Politics play an important part in the life of any American citizen. We exist within a system, ruled by the Government, which we elect. They are responsible for governing us, and we are responsible for making conscious and intelligent decisions, during the elections. In order to understand the governmental and political systems of our country, we are going to analyze several events that took place in the past and the present of the history of the USA. Then, based on the conclusions we make, we would be able to make predictions for the future.
Social Responsibility and the American Government
Social responsibility is, perhaps, among the main responsibilities that any governmental institution must strive to uphold. The ethical concept of social responsibility suggests that any organization must seek to benefit the people and the society. That definition also outlines the very purpose that a government is created for – to serve the people. Unfortunately, as American history has often shown us, in its effort to benefit and protect the society, the government often oppresses its own people. This becomes even more evident in times of war and strife. We could see this through observation of the events that happened in the USA during the First and the Second World Wars.
During the First World War, the USA has joined the fighting alongside Britain, France, Italy and Russia, against Germany and its allies. During that period, the people and the government alike have treated certain fellow citizens without an ounce of social responsibility, or respect towards them on their rights. The reason for that being that these certain citizens were German-Americans, and were guilty of great crimes like sympathizing with the enemy’s cause, or simply being citizens with German roots. Their civil rights were violated and obstructed – they had to buy ‘liberty bonds’ in order to prove their loyalty. Those who spoke against the course that the government took, were branded as ‘dangerous’, and promptly sent into internment camps (Trommler, 2009).
The situation had repeated itself during the Second World War when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. As the USA have mobilized for retaliation, the government sought out enemies within. This time, the Japanese-Americans were the target. Over 100000 of them were driven away from their homes, into reservations, and not everyone has returned home. Many have perished due to crowdedness, lack of food and medicine, and maltreatment. The government has robbed its people of their rights, in the name of servicing the society. It took almost 40 years until the government had admitted its crime. President Ronald Reagan, when addressing the issue in 1988, has apologized on behalf of the entire nation, saying that these actions were based on race prejudice, war hysteria, and failure in political leadership. His vow was that the USA would not repeat this mistake ever again (Robinson, 2016).
Influence of the Media on the Government Agencies
Media plays an important part in relationships between the governmental agencies and the people. It acts as a medium between the two, allowing the people to form accurate opinions on how these agencies work, and making sure that no secret remains hidden and no event – silenced. It is the stories of crime and corruption within these organizations that attract the most attention, making people view the agencies involved in a negative way.
After the year 2013, the opinion of the average American citizen about their country’s intelligence services. Edward Snowden, a former computer specialist within the organization, as disclosed many files to the world, involving the CIA tapping into telephones, computers, and other personal communicators of its own citizens, and those abroad. Wide media coverage has ensured that the overall reputation of the government agency is in severe decline even now, as it has been discovered that they have violated the fourth Amendment, and American citizens’ right to privacy (Qin, 2015).
The power of the modern media is the ability to pass the news to many people, very quickly. Sometimes, if the news is revolting enough, it could generate disastrous results. For example, the uprisings in Baltimore in the year 2015, which happened because of a murder of an Afro-American by a police officer, happened in no small part due to the news traveling around the city very quickly, due to media coverage. The resulting uproar has turned the Baltimore police department from a respected government agency to public enemy number one (Estreet, Wells, Tirmazi, Sinclair, & Nebbit, 2015).
Differences Between the Democratic and the Republican Party
Right now, there are two major parties in the USA, which have the most supporters. These parties are the Democratic and the Republican Party. While both parties claim to stand for the America and its people, these parties have an opposing view on how the state should be governed. This reflects in their stances on many important questions, which concern the state’s policies, rights, and general governing. Some of these dilemmas are not only legislative but also have an ethical aspect to them.
The stance on the gay rights issue has been a clashing point between the Democrats and the Republicans for quite some time. The Democrats are generally viewed as pro-gay rights, while the Republicans stand in opposition to them. This is a clash between a force that believes in equality of rights no matter color, race or orientation, in opposition to a force that guards the traditions and religious beliefs. Whoever wins this clash in the long run would determine the policy regarding this group of people, for many years to come. Until both driving forces reach a consensus, the American people will stand divided on this issue. That division will breed hostility.
Another difference between the two parties, which considers the realm of ethics, is the stance on healthcare. One side believes it should be universal and paid for by the government, while another believes that it should be given to private hands, and allowed to those who could afford it. This issue separates the people as well. Should the weak, the homeless and the poor be allowed to receive proper medical care? Are they just a bunch of lazy free-loaders who don’t wish to work for their own good? The two parties propagate different views – one is more in favor of collectivism and a greater role of the government in domestic affairs, while the other propagates individualism, which can be heartless, sometimes.
So what did we learn from studying the issues of the past, and the present? Politics can be a dirty business, sometimes. The government that is sworn to protect us sometimes overuses its authority, and tramples upon the very tenets and rights it has sworn to uphold and protect. We all make mistakes, sometimes. What is important is the will to accept and correct them. It is our duty to make sure that the system we live in is transparent, and that the government is honest with us. It must adhere to the principles of social responsibility. The free press has to ensure that no overuse of power goes unnoticed, or unpunished. No doubt, more issues will arise in the future, and mistakes will be made. It is our duty as citizens, to make sure they are corrected and never repeated again.
Estreet, A., Wells, A., Tirmazi, T., Sinclair, M., & Nebbit, V. (2015). Race and Social Justice in Baltimore: The Youth Perspective. Estreet, 21(3), 64-75.
Robinson, G. (2001). By Order of The President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans. Cambridge, USA: Harvard University Press.
Trommler, F. (2009). The Lusitania Effect: America’s Mobilization against Germany in World War I. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 32(2), 241-266.
Qin, J. (2015). Hero on Twitter, Traitor on News – How Social Media and Legacy News Frame Snowden. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 35(2), 166-184.