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Since the death penalty has been allowed in this country, there has been debate about it. Some groups feel that it is completely acceptable, since criminals are getting what they rightfully deserve. Others, on the other hand, feel that it is an attack on human dignity because they feel that everyone has a right to life no matter what criminal acts were committed…
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Since the death penalty has been allowed in this country, there has been debate about it. Some groups feel that it is completely acceptable, since criminals are getting what they rightfully deserve. Others, on the other hand, feel that it is an attack on human dignity because they feel that everyone has a right to life no matter what criminal acts were committed. Many elements of our society have also played a role in how we feel about capital punishment-political and interest groups, the media, and the public as a whole being the major ones.
First, we'll discuss the various political and interest groups that are the relevant players, as well as the power they have in regards to influencing authorities to make changes to the laws regarding capital punishment. While there are a number of interest groups and political parties that play a role in influencing the policies and make their voices heard, it is fitting that we focus on the two main political parties, which are the Democrats and Republicans, as these are the two largest parties in the United States that make their voices heard the loudest and have the most influence compared to that of other much smaller and less notable groups. According to an article in the New York Times, it states that the Republicans have always supported capital punishment from the beginning. Because they feel this way, they have no problem making this known loud and clear, and they fight hard to create new policies and shape current ones to allow more criminals to be executed. Democrats, on the there hand, are strongly against capital punishment, especially the segments of the party that are African American. The democrats are against capital punishment because they not only fear too many innocent people being executed, as has happened around the country in times past, they feel that it is much worse to make criminals sit in a small cell for the rest of their days without parole, being deprived of their freedoms. The democrats feel that doing this will not only be more miserable for the criminals, since they have to suffer for what they've done, they feel that taking this route safeguards against innocent people being executed (FIRESTONE).
Both sides voice their concerns about the death penalty utilizing a number of means. One way that both sides have made their voices heard and has asserted their power is through petitioning to congress. These petitions influenced congress to either revamp the policies to ease up on the death penalty or to enforce it more. There is also the influence that both parties have had in Supreme Court cases, as these have influenced the laws on a national level over the years. And of course, there is the media.
Now, we will focus on how the media has framed this issue and ha taken a large part in shaping public views. As far as the media is concerned, it is proper to say that the liberal media dominates most of what is delivered to the public. In regards to this, one survey states that only thirty-two percent of Americans trust the Republicans with the issues that they care about. Because this is the case, it is obvious that the Democrats influence the public (Gallup Poll News Service). This leads us on to discuss the public opinion of most in the United States on this issue.
According to a number of surveys taken to find out what the publics thought were on capital punishment, the results showed that a growing number of people are strongly against it. As a matter of fact, surveys showed that at least forty percent of the American people would exclude themselves from serving as juror's n cases where capital punishment may be a possibility. Also, fifty-eight percent stated that it was time for a moratorium to be imposed on the death penalty, so policies concerning it can be reformed. In addition to having these feelings on the matter, the majority of the public feel that the death penalty is an easier way out and that it would be much better for the criminals to sit out their days in a jail cell without parole (Death Penalty Information Center).
There are a number of policies that have been instituted to reform capital punishment in this country. For one, policies have been revised to lessen the instances of racial profiling and discrimination, as well as social and economic discrimination. These laws have been made at the national level, due to the help of the Supreme Court. On top of that, there are programs that are being established to help death row victims in every state to assist them in seeing to it that they receive due process protection, as well as fair treatment. Furthermore, the ADA has stepped in to protect the mentally challenged and insane people from being subjected to the death penalty as punishment (; Oppenheim).
Concerning these new solutions to the present problems and considerations of reform, the public is quite pleased, as it seems. While there are still some issues that need to be worked out, such as racial and economic discrimination, we have come a long way. The public will continue to strive for reform, and the policies will be changed as needed. But for now, both the government and most of the people have thoroughly evaluated the policies and ideas that have been set thus far, and all are happy with the progress (; Oppenheim).
Work Cited
"A Chronology of Capital Punishment." N.p., 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. .
Oppenheim, Sarah. "Capital Punishment in the United States." N.p., 1998. Web. 24 Apr. 2010. .
Death Penalty Information Center. "Public Opinion about the Death Penalty." Death Penalty Information Center. N.p., 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. .
Gallup Poll News Service. "Do Americans Trust the Republicans or Democrats More on Key Issues." N.p., 12 June 2007. Web. 24 Apr. 2010. .
FIRESTONE, David. "Absolutely, Positively for Capital Punishment." New York Times. N.p., 2003. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. . Read More
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