Today’s Lesson in American Civics & History
Two hundred thirty-five years is a very brief history. The actual time span for having American Presidents is 224 years that is 56 single terms or 28 two-terms and of course 44 serving Presidents. I say this to underscore that the American System is a living and breathing politic that is far from mature. Change is a constant.
To understand the meaning of American Whigs, for example, one must back up to the British historical context.
“Tories were Loyalists of British North America who sided with Britain and Crown during the Revolutionary War. The Tory ethics can be summed up with the phrase 'God, King and Country'. Tories advocate monarchism, are usually of a High Church Anglican or Recusant Catholic religious heritage, and are opposed to the radical liberalism of the Whig faction.”
Historically, reference to political party affiliation can get confusing because parties as we know them now: Democrat and Republican were different and changing in the beginning as they continue to evolve today. The first two-party system was the Federalists and Anti-Federalists who were called the Democratic Republicans. See what confusing means.
Another way to contrast party philosophy is by their affinity to centralized government as in “Federal” versus dispersed government as in “States.” The creation of states was quite arbitrary based on powerful land owners and their role in the Revolution and development of the Constitution.
My point is that because state boundaries are arbitrary it may not be prudent to put as much credence on them as we do, but the fact is, our system is built and adjusted to accommodate states viewpoints as a form of local representation.
A person from my NowPublic.com audience suggests that modular government may be a good thing, though how we define the modules, aka, states, is another matter.
There is a notion in America that local people and local governments know more about their needs and desires than government organizations that are more removed. However, there is also a notion in America that certain needs and desires are common among the general population and that the standard for administering and attending these needs should be uniform to ensure fairness in allocating scarce resources.
Another way this is reflected is by stratifying people based upon their financial means. Those at the top of the stratification are the “haves,” and those at the bottom are the “have-nots.”
In America, there is a notion that the bottom must rise to something higher than impoverishment and that those at the top have an obligation if not a moral imperative to help move the bottom forward as that is good for everyone. Taxation and the allocation of government funds is how resources are distributed to address societal needs.
There is a notion in America that the fee market system and private sector should be promoted such that entrepreneurs and private business people are permitted to maximize their wealth while creating jobs and upward mobility for society in the free enterprise system of capitalism. While this is a prevailing philosophy, the fact remains that a large percentage of people are employed by government with the military being the largest employer. Gross domestic product is increased only by the private sector selling goods and services competitively in a global market.
The American government attempts to guide free market performance through laws and regulations that encourage investment and safe and environmentally acceptable practices.
“Reed, Other Mayors Meet to Discuss Federal Budget Cuts
Posted By - Michael King
Last Updated On: 2/23/2011 4:29:17 PM
WASHINGTON -- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is joining with 29 other US mayors for a strategy session on the US House's proposed budget cuts during the US Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting Thursday and Friday.
During the conference, the mayors will discuss ways to appeal to senators to avoid cuts to the Community Development Block Grant program and other programs -- like workforce training grants, community health centers, education and others -- that will affect cities dramatically.
The mayors will hold a news conference at 11:30 a.m. Thursday to share their strategy to combat the House's proposed cuts in the US Senate and answer questions about how the proposed cuts would affect their individual communities.”