Politics refers to the administration and control of internal and external affairs of a country, state or city. America's system of government is in my opinion the best system out there. Yes, it is flawed and somewhat corrupt, but we, the American people still have the opportunity to change and control every outcome. This is not so in many governments across the globe, as dictators take control of office and abuse their power by crippling their people. Unfortunately the American people have lost their understanding of how government works. It may be lack of education, or it could be lack of interest. Whatever the reason, it is greatly effecting our country. Each election when people vote for someone or something based on popularity or trend, instead of being educated about the issues, we allow for events and policies to happen that contradict our desires as a society. Regardless of your party affiliate, this article hopefully will educate you on some of the basic things that you need to know. Below I have listed seven basic government and economic truths.
1. American politics is run for the people and by the people. This means we have direct influence over who represents us in our government. Each public office has a "term" in which a person serves. When that term is up, the people have the right and opportunity to either keep that person in office or change representatives. For example, the President of the United States has a four year term. If at the end of that term the American people are unhappy with his/her performance we can elect someone new to take their place. Some political offices have limits to the amount of terms that can be served. In the case of the President he must give up his office at the end of 2 terms (eight years). Why is this so important? It ensures that we will never have a dictator or monarchy that controls our society.
2. There are three branches of our government: Legislative, Judicial and Executive. Each is important and allows for all branches to be balanced by the others. The Legislative branch is made up of the House of Representatives and Senate Representatives (also known collectively as Congress). The primary purpose of the legislative branch is to write, debate and pass laws. The Judicial branch, which includes our court systems, is in charge of interpreting the laws the legislative branch passes. The role of the Executive branch is to enforce the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judicial system. Because all three branches affect our laws and administration of the country, we need to pay attention to who is elected or appointed to every office.
3. The U.S. government does not sell or manufacture anything in order to make money. The only way that the government has money to spend is by taking it from the American people via taxes. The only exception to this is payment for postal services or passports and legal documents which covers the cost of processing and shipping of these materials. This however is NOT where the government's money comes from. For example, if you have a job, you can look at your pay statement and see that the government takes a percentage of your wages before you are even allowed to see it. Income tax, real estate tax, sales tax and more, this is where the government's money comes from. Therefore the government's money is actually the money they have taken from you.
4. There is no such thing as a free lunch. What does this mean? Nothing is free, because someone is paying for it. Every program that the government has, and every dollar they spend is taken from our pockets. What does this include? Welfare, health programs, war expenses, bail out money, government official paychecks, and everything else the government claims is free to the public. It is NOT free. We all are paying for it with our taxes. For this reason, we should care where the government is spending their money, because it is our money they are spending.
5. Government officials are accountable for their actions. Some of the American people wonder why we hold public officials to a higher standard then others. The answer is they have made promises to us and we have elected them based on the trust they will keep those promises. If they violate the American peoples' trust we have the right to demand their removal of office.
6. The President of the United States is the commander and chief of all the military branches. Military personnel is required to follow the orders of their chain of command. Therefore, the President of the United States, and the high ranking military offices are responsible for the security of this country and the wars or military presence we have in other countries.
7. Voting is the loudest and most effective way to influence government. We can do protests and rally's all day long, but what it comes down to is how you and the rest of the American public votes. If you choose not to vote you have chosen not to have an opinion of the government. In most elections you can vote for any candidate regardless of what party you belong.
There are many resources for you to learn in more detail how American politics works. I encourage you to go to your local library or book store and learn about each political party, how the three branches of government work, and how to participate in each election process. The education of the American people on this topic will surely effect the direction in which this country is headed in the future.