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The Paradox of American Government - Essay Example

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The Paradox of American Government
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Week 4-Assignment “The Paradox of American Government” Robin Martinelli POL 423-WCO-V2D1 Political Science Jill Legare 27/12 The American nation was forged on the principles of freedom, equality and liberty that were guaranteed through democratic representation. The transformation to political stability and equal representation for all members of society took concentrated efforts on the part of the masses as well as politicians. However of late, there has been a move to capture Capitol Hill using high profile lobbying tactics. While these strategies may serve to benefit a few but overall the impacts of these strategies have been negative for the American population at large. The fragmentation of power within the federal framework has meant that certain influential groups have come forward to manipulate this in their own favor. Consequently, the government seems lethargic and often unresponsive in dealing with majority demands as it bows to other pressures.
The move to occupy Wall Street clearly signifies how this political attitude is now affecting citizen and voter participation in the overall political process. After the financial failure of large financial institutions, the federal government underwent bailout and rescue packages to protect these institutions. Now that these businesses are recovering, the people at the helm of affairs in these institutions are using unethical practices to reward themselves. This very issue had already caused a failure of the economic system. Calls to ensure greater transparency and accountability at Wall Street went unheeded by the federal government. Consequently disillusioned citizens and voters came together in order to coerce the government into acceding to their demands through a show of strength at Wall Street (Apps, 2011).
Disappointment with the political process has two major affects for the average citizen, one that the average citizen fails to be interested in the voting process anymore (Dalton, 2006) and two that the average citizen tries to take power into his/her own hands to defend his interests. The fact that citizens are less and less interested in the political process has been related for a few decades now (Powell, 1986). Overall citizen participation in the voting process has been on the decline progressively as citizens especially from marginalized groups fail to see any point in voting when their demands will not be met with. Already the American democratic process is under threat from large gaps in voter turnout through various factors such as income, length of residence, ethnicity, educational achievement and age (AGTP, 2010). Also there are threats emerging to voter turnout such as attempts to roll back early voting, Election Day Registration, same day voter registration among other efforts. These attempts to ostracize certain groups of citizens from the political process should have been met with stiff resistance in the legislature and on the streets, if citizens and voters were more hopeful of the political machinery. However there is limited response on the part of citizens and voters to reverse these moves. This in turn serves as an indicator to the fact that the average citizen and voter have lost interest in the political process in the United States which is dangerous for the health of the overall political system.
In closing, dissatisfaction of certain groups in society through these means would only further lead citizens and voters to take to protest in order to defend their rights. While normally citizens and voters would proceed to their legislators in order to address their grievances, now citizens and voters are turning to the streets to address their concerns. The Occupy Wall Street movement is a stark reminder to this development. The need of the hour is to ensure active citizen and voter participation in the political process so that dissatisfaction with the political process can be contained before its turns into political contagion. If the situation is allowed to proceed as such, there are chances that simple street protests may eventually transform into violent rioting.
REFERENCES:
AGTP. (2010). Voter Participation in the 2010 Midterm Election. Retrieved January 29,
2012, from Mass Vote: http://massvote.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/AGTP-Gaps-Final.pdf
Apps, P. (2011, October 11). Wall Street action part of global "Arab Spring"? Retrieved
January 29, 2012, from Reuters : http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/11/uk-global-politics-protest-idUSLNE79A03Z20111011
Dalton, R. J. (2006). Citizenship norms and political participation in America: The good
news is ... the bad news is wrong. CDACS Ocassional paper 2006-01 , 1-14.
Powell, G. B. (1986). American voter turnout in comparative perspective. The American
Political Science Review 80(1) . Read More
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