Politics-Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
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Civil Liberties Events
Civil liberties refer to the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and the constitution. Such include the right to vote, right to privacy, right to fair trial and the right to marry among others. The United States has experienced numerous civil liberties events, one of them being in the ruling on New York Times Co. v United States. In the case, the issue was freedom of the press where the Nixon administration had sought an injunction against the New York Times and the Washington Post. The aim was to prevent them from publishing content from the Pentagon that was considered classified. The court ruled in favor of the New York Times insisting that freedom of the press must be respected. It noted that unless the actions of the press fall under the limitations to the First Amendment, the government had no right to interfere as the main purpose of the press is to enlighten the public (Lee, 2013).
In another civil liberty event, a gay couple was denied a marriage license in Kentucky by a clerk who Cited violation of her religious beliefs. The incident happened shortly after a Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that advocated for equal treatment of same-sex couples. In their ruling, the court agreed that the fourteenth amendment guarantees the right to marry, a fundamental liberty that applies to both heterogeneous and gay couples. In her refusal to issue the marriage certificate to David Ermold and David Moore, Kim Davis (the Kentucky clerk) violated the fourteenth amendment. She was later put in jail for five days after defying a court order to issue the marriage license (Lithwick & Stern, 2015). During this period, protests erupted in support of her actions. Davis’s actions are only among the few documented on the discrimination that goes on against same-sex couples
Media events that have influenced the public’s opinion of a government agency
Media plays a very critical role in the society by informing the public of what is happening around them and even pointing out both the good deeds and atrocities being done. It has influenced the public opinion in the past by changing their view on certain matters around them. One example is the Watergate Scandal, a major political event that happened in the 1970s. Five burglars were arrested in the office of Democratic National Committee located in the Watergate Complex as they were trying to wiretap phones and steal documents. On them, the police discovered thousands of dollars which were connected to the committee to re-elect the president (CNN, 2017).
The incident caught the attention of investigative journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington post who sought to determine the source of the money. It is through their investigations that they discovered the illegal activities that President Nixon was involved in. This led to further probe by Congress on the activities of the Whitehouse and on 8th August 1974, President Nixon resigned in disgrace owing to the pressure that had been put on him (CNN, 2017). Another incident that was highly influenced by the media was the protests in different parts of the country over the shooting of black citizens. One of the incidences involved the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown in August 2014.
The incident was highly publicized as the American citizens followed closely the trial of the officer responsible for killing the teenager. Considering the evidence presented, the Grand Jury decided not to indict the officer. The decision led to a nationwide uproar of police brutality against the black citizens (Bryan, 2014). The citizens were not only angered by this incident, but they also started linking this event to others that had transpired before.
Differences between democrats and republicans
The Democrats and Republicans dominate the American politics but have very different views when it comes to issues of healthcare, taxes, gun control, and abortion among others. For instance, when it comes to the issue of abortion, the republican’s ideals are strongly guided by religion and they believe that it should be declared illegal. They highly believe in the sanctity of life and protection of the unborn child. The Democrats, on the other hand, believe that a woman should do whatever they see fit with their pregnancy and nobody should interfere to tell them what is right or wrong (Jelen, 2017). They highly believe in reducing cases of unwanted pregnancies by increasing sex education in schools.
Secondly, the republicans and democrats hold differing opinions when it comes to same-sex marriages. Republicans are highly against same-sex marriages and they hold the opinion that marriage should only be between a man and woman. Additionally, they insist that gay couples should not be allowed to adopt children. Democrats, on the other hand, have nothing against same-sex marriages. In fact, they insist that same-sex couples should not be treated any different from the heterosexual couples (Jelen, 2017). These two stands have put the American citizens in a moral dilemma with most of them not knowing how to react to same-sex marriages.
The differing opinions on abortion have existed for so many years with most Americans being against it. Women have not always had the right to abortion bot the Roe vs. Wade decision brought a new perspective to the issue. According to the ruling, the fetus is not a person protected by the constitution. Subsequent cases have also upheld this decision. Over the years, more Republicans have started to approve of same-sex marriages. According to Jelen (2017), approval of same-sex marriages among the Republicans has increased by 10% while that of Democrats has increased by 15% since 2004. More people are becoming aware of gay marriages with some states such as California bestowing the same treatment to gay couples as traditionally married couples.
CNN. (2017, June 10). Watergate Fast Facts. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/23/us/watergate-fast-facts/index.html
Bryan, K. (2014, November 25). Ferguson shooting: background to the grand jury decision into the police officer who shot Michael Brown – in 60 seconds. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11251768/Ferguson-shooting-background-to-the-grand-jury-decision-into-the-police-officer-who-shot-Michael-Brown-in-60-seconds.html
Jelen, T. G. (2017). Public Attitudes toward Abortion and LGBTQ Issues. SAGE, 7(1). Doi: 10.1177/2158244017697362
Lee, J. (2015, October 26). 3 Major Supreme Court Cases That Protected Our Civil Liberties against the Government. Retrieved from https://mic.com/articles/29173/3-major-supreme-court-cases-that-protected-our-civil-liberties-against-the-government#.C9Wra4eHc
Lithwick, D., & Stern, M. J. (2015, December 28). The Worst Civil Liberties Betrayals of 2015. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2015/12/these_are_the_top_10_betrayals_of_civil_liberties_in_2015.html