Social Sciences Department Panel


This previous week the journalism department was fortunate to have a question-and-answer panel session with the instructors from the social sciences department of Jerome High School. The subject matter discussed ranged from their thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement to the invention of the automobile. A huge thank you to our social sciences department for their input. Please take a moment to read the answers given to our various questions. It was an insightful experience!


  1. Can you kind of explain how political parties have changed over time? 


Mr. Waitley- This question is way too broad to answer in this time frame. Mostly ideologies change and candidates and elected officials have led to changes. For example The election of 1800 is important. even called the revolution of 1800,first time in history different ideologies changed leadership without bloodshed. The election of Andrew Jackson is important. The election of Abraham Lincoln…he was a radical republican. Teddy Roosevelt (aka Waitleys favorite president)  pushed the republican party in a direction it didn’t want to go and he took his part of the party  with him when he ran for a third term as a third party, the Bull Moose party, then of course there is the role of political machines and the 17th amendment. Just a lot of stuff here you would want to look at to get an idea of why that happens.


Mr. Peterson- It should be taken into account that political issues change over time. Issues such as abortion or how to regulate the internet, so when these new issues come up each party decides where they stand on these issues. 


2. What was the shortest war in history? 


Ms. Peterson- (In the world) The 7 day war in Israel. 

Ms. Craig- In America it was the Spanish American War, which lasted sixteen weeks. 


3. What do you guys think about the Black Lives Matter Movement


Ms. Craig- That is a huge question. There is this feeling that their rights (African Americans) are still not equal to our rights. We don’t live in the same culture as the deep south or big city neighborhoods to grasp what the protesters are trying to push with the Black Lives Matter movement. If you look at history, violence does not get the same results as peaceful protests. The civil rights movement was successful because it was peaceful and I feel the media is more focused on the violent aspects of BLM and that is having a negative effect on the movement. 


Mr. Peterson- There’s tons of things I could say. I’m not sure what I want to share “on the record”. When we look at historical movements what gets chosen to be written about it depends on what is successful and what is not. The socialist movement was not successful and the civil rights movement was successful. We tend to write about the more successful movements. If this is successful and makes change history will be written about it while if it is not successful it will not be written about. What makes this movement different is that it is driven by social media rather than having a specific leader, which can be a good thing and not. If a leader is caught in a scandal that can hurt the movement, but also, if something negative happens there is not one to come out and give a speech about it to represent the group. For example, Dr. King was a leader of the Civil Rights movement and he could give a speech, but I don’t know of anyone specifically that is leading BLM. 


Mr. Carlisole- I feel it is bringing racism out and it is causing this country to take a look at our neighbors and understand who we are as a country. 


Mr. Peterson- I would like to add that a lot of the things that BLM is pushing towards seem like good ideas. Like police accountability, and I feel like if that was more of the focus it would be more successful. 


4. What was the first presidential debate like? 


Ms Craig- The first televised debate was in 1960 and that was between Kennedy and Nixon and it didn’t go well for Nixon. Kennedy was prepared for television. He wore makeup and he understood television. Nixon looked tired and old and didn’t wear makeup and that hurt him a lot in the view of American voters. 


5. Was the Civil War about Slavery


Mr. Waitley- Yes it was even if they try to sell you it was about states rights or the economy both of those other answers were born out of what happens when the south no longer has slavery. Just read the South Carolina document of succession it says the term slaves or slavery like 15 time or more. That being said there are definitely other things that played a role…Supreme Court Decisions, and whether states had were sovereign or not (federalism), and of course the economy played its role as well. Also foreign countries (Great Britain)


Mr. Peterson- Functionally, yes. If you were to ask the soldiers in the war (in the south) they would say no. They would say its states right. Which is the state’s rights to own slaves. They may say it was about unfair state legislation. What unfair legislation? The right to own slaves? I think the soldiers and people in the south were given this propaganda that it was about preserving their way of life. If you asked the soldiers that were fighting they would say no. On both sides. But if you asked the politicians, they would say yes. 


6. What was the first capital of the United States? 


Ms. Craig- New York City. 


7. How do you think COVID is going to affect this country? The election? The economy? 


Ms. Craig-  So, the economy has already bounced back. Not entirely, but it is on the rise. AS soon as COVID has run its course it should bounce back and we have already seen it bounce back from its initial slump. That seems hopeful, should things remain open. 


8. Who invented the automobile?


Ms. Craig- The first combustible engine was invented in the 1920s and the first automobile was put together in Germany by a guy named “Bens”. 


Mr. Peterson- I think we put too much attention on specific inventors and we don’t accept that inventions are based on the work of a previous person. 


9.  What do you think of the Space Force that was recently created. 


Mr. Peterson- It seems like a slight organization of what is already there. NASA is already a branch of the military. I believe it will be a historical footnote. 


10- Why did Obama win the presidency in 2008? 


Mr. Carliose- Because he won more votes. 


Mr. Waitley- In my opinion it was the message that he sold as well as how (the internet and beginnings of social media)…Also a big role was the age difference between him and Senator McCain and then of course we can add on the fact that McCains party felt they needed to pull the youth vote and female vote and chose a running mate that proved to be less than prepared for the job or the pressure and scrutiny that came with it. We also saw a larger number of voters that were younger 18-25 vote as well. A side note I believe the female vote will be what determines the outcome in 2020. Look at the number of women on both sides of the political spectrum that have gotten involved in running for office at all levels since the election of 2016  especially look at the number from 2018…they call it the surge.


Mr. Peterson-  don’t think you can underestimate how unpopular GW Bush was. He was literally the lowest rated president we had ever had. I feel that helped Obama’s campaign. I feel if you could have put McCain and Obama in a bubble the race would have been much closer, but just being associated with GW Bush affected his chances of winning. 


11. To what extent does our social class background affect our chances?


Ms. Craig- I feel strongly that poverty is a cycle. It is hard to get out of the cycle of poverty. Money opens doors and we have seen that, even in our community. I do feel social class can be determined and affects your life chances. I do think it is very difficult for someone to move out of poverty once they have lived in it for generations. 


Mr. Carlisle- I feel like it’s a mindshift. If you grow up poor and you are beat down your whole life then you are staying at the same level and thought process that perhaps your parents shared with you. This is the same for middle and upper class people as well. We teach our children what we know, so often people will stay in their class.