Challenges to American Democracy
America is among the countries that are perceived as having many opportunities. In fact, it is the only nation globally where democracy is considered real by the people and the country where democracy is highly emphasized. In the life of a person, truth is very important while empathy helps in comprehending what is felt by other people. Civil engagement entails working with an aim of creating differences within a society via the use of skills and knowledge in order to realize this difference. Nevertheless, there is a decline in trust, civil engagement and empathy among the Americans. This is a threat to democracy. In this study, the reason for the decline in trust, civil engagement and empathy in America are demonstrated as well as the reason why this trend is a challenge to American democracy. The paper also proposes solutions for dealing with this decline.
Policy Challenges Facing Local Governments in America
There is a decline in the trust that citizens in America have for the government. Citizens in America view all American government’s aspects with great pessimism. This is a rising trend because the blame is laid on the absence of interest by the government. Only some Americans can now stand to claim that their government ensures efficiency in offering services. Volgy notes that being an employee of the government is considered among the disgraceful professions (24). This is a bad perception for the economy because it threatens democracy. It is the right of the citizens to protect themselves from a government that exploits them. However, fighting in order to be allowed to be gun owners for instance indicates that people no longer trust the security system of the state. Democracies might not thrive if the government fails to come up with civilized policies.
Actions of the government contribute to the lack of trust by the Americans. When there is no distinction of the laws that people should follow and ones that they should ignore, law implementation becomes extremely difficult later. Citizens no longer have trust in Congress because it has been unable to pass a budget that satisfies them from the time President Obama assumed office. There has been a continued rise of the debt ceiling each year. Failing to alleviate discrimination, poverty, and environmental deprivation as well as insufficient health facilities have led to horrible despair for some Americans. These have lost trust in their government (Volgy 29). Although American citizens might lack answers to their problems, this does not imply that they are ready to tolerate the inefficient policies. For example, using money during elections always favor incumbent candidates because they have the necessary machinery for raising campaign finance from the people with economic power (Volgy 83). There are misdeeds that can be tolerated by the people if their belief is that some progress is being made.
Among the differences between animals and humans is the humans’ tendency to be concerned about others and sharing individual experiences. Therefore, empathy is the human behavior’s foundation and it is also seen as an innate attribute. The extent of empathy among people varies. People who empathize are able to epitomize distress of the other people. Unless they have spoiled brains, they will feel that alleviating such distress is necessary. Nevertheless, advocating democracy and practicing empathy is a challenging task (Tobin 83). Several Americans have opted to resist it although practicing empathy leads to democracy. The current system has made Americans reasonably unhappy because it has failed to provide remedies to different societal problems. Some Americans feel that this political system is not providing sufficient explanations for the things that they are concerned about since they are still failing. The claim of most people is that they cannot tell the daily activities of their leaders.
Empathic leaders ought to remain sensitive to the feelings of their followers as well as other things that concern leadership in their country. In reference to the horrific shootings wave of 2012 in Connecticut and Colorado, the claim of President Obama was that there is “empathy deficit” among American communities. This is more serious than federal deficit (Honigsbaum). The assertion of scientists is that people tend to be kind to those around them and those similar to them. However, there are issues that raise more questions than answers. This is a quite common condition among young people. There are psychologists who say that social isolation is among the factors that cause a decline in empathy. A factor that mitigated low empathy levels before was strong allegiance for a system of two parties (Volgy 169). This is due to the undesirable policies inflicted by both parties to the citizens which make them avoid political processes.
In any society, civil engagement plays a vital role in ensuring its well-being. This entails the participation of the citizens in enhancing communities’ conditions to ensure an improved future. Participating in the activities that touches on civil life gives individuals a good feeling while increasing self-confidence as well as making them mindful about others. Civic engagement in America entails more than ensuring organized labor. However, the Leftists have been reluctant to see past the working class that is organized and this helps in explaining the domination of civil engagement by proclivities of center-right politics (Skocpol 456). Most Americans do not have a taste for the electoral campaigns because the drives for these campaigns are financial capabilities. Usually, the expectation of the citizens is that the relevant departments of their federal government would provide services for improving their lives as well as the lives of next generations. Failure by voters to take part in political processes threatens democracy. Citizens feel exploited, powerless and unhappy if there is no civil engagement.
Addressing Policy Challenges
There is a solution for every problem that is created by humans. There are political and policy challenges that threaten democracy and individuals are likely to lose interest in the activities of the government. Among the tools that can be used in addressing policy and political challenges include intensifying civil engagement commitment. If civic participation is revived by the government and public participation in communal work encouraged, people’s trust in the government will start to rise. It is important that the government pay more attention to youths in America because the country’s future is on their hands. Activities for youth development ought to be encouraged at their local level.
The endeavor of the government ought to be sharing plans with its citizens more so in handling the issues that are aimed at eradicating inequality, poverty, unequal medical care access and terrorism. Tax system’s policies ought to be enhanced via the introduction of a progressive income tax system. Unification of the financial aid programs of the federal government to establish a system for assisting college students can boost the education system. Middle class people play a very vital role in the economy. As such, they ought to be addressed through an increase of minimum wages. Public-private partnerships should also be encouraged in the provision of global health insurance. The electoral system ought to be revived in order to encourage political process involvement. Political parties’ strengthening has been suggested by Volgy via the provision of more freedom to two American political parties. This will ensure that they argue policies that address the problems of the Americans (171). Most Americans are free when associated with political parties that engage in activities that help ordinary citizens instead of rich individuals.
There is a large portion of Americans who no longer have empathy and trust for the government because it has been reluctant in addressing the needs of the society. Their claim is that there is no openness of the government to the citizens. Due to various civil culture aspects, empathy and trust are vital. Absence of empathy combined with the events of the current political arena can ruin the American democratic government. Through civil engagement, the government engages all communities in what it plans to do with an aim of changing their lives. Nevertheless, failure to address societal needs makes the citizens less concerned about the plans of the government. It is important that the government review policies with aim of ensuring the involvement of all citizens in the country’s development. This will make citizens responsive and this will eliminate the threat that American democracy is facing.
Honigsbaum, Mark. “Barack Obama and the ’empathy deficit’” theguardian, The Observer, January 4, 2013. Web. 21 February. 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jan/04/barack-obama-empathy-deficit>
Skocpol, Theda. “The Tocqueville Problem.” Social Science History 21.4 (1997): 455-479.
Tobin, Rick. The Common Class: Egoism and the Attack on American Education. Lincoln: iUniverse, 2007. Print.
Volgy, Thomas J. Politics in the Trenches: Citizens, Politicians, and the Fate of Democracy. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2001. Print.