the flag represents freedom and the flag code is suggesting that the flag is so special that you shouldn't show any disrespect to it.

With flying the flag it states; "It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during hours of darkness."

Also, you "pledge allegiance to the flag" when you say the Pledge of Allegiance and this is positive because within the Pledge it states "with liberty" which relates to the American flag being associated with liberty.

Image 2: The Confederate Flag
This image is iconic of America because it is associated with America and it's history because of slavery and segregation during the civil war. This questions and negates the association between America and liberty because it was flown a lot during the civil war, in the south who were "mostly people in favour of states rights". So I think that the Confederate flag also shows that America isn't and hasn't always been a free nation that is associated with liberty.

An example of when the confederate flag has been controversial is when people in America have flown the flag because they believe that it doesn't represent slavery; "it's really about honoring the confederate soldiers who gave their lives." - Barry Isenhour. Barry also said that "If you're going to be offended by a flag, why not the Union Jack?" This shows that there is controversy with the flag because some people don't see a problem flying it and think that people should be offended by other flags because of history.

While others think that you shouldn't be proud of flying the Confederate flag as it reminds people of racism and slavery. "I wouldn't be proud of waving a flag that has an ambiance of racism and negativity." - Clenora Hudson-Weens.

Another example was when there was a proposal to fly a huge Confederate flag outside the state capital, Richmond in Virginia. This proposal had problems because people either believed that the flag reminded people of slavery during the Civil War whilst others saw it as a sign of respect.

There are states where flying the Confederate flag has been banned, however because of the First Amendment to the U.S Constitution people are allowed to fly the Confederate flag on their own property. But on government buildings there are restrictions. California is a state where you can't buy or fly the Confederate flag (May 2014). South Carolina passed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the top of the State House dome in 2000, 12th April.