The US Government
Each country is formed by a government that is elected by the citizens of this country to ensure its effective running. The people of a specific country should realize how the government works so that they can make better-informed decisions to know who are the most appropriate candidates to be elected to the government. Additionally, knowing and studying the government, people can understand the constitution and their rights and think about the ways in which the government can help them. Therefore, learning about the government is so important for the citizens that there has been an integration of the civics class into the education system of the US. Children have to be taught about the government and its functioning to ensure that they will become informed voters in the future. This paper discusses the importance of learning about the government and the underlying principles of the politics of the United States.
The American Dream is a set of ideals including democracy and liberty of the US, and the rights, equality, and opportunity presented to the American citizens by the constitution. Through the American Dream, everyone has the opportunity to be successful and prosperous due to the hard work in a community that has few hindrances. This dream is embodied in the Declaration of Independence which states that all men were created equal with the following rights: the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to pursue happiness. To my way of thinking, the American Dream means that every person can rise to become anyone he/she wants to be in society as long as this person strives for it. I believe that may happen through education, that is why I am about to realize this national set of ideals. By working hard at school I am capable of becoming anyone that I want to be.
The government of the United States practices federalism. This type of governmental policy has some advantages and disadvantages. The first advantage is that federalism protects the citizens of America from any form of tyranny. The authority in the United States is divided into three branches of the government and the state governments. Each branch checks and controls the other one, hence, no tyranny can occur. Another advantage of the federal system in the US is that the citizens can also participate in the governing process. Since power is not centralized, the people can exercise some power through the state governments. Apart from these advantages, few disadvantages exist in federalism. One of the greatest disadvantages is the inequality observed in different states. Some states make one policy their priority, as education, for instance, thus increase the funding to this particular field. This creates a disparity between the other states that do not follow this method. Another disadvantage is one referred to as the race to the bottom. This indicates that the states reduce the benefits that they give to recipients forcing these individuals to move to other states and, consequently, the states can reduce their expenditure on welfare.
Education plays a huge role in the shaping of the US politics. Mainly, due to education, people can be able to understand how the government works and know the kind of leaders that they should elect to the office. Additionally, people may discover the roles and responsibilities of the government in relation to them. If the government fails to perform its role, then they can decide to oust them out and introduce people who would work properly. Education has enabled me to understand the American political process. With the help of education, I have been able to realize my role in solving any problems that exist in local and national issues through various channels as the courts.
Following democratic policy means that several political parties can exist in the country. These political parties are tasked with several functions. First, the political parties ensure that the legislative arm of the government works. This legislative branch of the government is composed of representatives of the citizens elected by the people. The political parties present their choice candidates to the people, and the people vote them in. Second, the political parties educate the public on various issues affecting them. Through this public education, they can form public opinion on different topics. Finally, political parties provide necessary political stability in a country. These parties bring unity to the political process by making the issues faced by different institutions a part of their political ideology. However, the political parties do not unify the electorate in any way. They create a division within the electorate, depending on the issues faced by the citizens. From a democratic standpoint, such a conflict may be regarded as positive one, since it provides the leaders with the necessary pressure to address all the issues that are experienced by the electorate.
The media have played a crucial role in influencing the political attitudes of various citizens. Television as part of the media has influenced my personal political attitude in different ways. First, through the different political shows that are televised, I came to realize the nature of the issues that affect different parts of the country. Second, I became able to make a judgment as to whether the government is doing enough to solve these issues. Consequently, I learned about different ideologies of various political parties in the country. By watching conventions and rallies of the political parties on TV, I got an insight into the essence of numerous political parties, so I will be able to make informed decisions during the electoral process.
The US uses the Electoral College process to vote for its president and vice president. The Electoral College consists of 538 members: this number is made up of 435 house representatives, 100 senators, and three electors for the District of Columbia. After the citizens are cast by the electors of their states and the popular vote, these electors decide who wins the presidency. The candidate with the overwhelming majority of electoral votes wins the elections. With the exception of two states, the presidential candidate who wins the majority of the votes in a specific state wins all the electoral votes of the state. In the states of Maine and Nebraska, however, electoral votes are assigned proportionally: the candidate with the majority of votes in these states gets two electoral votes, while the rest of the electoral votes are decided by each congressional district. Therefore, both candidates can get electoral votes in these two states as opposed to the rest where a winner rules the whole system. The process of choosing electoral voters varies from state to state, but, typically, each political party nominates their representative at their states convention. The reason why the electoral college process was organized in this way was to ensure that even the smallest state would have a right for their say when deciding who becomes a president. In addition to this, the college vote is an important part of the US federalist democracy. This electoral process should not be abolished, since it provides each state with equal opportunities to ensure that they have a right in the election of the president. As a result, this relates to the federalism form of the government of the US.
Whenever elections come, it is important that the citizens understand their roles and responsibilities of the legislature. Adhering to this rule ensures that the best people capable of dealing with the pressures, which inevitably appear with such roles and responsibilities, are elected into the office. The legislators are the lawmakers of the states and the entire country. Senators and house representatives introduce the laws for the whole country, while the state legislators make laws for the state they are currently responsible for.
Since its inception, the Constitution has had several amendments made to it by the legislature. The first ten of these amendments were made simultaneously and have come to be known as the bill of rights. Each of these amendments has some significance to the country and to its population as a whole. One of the most important amendments for the country was the tenth amendment of the constitution. It claims that the power, neither delegated to the US by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states, is reserved either to the states respectively or to the people. Furthermore, the 10th constitutional amendment was essential, since it ensures that the federal government does not centralize all its power which may result in tyranny. In other words, this minor change in the constitution demonstrates the federalism of the United States. It can be interpreted as the idea that the federal government is only limited to the powers outlined in the constitution. The main reason why the 10th amendment was drafted was the issue of power, for the fact that the power struggle can potentially develop between the federal government and the state government. In process of drafting this amendment, the founders did not trust the government when it came to the concentration and centralization of power. Thus, their goal was to prevent the growth of power similar to what existed in the British colonies. The argument was that the Constitution provided a platform for the development of strong, centralized power by the federal government that would destroy the gains made for the liberty of American people. The amendment was added to the constitution in 1787. Therefore, this slight addition was developed to emphasize the limited power that the federal government possesses. This amendment also ensured that only a certain degree of power was delegated to the central government leaving the states and the citizens with their sovereignty. Therefore, the power became more available to the public. Consequently, people became closer to their policymakers making the policymakers accountable to the public. This amendment is interesting, as it presents how power is decentralized in both governments. Decentralization means that the state government and the citizens guarantee liberty. According to the study of the American government, the 10th amendment is important due to the fact that it explains how power is being passed from the government to the people and the local governments. The government of the United States has been portrayed as different from other governments, since it acquired a form of federalism. Through power decentralization, the public is also empowered in the decision-making process. Unlike other governments where power is seen to be away from the people, federalism brings power closer to the public, and as a consequence, the public knows what is happening around them and can also be involved in any decisions that might affect them. Moreover, the importance of the 10th amendment in the US in preventing tyrannical governments cannot be understated.
Another important amendment to the constitution that I find intriguing is the second amendment which is a part of the bill of rights and protects the right of American public to keep and bear arms. Both federal and state governments are restricted from infringing on the rights of the individuals to bear arms. The main reason why this question has become an issue of concern is the current state of affairs in the US. Gun control has become a controversial problem for the country, especially due to the mass shootings that have been happening over the years. For the citizens of the US, it divides people, as some tend to be pro-gun, while the rest want the gun control policies to be rigidly controlled to ensure that the number of guns within the population is reduced significantly. If the people are pro-gun, one may conclude that their main argument is derived from this second amendment. Those who support gun control argue that by implementing stricter gun policies, the cases of mass shootings would be significantly decreased within the country. Hence, a solution to this problem would be found. Stricter gun control policies should be regulated to reduce the number of guns possessed by the population. This should be done in a way that does not infringe on the rights guaranteed by the constitution. This amendment has led to one of the most controversial issues in the government today, which is the gun control issue. America has been noted to be the country with the highest gun per capita in the world possessing about 88.8 in each 100 people in the population. Guns have always been present in the history of the United States from the time this country was constructed by the British colonies. Guns were used for hunting, protecting homesteads, and were also the weapons used during Americas revolutionary war. This gun-keeping culture is something that resulted in the passing of the second amendment that gave citizens the rights to keep firearms, so as to be ready in case the government became tyrannical and the citizens were required to raise a militia to oppose the government. Additionally, this amendment was drafted to ensure that the government then did not accumulate too much power and would not oppress people.
However, todays democratic state of America does not allow the centralization of power by the government, as a lot of laws have been introduced to prevent such an occurrence. In the current government, even in the occurrence of power decentralization, it is virtually impossible for the militia of civilians to overthrow the government that has better equipment when it comes to waging war. The military of the United States is the strongest in the world, so a group of the militia definitely cannot overthrow todays US government. This amendment was only suitable after the American Revolution in connection with the need for the government to provide stricter gun control policies.
The government should impose some restrictions on the amount of firepower held by the civilians. In most cases, the organizers of the mass shootings used semi-automatic and automatic rifles together with high capacity magazines for these crimes. Interestingly, most of the guns used during these shootings are usually legally purchased. Consequently, in cases where high-capacity magazines and rifles were used, the casualties and fatalities rose significantly. This means that these magazines and automatic rifles transform a killer into a death machine. The government should restrict the number of rounds that the civilians are allowed to keep to prevent such cases. Additionally, by limiting any automatic weapons, even if such cases occur, their frequency can be lowered. The killers in any shootings increase the number of people they kill having more rounds of ammunition. This compensates for their shooting accuracy. As explained above, regulating the type of rifles and amount of ammunition is an urgent problem.
The second amendment of the constitution does not offer the civilians limitless rights to own gun ownership. Historically, even before the drafting of the second amendment, restrictions that controlled the amount of fire power existed in various colonies. These regulations included considering it as a crime if one transfers firearms to some members of the population such as slaves, natives of the land, or Catholics. Nevertheless, the regulations did not stop there. The amount of gunpowder that was stored in peoples homes was also carefully controlled. An example of this case is an area in Boston where the keeping of loaded firearms was prohibited. The door to door surveys were conducted to know the firearms possessed by the population. High firepower within the civilian population increases the risk factor of killings due to the guns. Therefore, such restrictions should be imposed further owing to the danger which guns possession brings to the population.
In conclusion, it is important to learn how the government works. Such knowledge provides people with all the necessary skills to understand which leaders should be put in elective office. Additionally, the people can understand the roles and responsibilities of the government towards them, so that they can criticize the areas where the governments were irresponsible. The citizens are, therefore, involved in the decision-making process of the government as well as the service delivery process. The best way to teach the civilians about the work of the government is to integrate civics in the education sector. From the time children begin going to school, they start learning about the government, and by the time they grow to adulthood, they become responsible and conscious citizens. They can criticize the federal government through the set process when the government does not serve them the way that it is supposed to. They are also introduced to undertaking some national and state issues. This is particularly helpful in showing the country’s democracy.