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The United States of America is one of the countries in the world that promotes the exercise of democratic practices all over the world. The democracy in the USA comes from the many years of active dialogue and continuous improvement in leadership since the attainment of independence. The main source of democracy is the constitution since it has various chapters that seek to improve the rights of the people. Ironically, the same constitution that protects the rights of the people and fosters democracy has some rigidity to democracy. These sections of the constitution are very rigid to change that a change in guard from the republican to democrats or otherwise does not have any significant effect since the different leaders work based on the same constitution.
The United States constitution is probably one of the hardest constitutions in the world to amend. The areas that need a deeper look in the constitution are the ones that make it undemocratic to all the people. The most common areas that are not bound to be litigated are the presidential veto or except for some aspects of the veto such as the so-called pocket veto. The Electoral College is also less likely to be litigated upon (Tocqueville, 1-100). The power of the senate is the other area in the constitution that is also less likely to be litigated. However, despite the areas of contention in the constitution, some aspects make it very democratic. These areas make the constitution democratic since there are conscious efforts to protect the rights of the people. The paper will look at the individual instances where the constitution of the United States is both democratic and when it does not promote the democratic practices.
The democratic aspects of the constitution of the United States are numerous. The people have the right to elect the people that make the law. They also elect the people that execute the same laws while they also form the jury that delivers the judgment based on the same law. The institutions are democratic in principle and developments that they make. The people chose their representatives per year in order to ensure that they are independent and competent. This makes the definition of democracy as the rule of the people by the people to hold some truth in the practices of the people.
The other aspect of the constitution of the United States that makes it hold is the freedom of the press. This freedom gives the press the ultimate power over the political opinions. It also has the ultimate power over the opinions of the people (Tocqueville et al.,1-59). The freedom of the media is the most democratic aspect in the United States since it is an assurance of access to information by the publics (Sunstein 1).
As stated earlier, the power comes from the people. The access of information is the most valid way that people can use to gauge the performance and stability of the leaders that they elect into the positions. The ability of the people to obtain the best information that is free from bias and is collected from without any coercion makes the choices made by the people correct. This aspect ensures that people have the ultimate power over the people that run the affairs of the country (Tocqueville, 1-100). The representatives elected at the end of each year have to account for the reports made in the media about their performance for them to have the chance of being reelected.
The power of the freedom of association comes out succinctly in the United States. The American people have taken advantage of this aspect to the greatest of its advantage. There are some associations made by the legal stipulations such as towns and cities. However, the most explicit form of associations comes from the individual will (Tocqueville et al., 14). The people that live in the United States learn right from the birth that they have to rely on themselves on the struggle against all the factors that are in life. The people have to live on their own, and they only call on the social authority when they do not have an alternative. The associations that people have are the meant for the purposes of the security, morality, religion and industry. The collective power of the people makes the attainment of the dreams of the people.
The life tenure of the judges of the Supreme Court needs to be changed. The nature of tenure is a grievous error in the constitution (Sunstein 1). The error comes out in at least two ways. First, there is no good reason behind the members of the Supreme Court to serve for 25, 35, or even 40 years. The tendency of being accustomed to practice and forming stands on the way to handle some issues depending on the quarters from which they originate is also high. The immunity of the judges from being ousted may make them work without any fear, but it may also lead to the reckless behavior on the part of the judges. However, the above points occur on the rare occasions.
The other aspect of the lifetime tenure that makes the Supreme Court judges have some immense power is the fact that they can time their resignations. The judges according to their political affiliations, democrats, have used this aspect, and republicans have benefited from the practice in the same way (Sunstein 1). The judges time their resignations in such a way that when they get out of office their successors will be able to work for their interests and those of their parties. This turn of events reserves the right to occupy the offices of the Supreme Court judges to the people that pledge their allegiance to a certain political party.
The common practice in other countries is that the judges have to occupy office for a short time. The limitation of the Supreme Court judge’s tenure would be effective in reducing the political affiliations of the people that occupy the offices (Tocqueville et al., 37). This change would ensure that the rights of people would be protected by the court without any side loyalties clouding the judgment of the Supreme Court judges. This amendment of the constitution would make it constitutional (Tocqueville, 1-100).
The Electoral College is one of the aspects of the constitutional aspects that make the political system to be dysfunctional. These aspects are the ones that make the people that want to pass innovative legislature (Sunstein 1). The hitches in passing the legislation come from the realization that there are many veto aspects. The most common indicators of the veto are the absolute bicameralism and the presidential veto.
The Electoral College is also one of the areas that need changes. Since the 1968 electoral debacle, the House of Representatives proposed an amendment on the constitution that sought to abolish the Electoral College. The senate vetoed the amendment. The excuse that the senate gave for the veto was that at least the president was a representative of the majority of the American voters. This could have been the case at that time. However, it is not usually so. The mode of operation taken by the Electoral College has been responsible for the sending of presidents to the white house that did not have the majority of the popular votes. This has been the case since the Second World War. Such presidents include Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton in both cases, George W. Bush, and John F. Kennedy. Some of the presidents sent to the white house despite their failure in garnering the majority popular vote performed beyond the expectations of the people others failed to perform. However, their performance or failure to do so is not the matter of discussion in this context. The presidents were working in capacities that the general vote thought ought to be filled by other people.
This issue is a result of the bicameral conflict in 1969 that made the existence of the Electoral College to persist. This bicameral system led to shooting down of a bill that would have legitimized the power of the people as the main determiner of the people that can lead the country. The system looks at ways of ensuring that the will of the people is not the ultimate source of power for the people that sit in the highest political office in the nation and arguably in the world. It is not possible for the proponent of the sustenance of the Electoral College to state the president that went into the parliament was a manifestation of the desires of the majority of the people.
The majority of the members in the Electoral College do not represent the majority of the people. If the senate were honest with itself, it would have abolished the Electoral College in the 1968 in order to ensure that the dysfunctional nature of the political system does not center on the people (Tocqueville et al., 56). The simple focus on the working of the entire political system was going to have a significant impact on the way that the senate made the determination of the case. The political system failed in that instance since the sustenance of the Electoral College is bound to continue thwarting the will of the people.
In conclusion, the American system of government is marked with many instances of democracy. The attainment of the democratic practice is possible since the mode of government is stable. This stability can be attributed to the constitution. However, not all the stipulations in the constitution of the United States are indicative of the best approaches of governance. The constitution that promotes a lot of democratic practices that form benchmarks all over the world is also the one that is responsible for the creation of undemocratic practices all over the world such as the electoral college and a bicameral parliament that allocate the senators according to the size of the state and not the popular vote made by the people. The presidential veto is also a source of undemocratic practice since it makes the house assume some tricameral characteristic (Sunstein 1).
Tocqueville, Alexis De. "Democracy in America." Traducc~ao de James T. Schleifer. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, (2010): Print.
Sunstein, Cass R. "Why does the American constitution lack social and economic guarantees." Syracuse L. Rev., 56. (2005): 1. Print.
Tocqueville, Alexis De and Others. "Democracy in America." The University of Adelaide Library, (2008): Print.
George W. Bush was the 46th governor of Texas up to 2000 when he resigned and sought the republican presidential candidacy. His interests in governorship of Texas started merging in 1990 following the election of his father as the president in 1988. However, he proceeded to buy the Texas rangers baseball team and did not vie for the post until 1994. Following his election, he sought to change some of the policies that previous Texas governors had pursued. He focused on educational policy, social policy, and capital punishment as a way of reducing the level of crime in the state. His governorship and leadership style was popular among Texans such that he was reelected to the post. He became one of the few governors of Texas that were reelected. In 1998 election, he was reelected by the majority of the people. He even received substantial votes from populations that were traditionally deemed democrats. He received 27% of the African American Texans. The contribution of the minority groups to his campaign led to a landslide win of 69%.
Bush was the pioneer of faith based welfare programs. His government extended funding to the religious organizations that were providing social services. He reached out to various religious leaders since he believed that their contribution to the society was important. He chose to work with the existing systems instead of developing his network of social services. This approach guaranteed his success as a governor. He urged the Texans to be mindful of the people in need just as if Jesus did buy signing a memorandum in April 17, 200. His religious based polices were termed as violations of the establishment clause of the first amendment. However, his move led to an increase of his popularity more so among the religious and conservative members of the society (Zelikow & Minutaglio, 2000). His contribution to the education sector included an advocacy for more control of the local schools, development of an updated and relevant curriculum and creation of higher standards of tertiary education. These advocacies led to the development of a better and more relevant education system in the state.
The Bush administration operated a fiscal policy whereby they tried to reduce the property taxes in order to benefit the homeowners. The administration also aimed at increasing the funding expended to the general education. To offset the deficit, the governor tried to introduce business taxes but he was faced by a lot of opposition from the members of his party who were the big business people. With the rejection of his proposal, Bush was left with fewer choices in terms of the amounts of money that he could raise for his expanded education budget. In order for him to deal with the issue conclusively, he sought other means of funding that did not require him to touch the tax rates. He pushed for an expansion of the budget by seeking a budget surplus of $2 billion (Zelikow & Minutaglio, 2000). This was the largest surplus budget in the history of Texas... the tax cut led to the development of the perception among the Texans and Americans that he was a fiscal conservative. In order for him to pay for the tax cuts, the governor ought the approval of the federal government to privatize the social services. The governor also contributes to the development of the state by investing in wind-generated power plants. His investments made the state the leading producer of the green fuel. The wind-generated power was a substantial part of his renewable energy policy. The policy proceeded to require that the electric retailers buy some of their power from the renewable energy generators.
The outright promotion of the capital punishment was the main setback for the administration. Under the leadership of Bush, the state carried out more executions than any time in the history of capital punishment. He executed over 152 prisoners under the death row such that his record was only broken by his successor. Some of the critics of his administration opine that he was not open to the clemency requests that the normal prosecutions required. Therefore, he may have ended up executing some of the prisoners that were later to be exonerated in the light of new evidence. This approach to death row in mates led to the development of the perception among the people that he was a ruthless ruler. The rate of the executions was so high such that there was an execution of a death row inmate every nine days. He only intervened in one of the cases for a serial killer henry Lucas. His intervention in the case was only temporary since the law requires that the pardon and paroles board awards a commute or parole to the inmate before the governor can make any move. The fact that the governor was willing to sit through the execution plan led to the decline of his image as a Christian. However, some argue that his approach contributed to lower crime rates.
Zelikow, P., & Minutaglio, B. (2000). First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty. Foreign Affairs, 79(3), 168. doi:10.2307/20049763
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