The Significance Of Liberty, Equal Opportunity, And Democracy In The United States

When I read the topic of this essay, I wasn’t confident in my naive political views. I began to educate myself on politics and our current political climate. I concluded the idea that liberty, equal opportunity, and democracy could be further improved given our country’s current political climate.

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“Liberty means personal freedom and a government whose powers are limited by law”. To a certain extent, I believe we have liberty. The United States of America’s government enforces freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest. These aspects of the first amendment give the American citizens liberty. However, the government has been enforcing their laws through fear. The Founding Fathers stated all men were born equal, no matter the race or religion. But, if you are African American, you are at a disadvantage. Although the 13th amendment was ratified in 1865, ending slavery, and the discrimination between races should have vanished, there are still instances where history repeats itself. In recent years, hundreds of African American men have been unjustifiably shot by police officers. This is a clear example of liberty being obstructed. In addition, after the 9/11 attacks, Muslims have been racially profiled in airports nationally. This is because of their clothing due to their religion. Neither of these examples portrays the United States of America’s apparent “liberty”. Overall, although our country implanted ideals that involve citizens being given the ability of having liberty, there are an abundance of instances that show otherwise.

Equal Opportunity means there is no advantage or disadvantage between any person to succeed. Throughout the history of the United States, this aspect has improved with amendments such as the 13th, 14th, 15th, and many more. However, in recent years with our new president, this has taken a step backwards. This is evident as our own president advocates to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. This is to keep Mexicans out of our country which is the country known for its abundant opportunity. Similar to this scenario, is that of the Cuban people. In past years, Cubans that touched American soil no matter how they arrived were considered legal. Yet, in recent years the law has changed and Cubans that arrive illegally, even though they touched land are still considered illegal and are more than often deported back to Cuba. In regards to economic opportunity, women have always had a disadvantage. Since the beginning of the United States, women were regarded less than even though the constitution stated that all men were created equally. Although some might argue that there have been great advancements for women as now they can vote, hold property under their name, and according to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 women’s pay is starting to become equal to men’s pay, I still believe more can be done especially economically. Although the Equal Pay Act of 1963 states that pay wages can’t discriminate due to gender an incident in 2007 occurred where supervisor Lily Ledbetter was being payed 40% less than her male coworker that were supervisors. In all she earned for this was Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which gave workers expanded rights to sue in cases where discriminatory treatment is learned later after it’s started in a work place.

Although this is progress, that incident was the perfect time to push women’s economic equality further. Democracy is giving power to the masses by giving them a say in political activity. At the moment, in order to vote in a president, we use the electoral college. The electoral college gives more votes to states with more population. However, I believe that all votes should be done through popular vote as that gets a more accurate representation of all US citizens and doesn’t diminish anyone’s vote as the electoral college does. But, in smaller elections, such as voting for state representatives and governors, the electoral college is not involved, and the peoples vote actually determines who is elected. Therefore, our current political culture somewhat reflects this principle. Our Founding Father’s intended ideals, liberty, equal opportunity, and democracy, are not completely reflected in our country today. I believe that police officers must be reprimanded for the unlawful actions they take. Police officers are unlawfully killing African Americans and getting off scot free. No one is above the law including police officers. Equal opportunity can be achieved in this country if it lives up to the name it was given “the land of opportunity”. Government must stop changing rules that demonstrate our country’s given name. Trumps action and of the illegalization of Cubans does not represent our ideals of being “the land of the free”. However, it must also strive to improve on matters it has already begun, like equal pay for women.

The United States cannot get complacent. Real democracy is getting everyone’s vote not just getting the votes from states depending on the population which elects representatives to vote for the masses. Our country must improve to reflect the original principles that make up the United States of America.

01 April 2020

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