1. The American Civil Rights Act amendment act of 1964 emphasized the role of quality education as key to the realization of the American dream. It is not by coincidence that the United States has achieved one of the highest levels of high school graduation rates in the developed world. The United States education system has not only been formidable in its focus on holistic education that includes pursuit of talents and academics at the same time, but has also received accolades for its universality. However, the education system has not escaped controversy regarding quality and mode of operandi. The debate between the control of the education policy by the state or the federal government has been as alive as yesterday. There have also been partisan approaches between Republic and Democrats government over the same issue. In the year 2010, Arne Duncan the American secretary of said argued that educational equity is instrumental for societal equity. However, the American system is devoid of this equity from the federal level.
The Obama administration’s key education policies include FY 2013 budget that advocates for a major spending increase for the education department. This increase will witness a surge of about 2.5 percent from the previous year to an approximate $ 70 billion. This increase, go against the popular opponents of increased federal spending on education by the federal government. The argument by the opponents cites the continuous increase in federal government in education as mostly white elephants. The federal incrustation into local education system is thus unnecessary.
An increased spending on education by the federal government is good gesture at the government’s commitment in providing quality education for the citizens. However, an increase in spending is not the panacea, there is a need for an a team collaboration between the state and the federal government in pursuit of equity in education. The federal government should monitor state government on how they allocate the provided resources. This way, the taxpayer is not burdened by providing funds for non-deserving schools. The effectiveness of this system can be guaranteed by challenging school districts to document the number of children graduating from their schools to college. Another measure of performance could also be achieved through measuring SAT scores.
2.The American Electoral College system is that was established by the framers of the United States Constitution as a unique method of electing the president. During this time, the framers feared that a popular election of the president would be tantamount to leaving the state at the mercy of the uneducated civilians. However, a big percentage of Congress were afraid of leaving the election of the president at the prerogative of Congress. The electoral college votes are stipulated in the Article ii, section one of t he constitution. Under the electoral system, each state is allocated electors that correspond with the number of senators (2 in each state) and the number of house representatives in the state. The number of house representatives corresponds with the state’s population. There are 538 college voters from all the nations. Three of the voters represent the District of Columbia. The voters cast their votes on the second Monday of December every four years to cast their votes at the state capitals for the president and the vice president. The president of the Senate receives the votes and opens them on January 6th who reads the votes in the presence of all members of Congress. The candidate who garners the most number of college votes is sworn in January 20. In most cases, college voters vote in line with how their states voted. However, there are incidences where voters have gone to the opposite direction of their voters. It is not illegal for one to vote against the state.
There are some advantages for the Electoral College system. First, it forces candidates to campaign on a state by state basis that meets the needs of all voters in the United States. Every state feels that there needs are catered for at the national level since the contenders have to listen to them. Another advantage of the electoral system is that it saves money and bureaucracy of holding a national election. The bureaucracy involved in holding a national election requires a national standard and extensive budget that the taxpayer has to carry. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of the electoral vote system is that it seems to limit representative democracy. The president do not seem to be accountable to the people but the senate since he or she is elected by only 538 people in a nation of 300 million people.
In my view, the electrical college system works best for a nation that is federal in nature. It also makes a functional democracy that is free the hustles of holding big elections.
3. The iron triangle model of policymaking involves an alliance of three groups that are stakeholders in the formation of decisions influencing military spending. The triangle involves a congressional subcommittee that deals with the issue at hand, an executive agency that is responsible for that issue, and private lobby organizations. Members of the three members of the triangle know each other well and work to formulate policies that favor their own ends. In the book, Irrational Security: The Politics of Defense from Reagan to Obama Daniel Wirl’s argues that the military industrial complex is what prevails even when the national security is at stake. In his view, there is a political tilt in the world of military policy that tends to favor certain kinds of arguments and interests. The combination of multiple factors such as party politics, the nature of the issues at hand, the structure of the separation of powers biases the system to favor a hawkish militarist interests (p. 1890).
The triangle model of policymaking has been the primary reason why the United States has constantly in war. While some of the wars have been legitimate, others, as the war in Iraq has proven to have been carried out without specific relevance to the American security. Millions of Americans lost lives and a colossal amount of money was spent on the war. I guess the question we should ask I, is Congress up for hire?
4. Alexander Hamilton in some of the in the Federalists Papers argued that the judiciary was the weakest branch of the three arms of government. In the same papers, Hamilton argued that federal courts should be granted the power to review the constitutionality of congress acts. In Hamilton’s view, the judiciary is a weak arm of government because it does not have the power or will to enact laws, but only has the authority to make judgment. Surpassingly, the judgment aspect of the judiciary has made it perhaps the most powerful organ of the government. In my view, the judiciary should be free from exercising political leaning decisions. Instead, the judiciary should play its traditional role of defending the constitution. As such, any judicial review should be made in manner likely to defend the popularity of the issue at hand, but on its constitutionality (Maurice, 2012).
The ability of the Supreme Court to defend the constitution by reviewing judgments and politically charged decisions has made the American judiciary unique. The Supreme Court today, has the power to arbitrarily the change the social and political structure of the country. Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 and Bush vs. Gore 2000 are perhaps key examples of cases where the Supreme Court changed the societal structure by a single ruling. It is important that judicial reviews ensures sanity and distinct the judiciary form political coercion. It is also paramount for Americans to understand that as America changes, the interpretations of the constitution by the Supreme Court also changes. Still, these judgments and changes in the Judiciary should be in align with the utmost letter of the constitution (Explorations Constitutional Conflicts, 2012).
5. Anderson, K. (2006, October/November). Law and terror. Policy Review, (139), 3-24. Document ID: 1305943941. Retrieved from ProQuest Central database, in the Ashford Online Library.
Anderson K makes the case of the challenges facing the legal framework while dealing with the war on terror. In the article, he reasons that Congresss have not regulated the war on terror, like other wars, but with a continued interaction between the executive and the judiciary. This unique phenomenon has mostly accrued out of the lack of a clear guideline on how to respond to terrorist as enemy combatants. Some major challenges include the apparent lack of a conventional definition of a terrorist, and how the US legal systems responds to the terrorist trial without unflinching on the rights of humans that are the pinnacle of the American democratic system. However, Anderson says that the responsibility of security and freedom of Americans lie with the three arms of the government and not the president. The lessening of the rule of law by the Judiciary in the war on terror is tantamount to the breach of constitution.
6. The abortion debate is the ongoing discourse surrounding the moral and legal status of abortion. The two main classes in the debate are the pro-choice group that argues women have a choice whether to carry the unborn child or not to, and the pro-life group that argues that women have no right to infringe on the right of life for the unborn child. For the most part, debate has centered on the beginning of life. The pro-life group emphasize that life begins at conception while the pro-choice group argues that life begins after conception. Interestingly, the debate has taken a more party based approach.
The Democratic Party’s argument on the issue resonates, for the most part, with the pro-choice movement. The party emphasizes the dignity of American citizens by embarking on a campaign of privacy and the right to self-determination on the part of the women. This is consistent with the Roe v. Wade. The Democratic Party also focuses on the legalizing abortion to make it safe, legal and rare. On its part, the Republican Party reason on the right of individual is right to life. The Republicans argue that the Fourteenth Amendment apply to the unborn children. For the Republican Party, abortion should be illegalized. The Green Party is also another liberal party famous for its far left ideas. The Green Party also argues for the rights of women to choice to be respected based on choice (Anderson, 2007).
The patties approaches are clearly articulated to attract political constituencies intended for winning elections. The Democratic Party’s stand seeks the liberals and women voters while the Republican Party mostly seeks for the conservative and religious wing on the American populace on the issue of abortion. I consider that pro-choice is in line with the American understanding of democracy. My view on abortion is one that seeks self-determination for the woman.
7. There is approximately five million voters who are predominantly minorities in major swing states that are likely to be denied the chance if the states campaigning for legalization of ID laws get the approval and succeeds with their operation. Alarmingly, the individuals affected are predominantly African Americans and more likely to vote Barack Obama. Democrats feel that is back door strategy of denying the African American and these key states so that Obama is locked out because of technicalities. The Center for American Progress report the laws are almost synonymous with Jim Crow laws in the pre Civil Rights era aimed at disfranchising the minorities. Six states including, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, and North Carolina have included stringent ID laws for voter registration. There is likelihood that twenty five percent of African American will be denied the chance of voting in these states because of lack of proper identification. The arguments from the states that champion these laws argue that they are based on an attempt to stop voter fraud and to protecting the integrity of the vote. However, the Democratic Party thinks that this is a malicious attempt to dissuade minorities from voting Obama in November.
In my view, voting in th United States should be made easier. Pintor, R., Gratschew, M., & Sullivan, K. (2002), report that voting patterns in the United States have decreased as a result of people’s engagement with other activities, income levels, and decreased political awareness. A law that further seeks to reduce voter participation is injurious to the concept of democracy considering the voter turnout situation.
Ali, R. (2012, August 2). Title VI: In Pursuit of Equity in Education. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from Home | ED.gov | Contact Comments Policy | RSS Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy. ED.gov Blog: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/08/title-vi-in-pursuit-of-equity-in-education/
Anderson, K. (2007). Comparing the Democratic and Republican Platforms. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from RochesterConservative.com website: http://www.rochesterconservative.com/blog/comparing-the-democratic-and-republican-platforms/
Beauchamp, Z. (2012, July). Romney Supports Voter ID Laws That Could Disenfranchise 25% Of African-Americans. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from Center for American Progress Action Fund website: http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/11/514412/romney-supports-voter-id-laws-that-could-disenfranchise-25-of-african-americans/?mobile=nc
Burke, L. (2012). Obama’s 2013 Education Budget and Blueprint: A Costly Expansion of Federal Control. Retrieved August 4, 2012, from The Heritage Foundation website: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/04/obamas-2013-education-budget-and-blueprint-a-costly-expansion-of-federal-control
Exploring Constitutional Conflicts. (2010). The Supreme Court in the American System of Government. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from Exploring Constitutional Conflicts Homepage website: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/supremecourtintro.html
Lawler, P. A. (2008, April 10). The Electoral College: Top 10 Strengths & Weaknesses. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc website: http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/10/the-electoral-college-top-10-stengths-weaknesses/
Maurice, R. (2012). Newt Gingrich’s judicial philosophy Newt v the courts. The Economist, Sunday August 5th 2012.
Wirls, D. (2010). Irrational Security: The Politics of Defense from Reagan to Obama. Baltmore, Maryland: The JohnHokins University Press.