In just four short months, I will be 18 and over this past year I have been very excited that I will have to opportunity to vote in the 2012 Election this November. Being in Government and Economics class this year has really opened my eyes to want to become more aware of and more involved in our government today. Knowing that I will have the opportunity to vote has really influenced me to pay more attention and become more aware of what is going on in society today.
Over the course of this past trimester, we have covered many topics such as the Elections, Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts. The one unit that we have covered that has truly interested me is when we discussed Elections and we talked about voter participation and campaign commercials. Many would argue that the votes of young Americans don’t matter because they are inexperienced and don’t completely understand what America really wants, or needs. Even though young Americans aren’t as experienced as their elders, most people don’t understand how important the votes of young Americans really are.
One question that we were asked to think about was, “does modest voter participation in America really matter?” I believe that if people are uninformed about what is going on in our U.S. government, their votes wouldn’t do anyone any good. In other words, it would be better for them to not vote at all. If these uninformed people voted, their votes wouldn’t help us, U.S. citizens, get an accurate depiction of what the people in America actually want to see in a leader. The elite democratic model suggests that full participation is not as important as having a fair leader that the people of America who are involved in politics want. I agree completely with this model. If unmotivated and uninformed people vote in the Presidential Election this would hurt our government, not necessarily help it. However, even though this is my opinion about younger voters, I still believe that if a majority of young Americans were educated about politics then this would positively impact the result of any presidential election greatly. This is seen to have happened in the 2008 Election; approximately 2 to 3 million more young people voted than in 2004, causing the voter-participation rate to be the highest in a century. Also, in 2008, 66% of American citizens under 30 voted for President Obama making the difference between young voters and any other age group the largest since the exit polling began in the presidential election in 1972.
In order to target these young voters in the 2008 Election, President Obama clearly took advantage of the use of campaign commercials. One can infer this from watching the campaign commercial, “Yes We Can”. In this commercial there are a lot of young Americans from different backgrounds showing their support for President Obama in the 2008 Election. This probably helped lead to the agreement between all young Americans from all different backgrounds to think of “Yes We Can” with President Obama as president. I believe that this ad really helped out President Obama in 2008. I liked how the commercial “Yes We Can” had a song in because it made me believe that the country would be better with a change in the White House. Throughout this unit, it truly amazed me how a commercial or a group of people can really affect the result of a presidential election.
Over the course of this school year I have honestly and truly learned a lot. I really feel like I have grown to appreciate what the government does to help and secure America as the “land of the free”. Being in Government and Economics has helped me start to form my own opinions that I feel I will carry for the rest of my life. Being more aware and being educated about politics at a young age is very beneficial because it allows more people to know that they can make a difference in society today. After all, “children are the future” and in order to create a future that young Americans will be proud of, more involvement is necessary in the government to form America around the values that we want it to be like for the rest of our lives.
Over the course of this year, it has amazed me how much that I have learned in government and economics. During the last two trimesters, we have covered the topics such as ‘Civics 101’, Foundations, Political Parties, Elections, Congress, and, now, the Presidency. Covering all these topics has really helped me gain a sense on which side, politically, I agree with. Doing the activities, ‘Fun with Article I’ and ‘Fun with Article II’, have helped aid to my understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Learning more about what is unconstitutional and constitutional has led me to form an opinion on Obama’s health care reform bill. Also, because I am a potential voter this November, I have felt the need to learn more about what happens in our U.S. government. Due to this, it has led me to become more aware of what is going on in our world and has caused me to watch the news almost every day. I have even applied my analytical thinking skills that I have used consistently in this class to help me understand on a deeper level the Supreme Court Case that took place to debate whether or not President Obama’s health care reform bill is constitutional or not.
It has been two years (2010) since the national health care reform bill or the Affordable Health Care Act was signed into law. The goal and concept was to make health care coverage more affordable for all Americans.
The Affordable Health Care Act mandates that every American purchase health insurance. This may come to be unconstitutional according to the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). This clause states that Congress shall have the power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” However the only important words here are that Congress has the power “To regulate Commerce…among several states.” This helps to support that it isn’t right to force Americans to pay for something that is government enforced. Over the past two years many states have started litigation against the U.S. government to repeal Obamacare and since 2009, when President Obama proposed the bill, 52% of all Americans have disapproved. If this bill stands, the government will have more control and will continue to take future freedoms from every American. I think we should take care of the truly poor and disabled, but without the government controlling this issue. America was built on the foundations of democracy and capitalism. If the health care system was able to expand systematically and real competition was permitted, then the United States would be a lot better off. America is a nation where there is continuous and healthy competition among its citizens and the power should remain with the voice of the people.
During the Supreme Court Case, there was a heated debate for two hours over whether the government can require all Americans to obtain health insurance by January 1, 2014 or face a penalty. Towards the beginning of the debate, the more conservative Justices started by arguing that the new health care mandate will regulate how and when people pay for health care. However the opposing side, U.S. Solicitor General Don Verrilli, emphasized a viewpoint on that health care is unique in that people often have no control over when they need health care. The Chief Justice became skeptical and asked that if the health care mandate succeeded as being a new law, then could the government make everyone buy a cell phone to be ready to call 911? Other Justices tried to prove that this mandate would lead to a government with more power and more involvement in our lives.
In my opinion the Chief Justice made a really good point when he observed and said that not everyone would need pediatric or maternity benefits. It is true that wealthy Americans can afford to pay for health insurance as soon as they need it, but until they need it why would it be useful to have to pay for? After Verrilli sat down, the former Solicitor General, Paul Clement brought up two really good points. He said “in enacting the mandate, Congress was not regulating commerce but instead trying to create commerce; and, if the mandate is upheld, there will be virtually no limits on what Congress can do using its power to regulate commerce.” Under the Constitution it is clear that the health care reform bill violates the commerce clause. Michael Carvin was the third lawyer in the court case to speak and he challenged that health care reform was unconstitutional, which he supported with the commerce clause. He said “Congress can regulate something that has a negative effect on commerce, but it can’t regulate something just because statistically it relates to something that might affect commerce- for example, in this case, because some uninsured people may need health care that they can’t afford, thereby passing the costs on to the rest of us.”
If I were a Supreme Court Justice voting on this topic, I would vote against the mandate due to the unknown affects it could have on America. Freedom was given from the beginning of our nation’s history and it is not right to force every American to pay for something they might not need or want. The Supreme Court Justices who oppose this health care mandate are on the side that every American should be on. If this mandate passes it will open up a bunch of doors that will allow the government to step in and take more control in our every lives and, also, this bill clearly goes against the commerce clause. The United States of America was built on the foundations of freedom, and full American freedom will not be reached until President Obama’s health care mandate is put to rest by the Supreme Court.
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