AMERICA’S DEMOCRACY 1
POL 201 – American National Government
The United States has been acclaimed as a model country with soundpolicies and quality governance. In particular, the nation’sconstitution has revolutionized the legal frameworks of manycountries. Consequently, the Executive, Judiciary, and Legislativebranches function independently of each other. The U.S. has alsoformed various agencies and policies that fulfill pertinent needs ofthe citizenry. For example, the Affordable Care Act safeguards thehealth of all Americans regardless of their financial status. Also,the different branches of government have distinct roles gearedtowards civilian service. In particular, the judiciary upholds therule of law through the court system. All suspected criminals aregranted free and speedy trials to ascertain their guilt beforeundergoing punitive or corrective measures. On the other hand, thelegislative and executive branches are managed by individuals whohave acquired the electorate’s mandate. In this respect, federalelections are held to install persons in public office. The two-partypolitical system ensures that poll results never escalate into riotsand violence. An analysis of America’s democracy reveals that itsinstitutions and programs have been set up for the benefit of theentire population.
The United States Constitution provides a general guide that informsthe actions of all Americans. It has been lauded for ensuringsufficient checks and balances. In this regard, the Legislature,Judiciary, and Executive branches are given equal status.Consequently, none of the branches has the mandate to overrideanother. Such a system is important since it prevents the abuse ofpower. For example, the President requires approval from the Senatebefore engaging the nation’s forces in any war. However, theConstitution is hampered by its vagueness with respect to theexercise of presidential powers (Felkins, 2004). Intentionalvagueness occurs where a multifaceted problem lacks a clear momentarysolution. Moreover, accidental vagueness refers to when societalmodifications reveal inherent weakness in wording. Besides,unavoidable vagueness arises when particular situations lackhistorical precedents (Felkins, 2004). Therefore, misinterpretationcould create a situation where the President increases his Federalauthority. The Constitution is also dependent on the Supreme Court toissue rulings in contested cases.
Granted, the Constitution’s checks and balances can be safeguardedby establishing a representative unit of Congress to hold theExecutive accountable. Hearings could be arranged to debate thesoundness of particular policies. Furthermore, Congress couldoverride presidential vetoes. The judiciary could also uselegislative vetoes designed to challenge controversial decisions(Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016). The Office of Information andRegulatory Affairs (OIRA) plays a significant role in aligning thePresident’s priorities with existing regulations. Moreover, theoffice arranges for interagency review sessions to limit conflict andredundancy (Dudley, 2015). On the other hand, various amendments canbe made to eliminate the vague sections of the Constitution(Bertrall, 2015). The extent of presidential powers can also bestipulated to reduce the likelihood of potential abuse. Consequently,the Supreme Court would have fewer cases of interpretation. Americanswould also benefit from level-headed governance.
Government policies such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) protect therights of patients to receive medical care. The Act ensures thatindividuals benefit from insurance cover when they contract anillness (Koh & Sebelius, 2010). In addition, the ACA ensures thaterrors committed on application documents do not hinder an individualfrom receiving treatment (Koh & Sebelius, 2010). In manyinstances, insurance companies disqualify applicants with particularpre-existing conditions. Nevertheless, the ACA guarantees that apatient would not face extra charges if an undisclosed condition werediscovered (Koh & Sebelius, 2010). Notwithstanding, the Actconsumes considerable portions of taxpayers’ money. Manyindividuals seek to exploit ACA’s provisions by concealinginformation that would exclude them from coverage (Koh &Sebelius, 2010). Consequently, the public incurs heavy costs tosustain the Act.
The advantage of the ACA can be maintained by instructing more healthfacilities to adopt its provisions (Palmisano, Emmons, & Wozniak,2004). In some cases, practitioners decline to treat patients withoutestablished forms of insurance. Therefore, it is vital to ensure thatmore clinics and hospitals accept new patients into their treatmentprograms (Palmisano et al., 2004). Reducing the number of sick visitshas plenty of benefits for the healthcare system. The burden ontaxpayers can be reduced by imposing logical requirements onindividuals seeking to take advantage of the Act. For example, theycould be instructed to volunteer for work in local establishments(Palmisano et al., 2004). Prospective beneficiaries could also berequired to log several hours a week in their places of employment.Subsequently, a designated amount could be extracted from their wagesto recoup the public funds used to finance the ACA (Palmisano et al.,2004). Consequently, the Act will provide insurance cover to morepeople while reducing the strain on full-time workers.
The judiciary champions the course of justice by ensuring that guiltyoffenders face fair punishments while affected persons receiveadequate compensation. The system also acquits individuals whoseinnocence is well-established. The judiciary subjects a defendant toa fair and speedy trial. Neither overwhelming evidence nor publicopinion suffices to alter the presumption of innocence until guilt isproven beyond reasonable doubt. Defendants can have the confidencethat legitimate evidence will be thoroughly examined before animpartial judge or jury. Furthermore, individuals with few resourcesare assured that a competent state attorney will cross-examine allwitnesses. Nevertheless, the criminal justice system seems to beaffected by institutional racism. For example, black males servelonger sentences than white counterparts even when both are convictedof the same crime (Mallett, 2015). Population figures can be used tohighlight the extent of bias. Although whites are more than blacks,it beggars belief that the majority of people on death row areAfrican-Americans (Mallett, 2015).
Jury selection should ensure that all officers are impartial to avoiddistorting their opinions of a defendant before the commencement oftrial (Melcarne & Ramello, 2015). Stringent measures should beadopted to prevent jury tampering. In this respect, jurors must behindered from considering any material apart from the evidencepresented in court (Melcarne & Ramello, 2015). Consequently, theaccused persons will develop greater confidence in the verdictsrendered by a group of their peers rather than the rulings ofindividual judges. On the other hand, setting standard sentences willprevent the issue of discriminatory convictions (Melcarne &Ramello, 2015). The judiciary should adhere to predeterminedguidelines on punishments. For example, individuals convicted offirst-degree murder can be sentenced to life incarceration regardlessof their race, religion, or gender (Melcarne & Ramello, 2015).All states should also adopt the same standards to reduce thedifferences crippling the judiciary. Eradicating the prevalentmiscarriages of justice will reduce instances of civilian unrest andvigilante action (Melcarne & Ramello, 2015). Consequently, thecriminal justice system will protect the human dignity of allcitizens.
PoliticalParties, Interest Groups, or Elections
Federal elections in the U.S. are held every four years (Fine &Levin-Waldman, 2016). Such occasions provide civilians with anopportunity to weigh the suitability of various candidates. Theindividuals vying for public posts also utilize the occasion topublicize their agenda (Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016). Americancitizens consider the proposals before them before making personaldecisions. Notably, voters are neither coerced nor pressurized tosupport any ideology. Prospective candidates also enjoy the right tocompete with rivals without biased representation in the media (Fine& Levin-Waldman, 2016). Inevitably, one of the candidates willfail to garner enough votes. Nonetheless, all registered votersexercise their constitutional right to participate in the process andmake decisions based on their ethics, values, and beliefs. However,federal elections favor candidates with more funding or resources(Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016). Consequently, some persons have anunfair advantage in that they can afford to post more campaignadvertisements. Other individuals can host more public events andhence attract additional attention (Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016).Therefore, a candidate with advanced or practical policies could beoverhauled by another with greater resources.
The positive impact of federal elections could be enhanced byencouraging higher participation rates. In fact, reliable statisticsestimate that 40% of eligible persons choose to forfeit their votingrights (Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016). Educational campaigns needto be organized to inform the electorate of the importance ofballoting. Seminars and conferences could also be held to hear thegrievances of those who refrain from participating (Fine &Levin-Waldman, 2016). Perhaps policies can be adopted to cater totheir concerns and thereby ensuring more people can exercise theirvoting rights. The unfair competitive advantage of wealthiercandidates can be reduced through the implementation of expenditurecaps (Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016). None of the candidates shouldbe permitted to spend beyond a particular amount. Besides, anyindividuals that exceed the prescribed limits should be automaticallybarred from vying. Consequently, any citizen with great ideas fordevelopment and a willingness to serve would be able to run foroffice (Fine & Levin-Waldman, 2016). Also, the undue influencewielded by wealthy individuals and corporations would be kept incheck.
Indeed, the government’s institutions and programs have been formedfor the service of American citizens. Also, enacted laws andestablished procedures do not seek to please individuals. Rather,they address the needs of the entire population. The U.S.Constitution comprises of laws and statutes intended to preventanarchy. The Constitution ensures a balance between the threebranches of government such that none is exalted above the other.Notwithstanding, additional measures can be adopted to avoid abuse ofpower. Granted, the Constitution`s vagueness exposes some areas tomisinterpretation. Such mishaps can be prevented by making relevantamendments. Furthermore, some programs such as the ACA have beeninstituted to increase health coverage for patients. Although the ACAguarantees insurance cover, the high costs deplete taxpayer funds.Therefore, recipients must be enrolled in working programs to offsettheir costs.
The judiciary guarantees a fair trial to any person accused of acrime. However, the criminal justice system has perpetrated racism inthat blacks serve longer sentences than whites. The occurrence ofprejudice should be eliminated by setting fixed sentences forparticular felonies. In addition, jury selection should be thoroughto ensure that defendants receive fair trials. Besides, federalelections provide citizens with an opportunity to evaluate candidatesbefore making informed decisions. The right to vote can beaccentuated by encouraging more citizens to register and vote. On theother hand, wealthy persons have higher chances of winning electionssince they can afford more ads and fundraising events. Nonetheless,caps can be set to limit the amount of resources expended oncampaigns by all candidates.
Bertrall, R. L. (2015). Embracing Administrative Constitutionalism.Boston University Law Review, 95, 19-585. Retrieved fromhttp://www.bu.edu/bulawreview/files/2015/03/ROSS.pdf
Dudley, S. E. (2015). Improving Regulatory Accountability: Lessonsfrom The Past And Prospects for The Future. Case Western ReserveLaw Review, 65(4), 1027. Retrieved fromhttp://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=caselrev
Felkins, S. L. (2004, Jul. 24). Vagueness in Governance. Retrievedfrom http://perspicuity.net/paradox/vaguegov.html
Fine, T. S., & Levin-Waldman, O. M. (2016). American Government(2nd ed.). [Electronic version]. Retrieved fromhttps://content.ashford.edu/
Koh, H. K., & Sebelius, K. G. (2010). Promoting preventionthrough the Affordable care act. New England Journal of Medicine,363(14), 1296-1299. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1008560
Mallett, S. J. (2015). Judicial discretion in sentencing: A justicesystem that is no longer just? Victoria University of WellingtonLaw Review, (2), 533. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2588207
Melcarne, A., & Ramello, G. B. (2015). Judicial Independence,Judges` Incentives and Efficiency. Review of Law and Economics,11(2), 149-169. doi:10.1515/rle-2015-0024
Palmisano, D. J., Emmons, D. W., & Wozniak, G. D. (2004).Expanding insurance coverage through tax credits, consumer choice,and market enhancements: the American Medical Association proposalfor health insurance reform. JAMA, 291(18), 2237-2242.doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2237