(Ryan Gesund, May 31, 2017)
Berkley, MI – Dr. Alex Zamalin-Assistant Professor of Political Science at University Of Detroit Mercy gave a class titled Civics 101, at the Berkley Library which mainly dealt with the checks and balances in the federal government. This included why they were created, the checks and balances and separation of powers in each branch of government: Legislative, Executive Branch. and the Court system.
Then we got into the questions and answer segment.
The first question, by Berkley City Councilman Steve Baker, was regarding Gerrymandering. According to Dr. Zamalin, gerrymandering is Constitutional, as long as it isn’t done to promote racial discrimination. This also served as a lead in to the next question concerning the Electoral College which Zamalin said was created to limit the power of the slave states.
Attendees were also curious about the process and steps for Impeachment. Zamalin noted that in our nation’s history no President had ever been removed from office by impeachment. Nixon resigned. Clinton was impeached, but according to Zamalin it actually strengthened and legitimized his Presidency.
Zamalin cautioned that those seeking to undermine or remove President Trump from office should not rely on the institutions to save them, that rather the power of the people is the ultimate check on the power of the government. He also shared some opinions, such as that, based on his constitutional expertise that Citizens United (unlimited campaign contributions by Corporations) was safe for the foreseeable future, and that, in his opinion, the Republicans would not attempt to overturn Roe V Wade because it would remove an important wedge issue for them to run campaigns on.
There was also talk of the Bernie and Hillary phenomenon, and the rise of socialism among the liberal, or progressive left. He warned that the young should not let themselves be co-opted by corporate influence. The video below shows Zamalin cautioning people to be skeptical about brand loyalty based on messaging, when in reality many companies with positive social messages engage in practices that may not line up with the values they are using to sell their products.
According to his biography at University of Detroit, Zamalin is “Director of the African American Studies Program and Assistant Professor, Political Science. His areas of expertise include African American political thought, American politics and political theory. He is the author of “African American Political Thought and American Culture: The Nation’s Struggle for Racial Justice” (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), “Struggle on Their Minds: The Political Thought of African American Resistance” (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017) and co-editor of “American Political Thought: An Alternative View” (New York: Routledge, 2017). His work on race, political theory and social justice has appeared in “New Political Science and Women’s Studies Quarterly”.
Learn more about the Berkley Public Library at http://www.berkley.lib.mi.us/index.shtml.