Tag Archives: american history

What’s Next?

It was great to see so many people step up and reach out to their perspective representatives in Washington D.C. letting them know how they need to really look at the language of the SOPA and PIPA bills that were coming up for a vote. The vote has actually been postponed and many who were for it are now against it. It even seems that the bill is not going to even come up for a vote anymore. That’s great news, everyone rallied around a few brands who had a good idea (Reddit, Wikipedia) to go dark for a day in protest. This caused other larger sites to participate in one way or another, Google blocking out their logo, WordPress having a plug-in for individual bloggers to have their site go dark for the day. Many friends on Facebook blocked out their photo, as well as on Twitter. Word spread quickly, and people rallied around it and Congress heard our collective voice and is taking action accordingly. Collectively, we gathered together and spoke up and now are being heard.

But what’s the next step? What else is on the horizon that we can speak up about? We can’t be one and done, can we? Let’s take our collective voice and tell Congress to get behind our President and support the American Jobs Act. It might not be perfect, but I’m sure with it passed, we can get many Americans back to work. Which major company or brand is going to speak out and get everyone on board? Will Wikipedia and Reddit take another stand? Will Google step up to the plate and educate the American people on how if Congress works together we can get people back to work and our unemployment numbers down? I’m hoping some of these brands I use on a daily basis will take an interest it what I care about the way we took an interest in what they care about.

Here’s hoping that someone will take notice and take a stand. It’s getting lonely over here. Let me know if you have any ideas on how we can get big names to speak up for the people. Let’s get this country back on the road to the promised land. Let’s bring hope back to the people.

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The Pioneer Spirit

“Pioneers! O Pioneers! Come my tan faced children…..” as Walt Whitman goes into his poem, you are brought into a world of the Pioneer Spirit. He was writing about a time when the country was expanding at leaps and bounds, a time when the promise of gold, land and a new beginning were just beyond the horizon. But, did you have the gumption to go forth?

I received an e-mail from my old college professor, Dr. Jack Sullivan. He invited me to a dinner he hosts.  We haven’t seen each other in quite some time and he wanted to make sure I would attend the American Studies major alumni dinner. I made sure to block out the date on my calendar, because he is someone I admire, respect and always look forward to spending time with. When I got to the dinner, I saw a few familiar faces, but mostly people I never met before. Since we all shared a common background, I knew we would have an enjoyable time. Towards the end of the event, a current AMS student came to meet up with Dr. Sullivan. She was writing her senior thesis and he wanted to give her draft back to her with his notes. I got caught up in their discussion, and remembered why I became an American Studies major.

I always enjoyed history, but American Studies was more diverse thinking. We studied literature, art, music and history. It is not for people who are unwilling to take a few chances. More than anything else, studying American culture past and present gives one the critical thinking skills that are invaluable in an ever-changing world. I was discussing with the current student that with my American Studies major, I was able to apply for a variety of different jobs right out of college, and I ended up in the publishing world. Since broader analytical and writing skills were necessary for American Studies, publishing seemed like a great fit. Jack stopped me and said, “you know Nick, you were one of my first American Studies majors. Usually students were American Studies majors along with another major, like education, or they were American Studies minors, with a major in something else. You were a pioneer.”

This had me thinking the whole ride home. I’m a pioneer, me, Nick DeVito, a pioneer. Of course it makes sense, why wouldn’t I be a pioneer? By the time I got home to talk to Katie, my head barely fit in the door, because of all the pioneer blood in me.  I told her the story, of course making sure to stress the fact that Jack, my advisor, my mentor, someone I respected, someone who is friends with Cornel West, called me, ME, a pioneer. I was ready to conquer anything at that moment.

After thinking about it a few days, and of course reminding Katie (over and over) that she married a pioneer, I came to a few conclusions. Yes, I am a pioneer.  I like to know about the past, so that I can learn from it for the future.  I like to be on the forefront of things, including; news, books, technology, new opinions/outlooks/thoughts.  I like to know what’s in the pipeline, what’s next, what’s new. I also like to look at things that don’t work, and change them, make processes easier, cut through the red tape. I actually never thought of myself as a pioneer, and I’m sure the folks who went westward at first didn’t either; they just wanted to know what was out there, what’s next, what’s new.  Get out there and find out.


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