People in every country of the world dream of freedom, good health and a responsible government. In spite of the fact that this is the goal of most of the world’s population it seems that mankind is far from achieving it. The newspapers and television tell us of widespread conflict and greed. This article will briefly discuss some of the problems facing our planet and provide an activity that leads the students to address some solutions.
As the world population increases we must consider ways to make our planet an adequate place for everyone. This includes thinking of ways to achieve responsible governments that will plan for housing, fresh water, employment, food supply and the rule of law. It also involves considering restrictions on government officials to control their greed for power and money.
The following activity is to be adapted to the needs of the students. It is a big subject, so we suggest that it be approached in small parts.
SETTLING ON ANOTHER PLANET
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NEW PLANET
The year is 2095. The planet Earth has become very overcrowded and polluted, so a colony is being established on another planet. You are among some of the lucky ones to be the first settlers. The constitution has been written. You are to make decisions describing the platforms of the two political parties. What do they think will be best for the people? This activity could involve more that one class session.
To begin, brainstorm names for your planet and vote by secret ballet or by raising hands.
It has been decided that your government must be a democratic two party system. The party names could be:
The Democratic Voter’s Party The Voter’s Action Party
These may be changed as appropriate. You are responsible for drawing up their platforms. That is, what laws will they pass? The party that appeals to the most people will win the election.
First, the class will divide into two groups. A party name will be assigned to each group. They will then vote to choose a leader and a secretary.
The party members will consider their priorities for topics listed below or any that they choose to add. The topics listed after each heading are suggestions only. You may decide not to address all topics in one session. Each party may decide what to include. Hopefully they will add some topics of their own.
Suggested Topics for Discussion
Public health – government run or private enterprise
Women’s rights – voting, job availability, salaries, childcare
Punishment of prisoners – death sentence, jail, community service
Environmental Pollution – large corporations, government control, environmentalists’ control
Immigration – restrictions
Each secretary will make notes about their groups possible answers to questions on these topics.
This process could be repeated for each topic or the Parties could discuss all of the topics before presenting their platform. (More questions may be asked, if time permits, when everyone has asked one question.)
Before starting, each Party should write their major decision for each topic on the whiteboard.
Now that you know what the parties would do, it is time for the election. It’s time to vote to decide which party will form the government.
The vote should be free allowing each individual to vote for either party.
We suggest that you vote by secret ballot.
Good luck with your government!