A liberal democratic government generally refers to a government whereby the election of the leaders is a free and very fair activity. In such a government where democracy is being practiced, all the citizens are given equal rights to the access of resources and also voting irrespective of their race, economic status, social status and gender. In actual sense, the opinions of the people are very important in as far as the decision making of the nations is concerned. To a great extent it can be said that the United States government represents one of a liberal democratic government (Ginsberge 2009, p. 177). This kind of a statement will be clearly supported by the evidence that will follow.
Definition of Terms
In trying to answer the question of the extent to which the United States government is a liberal democratic government, there are a number of terms that must be used and therefore they are worth to de defined before. It should be noted that there can never be a government without politics (Hernandez 2009c, 1). This means that a government is a product of politics. Therefore, politics refers to the process of actually determining the person that achieves what, how and when. It is the government that makes decisions concerning how politics will be conducted in a particular country or nation. Democracy, on the other hand refers to the process of letting the people rule. In a democratic government therefore, the people who are the citizen are left free to make the rules. In this kind of system of governance, there is equality in the ways in which people are treated. However, it is not always that all the people get the chance to participate or rather gets audience. Worst of all, people differs in their ways of thinking. Therefore, this is whereby the majority rules and the issue of liberty also come up in such a government (Hernandez 2009c, 2. In this situation, the citizens besides having the democracy, they need freedom to exercise it which contrasts with the fact that there are other members of such a society who also need equality in exercising their power of democracy. In America, despite the fact that there is democracy, a great challenge comes up in the issue of equality in exercising such rights. Some of the area where such difference is felt is in terms of gender, race and social economic status. Some of the citizens also feel they have less freedom to exercise their rights.
Political ideology is a very important tool in trying to analyze the politics in the United States of America. This is because; it helps in understanding the way in which the practices and beliefs should be arranged. In America for instance, political systems and ideologies from different people are very contrasting because; much of Populism ideology has been practiced especially in California since the year 2003. Of course the citizens have sufficiently exercised their rights of democracy in many ways for instance through recall method whereby they have had a chance to reject a person who has already been elected in an office. Also, in a number of times they have too conducted an initiative whereby they seek a certain number of signatures to back up their claims of not wanting a certain person in the office. During the process of law making in America, the citizens are also given a chance to vote for or against the proposed law in a process known as referendum.
Apart from the political ideology means of exercising democracy, the citizens in America have had a chance to exercise their freedom too through systems of economic ideology. Actually there are two types of systems namely the socialism and the capitalism. The two of them coexist in America but with Capitalism being the most prevalent. This is whereby most of the Americans prefer to the ownership of property to be at individual level.
Actually most of the policies in the United States of America are based on economic, political and social ideologies. Conservatism ideology for instance, enables the maintenance of what is called the status quo. The government uses status quo as a tool through which the distribution of national wealth is achieved. This kind of practice has also brought about a number of movements like the ones referred to as feminist. These are out to fight for gender rights or equality in case there is depletion of rights to one gender in the process of national cake sharing or access to opportunities.
Democracy in America is also evidence by the great influence that lies in the opinion of the public. This is because, in most of the cases there is a collection of the opinions of the public concerning some very important issues which even concerns the governance of the states. This is done through a system known as the opinion poll counts. The public opinion is also sought so as to know who is working how in the government (Hernandez 2009a, 3). This is aimed at getting to know who is doing the right thing and who is not working at all in the government. This is very helpful because the entire public gets to participate equally and also to exercise their democratic rights. However, some influences like from the media are greatly avoided to ensure that the public makes an informed choice.
Another area that the citizens of America experiences liberal democracy is through the constitution. A constitution refers to the document that contains the rules, laws and regulation governing a particular state or county. It gives the powers and the principles of the American government as well as the guidelines on how fair and free politics should be conducted in the American states (Ginsberge 2009, p. 54). Also, the powers of all government branches namely the legislature, judiciary and the executive are well laid down. This ensures that there is a balance of power in the government. This is because, while the legislature makes those laws, the executive carries them out and the judiciary settles any dispute that may arise in the process of the two trying to coexist.
Civil rights is another area through which the people of America achieve their liberal democracy. This is whereby all the citizens have rules but with a guarantee of equality and of course freedom. In this form of democracy, the concern is basically on whether all the types of groups in the country are experiencing equal and fair treatment from other groups and the government itself. Some of the groups through which civil rights are greatly followed up are the religious groups (Hernandez 2009d). In America, there are so many religious groups and none of them deserves better treatment than the other. This is whereby, actually, the rights of the individuals are overlooked as compared to the rights of the entire group. The fight for the civil rights started in the 1940’s, whereby some of the Americans felt that they were not equally treated due to their social status, religion, race and academic which lead to the birth of the Act of civil rights. Especially the issue of racial and gender discrimination in terms of rights to vote led to the Act.
Another area that Americans have experienced liberal democracy is through the women rights. Gender inequality was for so long a great hindrance to the achievement of democracy in America. This is because, women were really restricted in so many areas like the level of education, the societal role they had to play and also the restrictions in politics and other forms of leaderships (Hernandez 2009b, p. 3). Due to the rights that the women have been granted, they are now even involved in leadership, politics, they are also pursuing education to even the greatest rank ever in American universities.
One of the laws in the constitution also had to be amended so as to be favorable to the people. A very good example is that the police had all the right to search the houses of people even without a warrant. But after the adjustments, the police now can not search the house of any person without their consent even if they have a search warrant. Moreover, the law is now liable to punish even the law enforcers who do not observe the law themselves (Hernandez, 2009e). It is also very evidence that gender economic rights are also now being administered to the deprived. This is especially the women whose economic rights have been greatly violated. Another area where America has been proven to be a democratic liberal country is through the political groups. The power possession of any party has to be through a secret ballot. This is whereby the people or the citizens of America during the elections are given a chance to appoint the leaders and the party that they want to govern them. This is done through a secret ballot, where every one of them is given a chance to secretly make an informed choice on the leader he or she wants to govern the country. By doing that they are given equal right and a freedom to choose for them.
The issue of having many political parties is another sign of liberal democracy in America. This is because, in an event of one party losing during the elections, the other party plays the role of a watch dog. This is whereby; it monitors the performance of the ruling party so as to keep it in track (Ginsberge 2009, p. 299). Concerning the leadership, the powers of the presidents are also limited to ensure that he or she does not exploit the rights of the citizen or even political competitors. Also, the rights of the president are divided and minimized as much as possible to ensure that he or she does not feel above the law at any particular time. Therefore, it is very right to say that America is one of the nations that have a liberal democratic government where the freedom and rights of the citizens are based on equality.
- Ginsberg, Benjamin, et. al., 009. We the people: 7th Essentials Edition. New York: W.W. Norton
- Hernandez, Jeffrey. 2009a. Influencing public opinion. Self-published.
- Hernandez, Jeffrey. 2009b. primer on political participation. Self- published.
- Hernandez, Jeffrey.2009c. Political participation. Self-published.
- Hernandez, Jeffrey. 2009d module 4 supplemental notes. Self-published
- Hernandez, Jeffrey. 2009e module 1 supplemental notes. Self-published.
- Handout- Notes- Hernandez 2009d