Recording of President Franklin D. Roosevelt: My friends, I want to talk to you today very simply about government. I am not going to refer to parties at all. But I am going to refer to some the fundamentals that antedate parties, antedate republics and empires, fundamentals that are as old as mankind itself. They are fundamentals that have been expressed in philosophers for I don’t know how many thousands of years…

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Prof. Sardo: That was the beginning of a radio address given by Franklin D. Roosevelt in Detroit, Michigan while campaigning for the presidency in 1932. In the speech, he refers to debates over the proper role and value of political institutions that have occurred in every political culture throughout history. During our times, in which we face a global pandemic, an economic recession, a looming climate crisis, erupting protests over racism and police violence, and what is likely to be a contentious and close presidential election in the fall, it is tempting to say that we should put politics aside. This line of thinking contends that politics is the problem and that we can better solve many of these challenges by separating them from politics. Given the level of vitriol, anger and resentment that characterize much of our political discourse, this argument is unsurprising. But what if these challenges not only cannot be separated from politics, but what if politics, understood as the means by which communities determine how their social worlds should be organized and structured, is necessary for resolving these crises?

Hi, my name is Professor Christopher sardo, and this is the Oxy Poli-Cast. I teach political theory here at Occidental College and this summer I’ll be exploring, with the help of colleagues here at the College and around the country and also Oxy students and alumni, the enduring importance of politics and how the study of politics can help us all better understand the world around us and be better empowered to make a difference in our local, national, and global communities in ways that matter to us.

Each week, I will be interviewing political scientists, students and Oxy alumni about their research, their studies, and Oxy experience, and the value of studying political science. These will be short episodes intended to spark curiosity and start conversations. I’ve got a great lineup of guests and topics for this summer. We’ll be talking about gender in politics and Vice President Biden’s running mate selection, the politics of social media, the important work that poll workers do on election day, the role of anger and emotions and racial politics in the United States, and the way that the NRA mobilizes its political membership. We’ll also be checking in with students, alumni and faculty about the great opportunities to study and get involved in politics offered here at Occidental College.

I hope you’ll tune in for what should be a great series of conversations. You can also check out our weekly news– newsletter, where I’ll be collecting a roundup of top political news that week as well as highlighting Oxy faculty and students. All of this information can be found at www.oxypoli-cast. That’s o x y p o l i–c a s t.oxycreates.org. The link is in the show notes, so don’t forget to tune in. Next week, I’ll be interviewing Professor Mara Suttmann-Lea from Connecticut College about poll workers and election law. Thanks for listening.

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