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Why does the American political system work?

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  Quote Kubrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Why does the American political system work?
    Posted: 20-Oct-2004 at 19:11
Ok, I have always wondered this.

The American Constitution has been copied, emulated, and used around the world.  Yet no other country, even resource rich and large countries like Argentina could not get it to work like the Americans do.

Is it because the Americans as a people demand their rights, or is it something else?
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  Quote Genghis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2004 at 19:21
I think it's because we have a democratic tradition and a populace that would not tolerate a dictatorship or coup.
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  Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2004 at 19:34
I think its because americans for the most part are oblivious to the constitution and everyday constitutional rights are ignored, disregarded and just plain old spat on. That is why everyday many cases are brought up invoking the constitution. That's why I think the US constitution doesn't bring up problems, because common americans don't use it as often.
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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2004 at 21:15
At first it was because of the rugges individualism of frontier life, it was partially upheld by continuing waves of immigration preventing political entrenchment and nepotism, and now it doesnt matter for as janus said, most Americans cant tell you anything about the constitution and are oblivious to its distruction. 
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  Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Oct-2004 at 21:50
Most Americans are even willing to give up some of their rights just to feel secure, like in the Patriot Act they passed right after 9/11. It gives the government the right to listen to any phone/internet conversation and look at any of your records for any reason, even if you are not suspect to anything. Giving up freedom to feel secure? This isnt Dictatorship, this is America. After something like 9/11 you would think the country would be hardened, but its just the opposite. If youve seen peoples responses to the Patriot Act, youll be disgusted. "well it sucks, but it just has to be done".....Iraqis are dying by the hundreds trying to defend their rights, and us Americans are casually giving them up. Im sorry, but thats weak. I guess thats why theres so many Bush supporters...too many people that want to give up freedom for security. They should call it the Fascist Act, the word Patriot has nothing to do with giving up freedom, for any reason.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 05:39
I tend to agree with Genghis here (rare occasion! ) most of the countries that adapted the American constitution were former European colonies that were oppressed by the Europeans, and before that by their own rulers.

Though I also agree with Armenians survival. It seems to me that most Americans won't care if they lose their civil and political rights (and they do already).
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  Quote Bryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 05:45

Its weak is it?

"Giving up freedom to feel secure?"  I suppose you mean giving up rights to feel secure? Oh my! That's something new, isn't it... not. Please, It's nothing new, and it's happened throughout our history. Who was it that said something to the equivalent that in order for government to work, one had to sacrifice some rights? Bah, I can't remember off the top of my head, but that basically describes not only America's government, but a few others as well. But now I'm going to get flack for grouping the American government with others around the globe.

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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 07:49

Originally posted by Kubrat

Ok, I have always wondered this.

The American Constitution has been copied, emulated, and used around the world.  Yet no other country, even resource rich and large countries like Argentina could not get it to work like the Americans do.

Is it because the Americans as a people demand their rights, or is it something else?

The American Constitution is actually based on the '2nd Treatise of Civil Government' by John Locke.

The Treatise is the basis for the British, French and US constitutions. It functions well in many former British & French colonies too. Some of it's values were spread across Europe by Napoleon, influencing the current constitutions of modern European countries.

http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/locke/locke2/2n d-contents.html

I think the American version of the treatise is the poorest, because it promotes aristocratic rule, the very thing John Locke wrote the treatise against in the first place. If one looks at modern America, politically it resembles more a 19th century European aristocracy than a modern European democracy. Which is perhaps why when introduced into societies with a strong ruling elite such as Argentina the system is quickly corrupted.



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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 10:01

I'm also under the impression that it's heavily influenced by the French Revolution ideas.

 

Now let me repeat:

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The basis of a democratic state is liberty. Aristotle, Politics

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  Quote Kalevipoeg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 12:37

It sometimes seems that America is the "most democratic" country in the world just because throughout its existence it has been hammered into the minds of the people. The US has the same elite as every major power has had throughout the history of the world. They have their hands in the ruling of the country. It isn't the presidents team that rules the country solo. What makes USA so very democratic anyway? The people don't have any more say in the matters of ruling as do any other democratic country. It surprised me to hear in school that the US president is much more dictatorious by his job description than most other democratic republics around the world.

"The American Constitution has been copied, emulated, and used around the world.  Yet no other country, even resource rich and large countries like Argentina could not get it to work like the Americans do."

I hardly think it is the constitution alone that has made the US into the number 1 country in the world by military status and only by military status because the US has little or nothing else to show for this day. The US has had a very lucky history compared to some. The 2 World Wars didn't reach their grounds and they probably made more money off the wars than lost it. After the 2nd one they were the only major power to stand against the Reds and that was the main reason they gained such power.

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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 13:55
Originally posted by Bryan

Its weak is it?

"Giving up freedom to feel secure?"  I suppose you mean giving up rights to feel secure? Oh my! That's something new, isn't it... not. Please, It's nothing new, and it's happened throughout our history. Who was it that said something to the equivalent that in order for government to work, one had to sacrifice some rights? Bah, I can't remember off the top of my head, but that basically describes not only America's government, but a few others as well. But now I'm going to get flack for grouping the American government with others around the globe.

 

yes everyone does do it, your right.  But its even worse for Americans to do it, its a slap int eh face to Benjamin Franklin and the revolution.  People liek the Chinese or the Spanish are more used to living under dictators and dont care about personal liberty.  Americans are supposed to.

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  Quote Kubrat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 16:25
The one thing that catches me off guard all the time is the impact of mass media on the American populace.  What it seems like to me, is that the American people are getting spoon-fed what ideas they are supposed to think.
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  Quote Bryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 17:42
We aren't getting spoon-fed... at least not to the extent of some other countries, but then, we're talking about just America. For every voice in the media, there's an opposite voice. While some voices are definitely louder than others, all the differing voices are still there. I'm not so naive to think that there aren't Americans out there who love to be spoon-fed what to think, nor am I naive enough to think that there are not a good many media outlets in America that cater to those who like to be led like sheep. The thing with any media, though, is that you have to try to find the other sides of the stories, and with all the different voices out there, you need to compare and contrast to find out the whole story.
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  Quote ArmenianSurvival Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 19:07
Bryan, absolutely true. But the sad thing is most people only listen to one voice. Most people go on things based on first impression, you have to plug in new things as you go along. But they have a word for people who like to look at things differently based on new information they recieve: a flip-flopper. Theyre giving people the idea that you have to stick with what you initially think, no matter what happens after. At least thats what Bush is saying.
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  Quote Bryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Oct-2004 at 20:34

"But they have a word for people who like to look at things differently based on new information they recieve: a flip-flopper." You're acting as if this word has just been coined, or redefined. It's not, and it hasn't been; it's been used before in politics. The only reason it's such a "big" thing at the moment is because of the constant harping that that is what Kerry is. And even then, it isn't all that "big". And Kerry's only being called that because of the "conflicting decisions" that he's made in Congress.

"Theyre giving people the idea that you have to stick with what you initially think, no matter what happens after." While some may percieve it as such, I doubt that it will last past the election, and the almost inevitable court case following the results, until the next time it will be used in politics. Besides, I doubt that they're actually giving people such a new and novel idea as flip-flopping, as most of the people willing to think that have most likely already thought something similar to that idea beforehand, and thus this is just reinforcing it.

"At least thats what Bush is saying." Like I said, this is not a new idea, especially not in politics, most notably where elections are concerned. The Bush administration is just using something that's been used before. Trust me, flip-flopper won't become a sticking term, any more than it has in the past. If anything, it may turn into a keyword with which to remember this Presidential Election.

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  Quote Jalisco Lancer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Oct-2004 at 11:43

source:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20041 022/ts_alt_afp/us_vote_florida_fraud&cid=1506&ncid=2 043

Tens of thousands of US voters illegally registered in two states: paper
 
Every minute that passes on the US Presidential race reminds me more to elections down here in Mexico

 

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Add to My Yahoo!  U.S. National - AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - Tens of thousands of voters are illegally registered in Florida and another state, a daily reported, fueling concerns about possible irregularities in the state at the center of the 2000 electoral chaos.

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A comparison of voters' rolls from Florida with those in Georgia and North Carolina found more than 68,000 cases in which people with the same names and birth dates were registered in two states, the Orlando Sentinel said.

In August, the Daily News said that a similar study showed that 46,000 New York voters also were registered to vote in Florida.

It is illegal to be registered to vote in two states.

The reports heightened concerns of renewed irregularities in the state where recounts and legal battles held up the 2000 presidential elections by five weeks before George W. Bush was declared the winner thanks to a lead of only 537 votes in Florida.

The Sentinel said the records it reviewed showed that 1,650 people had cast ballots both in Florida and in another state in the 2000 presidential or the 2002 gubernatorial elections.

While it is a felony to cast ballots in two states in the same election, chances of getting caught are slim because there is no nationwide voter database and state officials seldom check if voters also are registered elsewhere.

Florida authorities had earlier asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI (news - web sites)) to investigate the Daily News report.

Some Republican party officials have blamed supporters of John Kerry (news - web sites), and point to an Internet campaign dubbed "Operation Snowbird" that encouraged New Yorkers who reside part of the year in Florida to register in the southeastern state that is considered crucial for the Democrats.

Authorities said they were also investigating a number of other complaints into alleged attempts to commit electoral fraud.

"These complaints are regarding voter registrations, party affiliation forms, and absentee ballots," the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a statement.

The concerns and the electoral weight of Florida have set the spotlight on the battleground state, where about a dozen lawsuits have been filed in connection with the presidential election.

In one case, a federal judge Thursday rejected a Democratic request that the state accept provisional ballots cast in wrong precincts. US legislation passed in the wake of the 2000 chaos says voters who don't appear to be registered must be given provisional ballots, which are checked later for eligibility.

Democrats and civic rights groups also have complained that new touch-screen voting machines do not produce print-outs, which would make it impossible to conduct a manual recount if one were needed.

With Florida likely to be a tight and potentially pivotal race, Bush and Kerry have made the southeastern state a main focus of their campaigns.

Both campaigns have urged voters to take advantage of a system that allows them to cast ballots ahead of the November 2 election day. Florida authorities said the early voting was proceeding smoothly and with a strong turnout, following what they termed minor glitches when it started on Monday.

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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Oct-2004 at 21:29
well, it better work this time, i just sent away my absentee ballot, and I thought I would be sad as I would be voting for one of the 2 major parties but thankfully all those local election stuffs on there meant I could vote libertarian for all the smaller folks
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  Quote maersk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Oct-2004 at 23:07
id like it if our government was more like that or germany or sweden, like in berlin where they have the glass dome over their parliment building and people can walk on moving stairs and see their government at work, i wish DC had something like that, where regular people could just observe the workings of government, also i like the idea of coalition governments, having every major party represented.
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  Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Nov-2004 at 23:37
I don't know how much attention the cultural division between the red and blue states got outside of this country, but that really explains many of the appearent paradoxes that the U.S. has.

Briefly, the red states are culturally conservative and the blue states are cosmopolitan. Rural folks vs. City dwellers.

The most offensive aspects of current American culture to the world, unilateralism, militarism, blind patriotism and respect for the state, and willingness to give up your civil rights for security are rooted in red states.

Politically progressive agendas, civil liberty protection, and multilateralism are found in blue states.

Of course this is a gross simplification, but that is the gist of it.

Once one understands this cultural division, understanding the U.S. becomes much easier.
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  Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Nov-2004 at 23:58
To answer the original question, I agree with Genghis: the U.S. has had a long democratic tradition that was brought from England.

Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution was not a plan that a group of people tried to force on a new nation. For example, the entities of states comes naturally from the colonies. Also, the concept of federalism is an offshoot from the Continental Congress and of the first U.S. Congress.

We should also remember that the current U.S. Constitution was really a second draft for a plan for the nation, composed after living under the Articles of the Confederation, the original U.S. constitution. In other words, today's Constitution addressed the political problems that the Articles could not forsee.

The U.S. Constitution is a document that sets in motion a political balancing machine. It works by having several conflicting interests slowing down change. This prevents political overhauls created by short mass histeria among the masses.

In other words, the U.S. Constitution was made to address the unique value and conflits of this nation. It is a tailored suit, not a pattern for mass production.
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