Besides my formal education and life experience in those fields, I guess I know enough to be able to teach. Yes to teach! Teaching in my area requires not only knowing American History and politics, it requires the ability to convey that knowledge. It also requires the ability to respond effectively when those learning from you make a complex inquiry designed to throw you off track or prove you are not as sharp as you appear. Teaching also gives one a sense of fulfillment knowing the recipients of your shared knowledge have had their own thinking processes changed, and changed for the better! So what makes me an expert? I certainly do not wear a pin that says "Ask me, I'm an expert." I submit that the label "expert" is a subjective one, determined by others that decide that you do know somethings when writing and speaking. If that is the standard, then yes, many folks have determined that I know more about American History and politics than "the average bear." My new book "How Our Government Really Works, Despite What They Say" is perhaps a culmination of teaching students who frequently raised this common demand, "You ought to write a book!" Well I did. For those hoping the book is partisan-based, you will be sorely disappointed. The book, like my teachings, is ideologically down the middle. I level equal criticism against the two major political parties...because they deserve it. Here's a taste of my approach from Chapter Six, entitled "Congress and the President, the Jockeying for Power."
"The primary objective of political parties is to get people elected to office to gain power,
often at the cost of what's best for the American people. The sooner the public realizes this,
the sooner we will demand that our elected representatives serve our interests and not the
interests of the extreme wings of their respective parties and their corporate sponsors."
So what makes you an expert?