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Americans are proud of their country and they believe the political system of the USA is almost perfect. Of course, there are some controversies, but it is possible to note that the political system of the country does work. The country manages to address some of the most serious issues concerning equality, religion and freedom. More so, many people think that political culture of the USA is also almost perfect as it unites Americans. It is necessary to take a closer look at the most controversial issues like religion and minority’s rights to consider whether political system of the country is that perfect and whether the US political culture does unite Americans.
The affirmative action has been seen as one of the most controversial laws in the country. This law is aimed at defending rights of minority groups. This law is especially associated with people of colour. In terms of this law, some employers are forced to have certain quotas for minority groups. Higher educational establishments often have such quotas.
On one hand, the law is very democratic and positive as minority groups can obtain equal rights with the so-called alpha people (Sander, 2004). On the other hand, many argue that affirmative action is still unfair as people pertaining to minority groups are often evaluated in terms of their underprivileged status rather than in terms of their qualifications and skills. In other words, people argue that existing quotas add inequality and tension between different groups. Some groups of people feel neglected due to their race or gender.
Notably, the Supreme Court makes quite controversial decisions in connection with the affirmative action. Thus, Sander (2004, p. 390) notes that the two cases Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger suggest that “racial preferences were permissible under some circumstances but not others”. In the first case, the Supreme Court agreed that the university could have quotas to ensure representation of all groups of students which positively affected diversity within the US educational system.
In the other case, the Supreme Court agreed that the university had the right policy concerning racial equality, i.e. students’ race was not even taken into account as only their skills and ratings counted. Therefore, even the Supreme Court made quite controversial decisions which can be an illustration of the fact that affirmative action is still quite controversial.
Religion is another controversial issue in the US society. Thus, the First Amendment ensures freedom of religious expression. The free exercise clause ensures people’s freedom to practice any religion. The establishment clause ensures that the state will not pose any standards concerning religious practice and will not establish a state religion. These two clauses protect people’s freedom in different ways as people can be sure that the state will not make them practice a particular religion. On the contrary, people can practice any religion.
However, some controversies surrounding the two clauses have become transparent. Thus, Weaver and Lively (2009) mention the case of Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith which can be an illustration of the controversy concerning the free exercise clause. Thus, the court considered that the use of drugs during certain ceremonies should be prohibited. Thus, the ‘wall’ between the church and the state proved to be rather transparent. Basically, the state interfered in the religious practices.
However, on second thought, it is possible to note that the wall between the church and the state is still untouched. Even though the state may impose some laws and rules, it is the right of a person to decide whether he/she can live in the community where certain practices are prohibited. Thus, the individual can choose to leave the place where some religious practices are prohibited. Of course, the state will not ban just any practice as the state only prohibits practices involving drugs use, violence, abuse, etc.
Admittedly, there are still some controversies concerning religion and equality. However, there is something that still unites Americans even in their disagreement. Thus, political culture is what unites Americans. A political culture is “a patterned and sustained way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried out” (Wilson et al., 2012, p. 80). Americans believe that democracy is the most rightful path to follow. They also tend to use common sense when addressing various problems (Wilson, 2012).
Therefore, the entire judicial system of the USA is based on the use of common sense. Americans tend to use experience of previous generations. References to legal cases can be regarded as examples of such trend. More so, the cases mentioned above can also be regarded as illustrations of the use of common sense.
As for the democratic orientation, the cases concerning equality mentioned above can be regarded as examples of the trend. Thus, Americans strive for equality and equal opportunities for all citizens. Thus even though there are some controversies, the major ideas are shared by all stakeholders involved.
It is necessary to note that the political system of the United States is really sophisticated and can be regarded as almost perfect. There are various controversies concerning such serious issues as religion or equality. However, the US political culture unites Americans even in their disagreement. Americans share the same ideals which can help them the right decision to address the most serious issues.
Sander, R.H. (2004). A systemic analysis of affirmative action in American law schools. Stanford Law review, 57, 367-483.
Weaver, R.L. & Lively, D.E. (2009). Understanding the First Amendment. New York, NY: Lexisnexis.
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Wilson, J.Q., Diiulio, J.J. & Bose, M. (2012). American government: Institutions and policies. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.