The World and Everything in It — October 28, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Political campaigns have changed with COVID-19. Temporary changes, or here to stay? We’ll talk about it.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.

Also, World Tour.

Plus some farmers are growing a social media following.

And WORLD founder Joel Belz on a more meaningful way to teach history.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, October 28th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Barrett takes judicial oath » Newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett took her judicial oath in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court Tuesday. 

Justices have to take two oaths before executing the duties of their office. Barrett took the first of those two, the constitutional oath, at the White House Monday night. 

BARRETT: The oath that I have solemnly taken means at its core that I will do my job without any fear or favor. 

Her confirmation remains a political flashpoint in Washington. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday…

SCHUMER: Instead of paying attention to the needs of New Yorkers and the needs of Americans, they have rammed through an extreme right-wing nominee through the Supreme Court. 

But Republican Senator Mike Lee fired back…

LEE: The reason why this is making the heads of Democrats explode everywhere is that they don’t want the courts to be limited to judging institutions. They want them to be institutions of social change, of social policy. 

With just six days to go until Election Day, Barrett’s confirmation is ratcheting up pressure on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to declare whether he backs packing the Supreme Court. 

Biden recently said he will state a clear position before November 3rd on whether he’ll support expanding the high court to erase a presumed conservative majority. 

High court won’t extend Wisconsin’s absentee ballot deadline » Meantime, the Supreme Court has ruled that Wisconsin cannot count mail-in ballots received nearly a week after Election Day. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: In a 5-3 order, the justices refused to reinstate a lower court order. That order had called for mailed ballots to be counted if they are received up to six days after the Nov. 3rd election. A federal appeals court had already put that order on hold.

The high court issued the order just before the Senate confirmed Justice Barrett to the court. 

The three liberal justices dissented.

Chief Justice John Roberts last week joined the liberals to preserve a Pennsylvania state court order extending the absentee ballot deadline. But he voted the other way in the Wisconsin case.

Roberts wrote that “Different bodies of law and different precedents govern” the two separate cases.  

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Hurricane warning for New Orleans as Zeta takes aim » Louisiana is under another hurricane warning. 

Hurricane Zeta appears to be taking aim at New Orleans and could slam the coast tonight. It would be the fifth named storm to hit the state since June. 

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards… 

EDWARDS: We continue to have individuals in shelters in Louisiana from Hurricanes Laura and Delta, a total of 3,587 of them. 

Right now, forecasters expect Zeta to strike the Gulf Coast as a Category 1. As of early this morning, Zeta’s track still wasn’t certain. Robbie Berg with the National Hurricane Center said the storm could strike further to the east. 

BERG: If it stays a little bit to the west it can move on shore earlier across Louisiana. But if it moves a little bit more to the east to the right of the track, it could stay out over the water longer before it reaches the coast of say Mississippi or Alabama. 

Zeta made landfall Monday night as a Category 1 hurricane just north of the ancient Mayan city of Tulum. It’s currently spinning over the Gulf of Mexico.  

Philadelphia mayor calls for peace following police shooting, riots » AUDIO: [Sound of protest]

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is calling for calm after violent protests broke out in his city over a police shooting. The Democratic mayor told the public on Tuesday…

KENNEY: I know that many Philadelphians are feeling frustrated and outraged following yesterday’s tragic incident. I fully support your First Amendment rights to protest. But we also want to ensure that our communities are not further hurt as a result.

On Monday, officers responded to a report of a person with a weapon. 

Cell phone video showed a 27-year-old black man, later identified as Walter Wallace, advancing toward two officers while holding up a knife. 

The officers backed away into the street and police spokesman Sergeant Eric Gripp described what happened next. 

GRIPP: The male continued to follow after the officers while brandishing the weapon. The officers ordered him to drop it several more times. He unfortunately did not and the officers discharged their weapons several times, striking the male. [gun shots]

The bullets struck Wallace in the shoulder and chest. One of the officers then put him in a patrol car and drove him to a hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead a short time later.

Hundreds took to the streets Monday and Tuesday, some setting police cars and dumpsters on fire as police struggled to contain the crowds. Some protesters also threw bricks and rocks at police, injuring 30 officers.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: the final days of an unprecedented presidential campaign.

Plus, Joel Belz with a proposal for teaching history.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Wednesday, October 28th, 2020. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. By this time next week, all the votes will be in, although they might not all be counted.

We may know who our next president will be. Or we may have to wait awhile.  No matter what happens, we know that God is sovereign.

EICHER: And to help remind us all of that truth, we will be sharing special prayers and Scripture readings at the end of every program next week. 

If you want to participate, you can add your special prayers or passages of Scripture, we’d love to hear you and possibly share that on the program. So if you’d like, just make a recording using your smartphone’s voice memo app and email it to us at [email protected].

REICHARD: [email protected]

Well, I think if we had to pick one word to describe 2020 and this presidential campaign, “unprecedented” would be a top contender.

EICHER: If not the runaway favorite!

REICHARD: Yeah, this White House campaign tosses the old playbook out the window—from debates, to rallies, to door-knocking, this race requires a new playbook. 

No more kissing babies. Or shaking hands.

EICHER: No photo-ops at local diners.

REICHARD: All because of COVID.

Four years from now that probably won’t be a factor…

EICHER: Lord willing!

REICHARD: …but will the lessons learned from this unprecedented campaign carry over into future political contests?

Well, it’s Washington Wednesday, and joining us now to dissect the potential for new campaign trends is Mark Caleb Smith. He’s a political science professor at Cedarville University, a Christian college in Cedarville, Ohio. Welcome back to the program, professor!

MARK CALEB SMITH, GUEST: Hey, it’s always good to be with you. 

REICHARD: During the 19th century, presidential contenders traveled across the country on trains. That’s where we get the term whistle stop tours. And while it’s not the norm these days, campaigning by train isn’t completely passé. Joe Biden took a short whistle stop tour of Pennsylvania last month after the first presidential debate.

But that kind of campaigning, by any mode of transportation, was the exception this year. For months, Joe Biden conducted much of his campaign from his basement! Do you think that’s prompted any kind of paradigm shift when it comes to travel? Will it continue to be a campaign staple post-pandemic?

SMITH: My guess is you will continue to see significant travel post-pandemic. There are just a lot of benefits to travel. It really gives some focus to local volunteers. So when a presidential campaign rolls into a town, then local volunteers have something to get excited about and get motivated about. It’s also a good way to generate enthusiasm with supporters. And so what their campaigns are trying to do is to build a bandwagon. They’re trying to get as many people on as they can, and if they think traveling will have some sort of benefits to that, they’re going to keep doing it. I think they’d have to see some really interesting evidence from the election this year to decide, you know what, maybe we should cut back on travel. You said Joe Biden has conducted much of his campaign in his basement. That’s true, but in 1896, as you may know, William McKinley conducted almost all of his campaign from the front porch of his house. So, William Jennings Bryan is traveling across the country on a train and McKinley is sitting on his front porch campaigning. And so it’s interesting, right? It’s interesting to think about how campaigns have used travel positively and negatively over the years.

REICHARD: Yeah, it is. You know, social media has become as important if not more important than just about all other forms of traditional campaigning in the physical form. That’s obviously not new this year, but the pandemic has perhaps accelerated its importance. Do you think that trend will continue or do anticipate pushback in response to some of the unrelated efforts to reign in Big Tech?

SMITH: I think it’s going to continue. Social media is becoming one of the dominant influences on our campaigns and elections. It’s just an incredibly valuable tool for campaigns to just present information to voters without a filter. There’s no media filter. There’s very little cost involved, at least in terms of the pure mechanics of it. Now, granted it’s going to cost them to maybe put a good shine on those ads, for example, and to make them high production value. But on the whole, it’s cheaper than other forms of communication. I think for me, as a political scientist, I’m interested in seeing whether it fully replaces other forms of media altogether. So, are we going to see television advertising go down dramatically over the years? Are we going to see complete eradication of radio or print advertising? Those seem to be going away to some extent. And so it’d be interesting to see if social media really supplants all other forms of media.

REICHARD: When candidates did travel this year, they focused on battleground states. Of course, there’s always been some of that, but it seemed exacerbated this year because they did so little traveling. But do you think this heavy emphasis on just a few states is going to continue? And if so, what effect will that have on other parts of the campaigns?

SMITH: We’ve been seeing it for a generation, really, almost where the Electoral College map has been divided in such a way that there’s a pretty big block of states that go overwhelmingly Republican, a pretty big block of states that go overwhelmingly Democratic, and then there are just a few true battleground states. I think what this actually does is it’s going to create more and more people saying we need to reform the Electoral College because right now it seems like the campaigns just overwhelmingly focus on a handful of states and the rest of the country gets very little interest. If there’s some kind of reform, then maybe you’d see the campaigns treat the country more holistically. But, yeah, right now I don’t see them altering their behavior because it just makes too much sense. Put all your resources in the biggest states that are the most likely to go your direction.

REICHARD: That’s a pretty big statement you made about reforming the Electoral College. Do you think that is likely to happen?

SMITH: Well, I think that we’re likely to see it happen eventually. I’m not sure how soon it will be. There are arguments, of course, for abolishing it and that would not be reform. That’d be abolition. But abolishing it would go just pure popular vote. I think that would create other sets of problems. But one reform you could have is where instead of having a winner take all system, where now if a campaign wins a state like Ohio by just a handful of votes, well, they win all of Ohio’s Electoral College votes. Instead of that system, you could reform it so that Electoral College votes are distributed by congressional district, for example. And so you would have more contests throughout the country. Instead of 50 contests, you’d have 438 contests, really, 436, really, when you count D.C., we’d have more opportunities for the campaigns to spread their influence over different parts of the country. You could campaign in California, for example, as a Republican because there are pockets of California that are still pretty conservative. It’s just not big enough to win the whole state. So, I think that kind of reform could change the way campaigns behave and it may satisfy some people who are really critical of the Electoral College.

REICHARD: What about the political conventions? Not having them in-person didn’t seem to make a bit of difference to the campaigns. Do you think we’ll see a dramatic change in the way the parties do conventions in the future?

SMITH: That’s a great question, and I think it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of data they collect after this election is over and when they talk to their volunteers and their donors and other people, whether they think having these conventions structured virtually is just as effective as having a large, in-person group. If they think that they still have similar levels of enthusiasm and support without a convention, if they can avoid that kind of cost, then I think they’re going to think very hard about the way they do the conventions altogether. But I think they’re going to wait until the election returns come back and then they’re going to assess. But, yeah, I think that’s a very real possibility that we could just see conventions change forever.

REICHARD: What about the debates? It seems like there’s room for reform there.

SMITH: (laughs) You’re being very gracious to say there’s room for reform. I mean, I would argue there’s room for dropping a bomb on the whole thing and starting over because the debates are really good for people who are political junkies, people like me who have a strong sense of what’s happening and you just want to evaluate them and have fun on social media. They really do not do very much for educating voters or presenting us with who these people really are. I mean, it’s really descended into soundbites and a few seconds of information. And I just don’t know how helpful that is. So, I think there’s room for reform, but I think the obstacle to reform is the campaigns like the debates this way. They want to have them low-risk so they can manage the expectations and, in their mind, high reward. For them to do an alternative format presents them with some uncertainties that they’d rather not do. So, I don’t think the debates have been very productive at all and I hope we get a good chance to re-think them.

REICHARD: And finally, professor, what have you found the most surprising thing about the way this campaign has been conducted?

SMITH: You know, what’s been surprising to me is that age is not more of an issue in this campaign. Now, it’s an issue as it relates to Joe Biden to some extent because people have questioned age and its effect on Mr. Biden. But these are gentlemen who are stepping into an office that’s incredibly demanding. It’s rigorous and it can really take a lot of energy and productivity to be president of the United States. And we really aren’t asking these questions right now of these candidates, at least not very well. But maybe what’s happening is since we’re so polarized as an electorate, then people really don’t care so much about these typical things like age or experience, even. Now we just care about does this person agree with me generally? If they’re going to do what I think they’re going to do, then put them in office and the rest of it I just don’t care about. So, if that’s the case, we’re truly into a new day of politics.

REICHARD: Unprecedented times, really. Mark Caleb Smith is a political science professor at Cedarville University. Thanks so much for joining us today!

SMITH: It’s always a pleasure. I really appreciate it, and I look forward to talking to you again in the future.

MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Chile votes for new constitution—We start today in South America.

AUDIO: [Singing, whistling, sounds of celebration]

Voters in Chile celebrated Sunday after approving a referendum to rewrite the country’s constitution. The current document dates back to the nearly two-decade long dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

PINERA: [Speaking Spanish]

After the vote, President Sebastian Pinera said a new constitution would help unite the country.

Calls for change began last year with a mass protest that drew more than 1 million people into the streets of downtown Santiago. Proposals for the new constitution include expanding the role of government in social services like welfare. It would also create entitlements to healthcare, education, water distribution, and pensions.

Conservatives oppose the changes. They say expanding the government’s role will put the brakes on decades of economic growth and stability.

Turkey leads Muslim countries against France—Next we go to Turkey.

ERDOGAN: [Speaking Turkish]

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined calls Monday for a Muslim boycott of French goods. That after French President Emmanuel Macron defended the right to mock religion, including Islam.

Macron spoke out after a Muslim extremist from Chechnya beheaded a French history teacher who showed cartoons of Mohammed to his students. Macron’s remarks in support of free speech sparked protests throughout the Middle East.

Stores in Qatar, Kuwait, and other Gulf states have already pulled French goods from their shelves. Protesters in Syria burned pictures of Macron, while angry Libyans burned French flags in the streets of Tripoli.

U.S. officials visit India—Next, to India.

AUDIO: [Sound of plane, cameras clicking]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in India on Monday. The visit is part of a four-country tour of Asia.

During two days in New Delhi, U.S. officials hope to sign an agreement on intelligence sharing. It will pave the way for India to buy U.S. missile technology.

The tour is designed to counter China’s influence in the region. Pompeo will make stops in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Indonesia before returning to Washington.

Hope Awards winner announced—And finally, we end today in Malaysia.

WORLD listeners and readers have selected ElShaddai Refugee Learning Center as the 2020 Hope Awards grand prize winner.

The Christian school educates immigrant children from mostly Muslim countries who cannot attend Malaysian schools.

Ng Oi Leng is the school’s education director.

NG OI LENG: We really want to see transformation. So it’s a long term investment how to transform nations through education, love, and the things we sow into their lives.

The school started in 2008 with 22 students. It now has 14-hundred students in 11 different locations. As the Hope Awards grand prize winner, ElShaddai will receive $10,000 dollars to help continue its work.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

NICK EICHER: Today is Wednesday, October 28th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the farmers of social media. 

The stars of social media are typically celebrities, comedians, politicians, and the like. Well, it’s time to add another category to the list: farmers.

EICHER: Over the last three years, YouTube reports farmers are uploading a record number of new farm videos and people are watching them. Agriculture videos have enjoyed a 70 percent increase in views since 2017.

WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg spoke with some of these farmers to find out why they’ve decided to grow an online platform.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Meet Laura Carlson. She’s a farm girl from Central Nebraska. 

CARLSON: I’m 19 years old, and my YouTube channel is Laura Farms.

Then there’s Cole Sonne. A young farmer, fresh out of college. 

SONNE: We farm by Mount Vernon, South Dakota. And the name of our YouTube channel. It’s pretty original. It’s called Sonne farms. 

And here’s Mary Heffernan. She and her husband operate Five Marys Farms in Northern California.

HEFFERNAN: We have four little girls, and by chance, they all are named Mary. 

All of these farmers are growing various crops and animals in different places, but each of them is reaping the benefits of social media. 

Let’s start with Laura Carlson. She grew up on the family farm. This spring, she decided she was going to take the leap and start farming for herself. 

She rented a quarter of land… 

CARLSON: A quarter is 160 acres. 

And filmed herself planting corn in a big tractor. She ended up turning the footage into videos that she posted to Twitter. 

CARLSON: Alright so I just made another pass. I’m at the end of the field, and I just wanted to show you what it looked like.

To her surprise, the videos went viral. Late that night, Carlson quickly set up a YouTube account and posted the videos there too. 

CARLSON: And it went viral again, on YouTube. 

Carlson decided she must be on to something. 

CARLSON: I thought you know what, we’re just gonna, we’re just gonna do this. And so there started my little YouTube family of now almost 75,000 people.

Her videos take viewers through day-to-day life on the farm and educate people about agriculture—like the difference between corn and soybeans. Something many viewers don’t know. 

CARLSON: So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity, this beautiful evening, to describe a few of the simple differences between a corn plant right here and a soybean plant.

Cole Sonne started farming with his dad after college. He liked filming their field work with his drone. 

SONNE: You know, raking hay, and just basically any job that takes place on the farm. 

Three years ago, he started posting his footage on YouTube just to clear memory cards. 

SONNE: And a couple actually started getting quite a few views. And it was interesting and it was exciting, really exciting. I remember telling my family like hey, this one might get to 1,000 views. 

Now, his videos have nearly 15 million views. 

SONNE: A bad day on the farm can make a really good YouTube video. I don’t know what it is, but people really enjoy maybe watching you struggle.

SONNE VIDEO: Something interesting that’s going on right now. This calf’s ear is bleeding a little bit. And so we’re going to have to pay some attention to that to make sure it closes up and is healing.

Mary Heffernan and her husband got their start farming and ranching later in life. They owned restaurants in Silicon Valley and wanted to produce their own beef. 

HEFFERNAN: So we bought a ranch and naively thought that we could do both lives. We quickly realized that it just wasn’t possible for us to do both things well. 

So the Heffernans took their four little Marys and moved to the ranch full-time. Five Marys Farms was born.  

HEFFERNAN VIDEO: Here in the mountains and pastures of far Northern California, we work tirelessly to produce the best quality meat for you to feed your family. 

The Heffernans wanted to sell their beef directly to consumers instead of going through grocery stores. Mary Heffernan’s job was to sell the meat. Instagram became her main tool. 

HEFFERNAN: I would just share photos from my day and stories. 

As her more than 150,000 followers watch her life unfold, they also buy meat. Now, Mary Heffernan has started a social media marketing class. More than 600 farmers and ranchers have signed up.

Heffernan says social media is helping farmers running on tight margins generate new money—either through ad revenue or by making direct sales. 

HEFFERNAN: I see the rewards, you know, I post something, and then we sell meat or I’ll post something, and I’ll get new enrollees in my course. Times are changing, and agriculture has to kind of pivot and change with it. 

Of course there are down sides. People can be rude. 

HEFFERNAN: If I get any negativity, I just block them so that they aren’t seeing my account anymore. 

And followers can be nosy. 

HEFFERNAN: I didn’t post anything for 24 hours, and a woman called my farm store and asked if I was dead.

And it’s a time commitment. Cole Sonne spends seven hours a week editing videos and that doesn’t include filming time. And then for some reason, one video does well while another busts. 

SONNE: You do try to be your best and you try to be number one, but it can be tough. There is a lot of competition out there, and it seems like it’s growing everyday. 

But Sonne says he wants his videos to be educational more than just entertaining. He wants city folks to understand where their food comes from. 

SONNE: There are those people out there that are kind of half educated. Farm YouTube can bring those people in, and maybe help them see things from a different light. 

Laura Carlson says her YouTube channel has given her a new community. Without being asked, some viewers even donated money to help her pay for expenses.

CARLSON: And so I wanted some way to like, you know, thank them. And so I wrote their name on a flag and put it next to a corn plant… 

CARLSON VIDEO: [CORN RUSTLING] Literally like 80 other flags all across here. Today is the day, we actually get to harvest it after almost six months, almost six months of filming. 

And when it comes to a career as challenging as farming, Carlson says it doesn’t hurt having a stadium of fans. 

CARLSON: When you have 75,000 people telling you what a great job you’re doing, and they can’t wait for the next video, it’s really not hard to find motivation to keep making them.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Wednesday, October 28th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD founder Joel Belz now with a proposal to improve how we teach social studies.

JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: For a decade and more, I’ve been wrestling with some ideas that could reshape the way Christian school and homeschool students engage in what we’ve typically called “social studies.” 

At the core of my dream are two components. The first would be the development of a consensus list of about 250 of history’s most notable people. The list would be dynamic; no one pretends to have the final word. It would include heroes and villains.

Component number two would be a clothesline. Literally. Educators would hang the line near where students normally do their work.

Every Monday morning through the school year, teachers would randomly add the name and very brief biography of a famous person from the past to the timeline. That same person would be the subject of attention at schools and homeschools around the world. Through the rest of that week, teachers and parents would guide participating students in appropriate research, interviews, math, artwork, or music—any exploration or compilation related to that person. 

At the end of each week, students should know where that person fts on a world map, where he or she fits on history’s timeline, what governmental and economic structures helped shape that person, and how that person’s life might (or might not) have reflected a Biblical worldview.

This is a realistic, holistic approach to “social studies.” It prompts us to quit viewing history, geography, civics, economics, and worldview thinking as separate subjects. It allows us instead to see them as a robust whole.

Not for a minute is the point of such an exercise just to fill young minds with facts and figures and names and dates. The goal instead is to introduce boys and girls—from their earliest years—to real men and women from other times and other cultures who have made the world what it is today. Through such contact, students will develop the skills and habits of sorting out influences, analyzing movements, evaluating motives, and pondering values.

Nor is the cast of characters meant only to feature heroes and champions—or to divert attention from the warts and foibles of those who are in fact heroic. We want to equip boys and girls with the tools for thinking honestly about such issues.

Of the half dozen experimental education enterprises I’ve been part of, this one registers high on my “to do” list. But my next birthday will be my 80th. If this is going to get done, someone else may have to do it. That’s OK, if I can at least watch the process from a good seat. If the whole suggestion intrigues you too, send me a note detailing your interest. You can e-mail me at [email protected], or send me a traditional note at Box 2330, Asheville NC 28803.

I’m Joel Belz.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: The economy may be struggling, but the housing market is not. We’ll tell you what’s behind the boom in real estate.

And, we’ll bring you the second part of Myrna Brown’s story about police horses.

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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