Thursday, June 14, 2012


Political Dynamism 

A lot has been written about America’s superfluous dynamism, individualism, democracy and freedom yet there are many out there who dispute all that by citing many discrepancies that are evident in American society and American mode of governance. America is an energized nation distinguished from the rest of the world by its unique governance. It is known for upholding freedom of expression, of association, of assembly, and of press. However, America has been associated with groups having angry minds as lamented by Hofstadter (1964). Extreme right wingers within American social fabric have been blamed for spearheading paranoia in the past with Senator McCarthy and others of like mind remaining on the top list of the most culpable individuals (Hofstadter, 1964). Luce (1999) contends that Americans have been treacherous to each other, negligent of historical facts, and that there have been so many disappointments and oversights at the White House and Capitol Hill with self-deceit evident in the leaders occupying these two great historical dwellings.

Asai and Lucca (1988) hypothesize that individualism and collectivism are two concepts that are connected to social behavior and health indicators. Dynamism and the will to make a difference in their lives and in the living conditions of others are dominant indicators in American lifestyles. Americans are known for employing gesture of goodwill and reciprocity domestically and internationally. American citizens tend to be socially cohesive when working collectively to suppress social problems especially when engaged in matters related to volunteerism. Americans are individualistic when paying attention to personal matters. According to Asai and Lucca (1988), allocentrism, a term that translates to mean collectivism, is a feature of American culture. Despite originating in Europe, no country has been better placed at protecting democracy better than the United States. Americans have been the primary vanguards of democracy since the creation of their nation in 1776 from colonial power England.

Democracy gives American citizens the rights to exercise their freedoms that come in various forms. Democracy elevates political participation and political equality. Each and every citizen of voting age is given the right to partake in political discourse. People are to be treated equally before the law regardless of race, creed, color, sex, gender, national or political origin, and religious affiliation. There are a few factors that, if not corrected, may damage the reputation of American democracy. Good governance and social protection seem to have been declining in recent years because opposing parties are always diametrically opposed giving little room for exchange of ideas and for finding the middle ground. Unlike in the past when parties and individuals shared views and ideas, nowadays, party and individual self-interests seem to have been elevated above national interests. People vote along racial and religious lines. When one party seeks the middle ground and the other veers off course, rectifying political fragmentations will be extremely hard and difficult. Dangers from extremism, poor governance, corporate theft, and unpredictable economy are drifting American expectations and damaging American shared values. The wars being conducted in various fronts across the globe and America’s involvement or meddling in the affairs of sovereign nations, could alter this great nation’s foreign policy.  

References

Asai, M. & Lucca, N. (1988). Individualism and collectivism: Cross-cultural perspectives on self-ingroup relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 323-338.

Hofstadter, R. (1964). The paranoid style in American politics. Harper’s Magazine, November 1964, pp. 77-86. Retrieved from http://www-polisci.tamu.edu/upload_images/31/Hofstadter-TheParanoidStyle.pdf

Luce, H.R. (1999). The American century. Diplomatic History, Vol. 23, No. 2.




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