Before I go into the
depths of my opinion on whether or not America “holds up its
promise”, I’d like to first address something that not everyone may be
familiar with–What exactly does “Democracy” mean?
to our book, Democracy is defined as “a system of government in which the
people have ultimate political authority”. Additionally, according to the
Merriam-Webster dictionary, Democracy is defined as “government by the
people; especially: rule of majority” and "a government in
which the supreme power vested in the people and exercised by them, directly or
indirectly, through a system of representation [is] usually involving
periodically held free elections".
that I’ve provided the proper definitions, let me break it down into more
comprehensive wording, not just for the sake of anyone who reads this but to
make it easier for myself to talk about. A major point in a democracy is that
it’s a government by the people, in that everyone is supposed to have an equal
say in the policies, laws, who is the decided spokesperson, if you will, etc.
For this point, I feel that America is NOT holding its promise of democracy.
How can I say that, you ask? The Electoral College is how I can say that.
With the Electoral College in effect, the amount of say a person has is
drastically reduced or increased depending upon the arbitrary aspect of their
state’s population. For example, it takes a group of a couple thousand
people in California to have the same amount of say as one person in Wyoming
simply because California has such a drastically larger population.
aspect of a democracy is the right to individual freedom. Now when I say individual freedom, what I
mean is the list of Amendments (right to free speech, right to bear arms,
etc.). I don’t believe that America is holding true to its promise because
while a vast number of people do experience certain levels of freedom as far as
owning a gun, voting for who they want to, etc., there is still quite a large
number of people who are so heavily influenced by the friends, family members,
significant others, and especially the media.
While we all technically have the right to individual freedom, it is not
always fully guaranteed.
To expand on our
freedom to vote for who we want, my next point is about representation. Again, I
think that America is not holding up to its promise because of the huge impact
of media. Electing a representative should be based upon not only being an
informed voter but also having fair representation and promotion of the
candidates. Not all political parties
are fairly promoted through the media, not only because the traditional parties
(Democrat and Republican) can typically generate more voters, therefore more
money, but it has also been the norm to have a president of one of these two
parties for over 160 years. Another norm that we have had is the general idea
that we as a country need to have a leader.
For almost 230 years now, America has had numerous generations born into
this lifestyle who just accepted it and didn’t question it simply because it’s
the tradition that we were all born and raised in.
Being raised in such
a system is not always a good thing for people in a minority because, as a
minority, not everyone in America will have the same needs, values, and
culture. This brings me to my next point about majority rule and minority
rights. In the idea of majority rule, the overall people’s needs are addressed with
umbrella laws while minority rights need to be addressed in a more personal
matter. An example of majority rule,
minority rights would be institutional racism.
This affects the majority in that they typically get better jobs, better
pay, live in nicer neighborhoods, and have better credit. While the majority benefits from this in a
general sense, the minority still must have their rights granted to them to
protect them from not getting a job due to discrimination because of their skin
color, religion, age, sex, etc.
Speaking of sex, I
feel the law holds the promise of democracy in that on paper we are very equal
people in the eyes of the law. An example
of this is the case of Roe v. Wade. In this case, Roe went up against the idea
that she would be forced to have a child that she did not want and could not
care for. One of her arguments was that
she should be able to walk away from a pregnancy the same that a man can. Roe ended up winning that case. The fact that she won is a prime example in
which we are equal in the eyes of the law.
I do feel, however, that we should be implementing this equality more
consistently throughout the police force.
There have been countless occurrences where police are profiling,
resulting in them arresting people because of their skin color, religion, or
age. Of course, I don’t believe that
every officer is guilty of this, but I wish that there was a way to be more
strict in regulating these happenings.
To conclude, I have a
total of 1 principle of democracy that is being upheld and a total of 4
principles that I feel are not. I don’t believe that this lack of upholding
happened overnight, just as it cannot be corrected overnight, but I do believe
that there are quite a few good people throughout the country simply trying to
live an honest, American life. There
must be a reason that people continue to call it the American dream. I am going to continue to live my life in a
way to try to improve this democratic promise to the best of my ability.
If you like what you’ve read here, then you might want go follow my wonderful, loving fiancee, @jenanae1995. In addition to her political assignments, she also reblogs interior design, inspirational quotes, and animal videos.
The term Commonwealth stood out when they gave Alison her verdict. So researched it. Read below.
“The English noun "commonwealth” in the sense meaning “public welfare; general good or advantage” dates from the 15th century. The original phrase “the common-wealth” or “the common weal” (echoed in the modern synonym “public weal”) comes from the old meaning of “wealth”, which is “well-being”, and is itself a loose translation of the Latin res publica (republic). The term literally meant “common well-being”. In the 17th century the definition of “commonwealth” expanded from its original sense of “public welfare” or “commonweal” to mean “a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people; a republic or democratic state”.
The Icelandic Commonwealth or the Icelandic Free State (Icelandic: Þjóðveldið) was the state existing in Iceland between the establishment of the Althing in 930 and the pledge of fealty to the Norwegian king in 1262. It was initially established by a public consisting largely of recent immigrants from Norway who had fled the unification of that country under King Harald Fairhair.
The Commonwealth of England was the official name of the political unit (de facto military rule in the name of parliamentary supremacy) that replaced the Kingdom of England (after the English Civil War) from 1649–53 and 1659–60, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell and his son and successor Richard. From 1653 to 1659, although still legally known as a Commonwealth, the republic, united with the former Kingdom of Scotland, operated under different institutions (at times as a de facto monarchy) and is known by historians as the Protectorate. The Commonwealth of England formed the first republic in the English-speaking world. In an English context, it is sometimes referred to as the “Old Commonwealth”.
Four states in the United States officially designate themselves as “commonwealths”. All four were original colonies or parts thereof (Kentucky was originally a part of the land grant of the Colony of Virginia) and share a strong influence of colonial common law in some of their laws and institutions. The four are:
Kentucky is designated a Commonwealth by the Kentucky Constitution and is known constitutionally as the “Commonwealth of Kentucky”.
Massachusetts is a Commonwealth, declaring itself as such in its constitution, which states: “[T]he body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good.”
PENNSYLVANIA uses the “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania” constitutionally and in its official title.
Virginia has been known as the “Commonwealth of Virginia” since before joining the United States, and is referred to as a Commonwealth in its constitution.“
So……in the US only 4 states use this and PA is one of them. Then ICELAND & ENGLAND.