Even Hough I agree with Zion’s views on the participation in decisions, access to education and the lacking spirit of cooperation in America, Hook is correct in stating that for one to ignore improvements made from the past is unreasonable. The intricate system of democracy in the United States is all based on this idea of representation. We vote for a representative in congress, who then votes by how he/ she believes the people want her to vote. What? Where is the voice of the people?
Zion perfectly states that “no representative can adequately represent another’s deeds; the representative tends to become a member of special elite; the elected official develops an expertise which tends toward Its own perpetuation. ” Hook then counters Zion’s argument by stating that then no society Is democratic, “not even the direct democracies or assemblies of Athens or the New England town meetings. ” And indeed, that is the points There is truly no way to perfectly adhere to the voices of the people; Zion understands this, but at the same time, he doesn’t want us to settle for one system.
Zion needs the current system of democracy to continue to evolve. One f the most obvious flaws of the current system of representation is the fact that “the two major parties have am monopoly of presidential power, taking turns in the White House. ” Even though most Americans do not identify themselves with either party, because the candidates of the minority parties “do not have the access to the financial backing of the major parties, we Just have to pick one of the two that best fit our needs.
Even worse, “both parties almost always agree on the fundamentals of domestic and foreign policy, despite the election-year rhetoric which attempts to find Important differences. ” This Is obviously true – as I watch Barack Obama and John McCain during debates and rallies, I realize how similar they sound on the issues of energy and Israel. Both candidates wants to use clean coal, offshore drilling, wind turbines, etc, and both want a strong relationship with Israel.. Zion knows that education is key in determining an individual’s “wealth, political power, social status, leisure, and the ability to work in one’s chosen field”.
Unfortunately, as the cost for citizens to attend college exponentially increases, more ND more families are finding it impossible to give their children the advantage of a higher education. The Injustice is obvious in this situation, “a mediocre student with student can always go to college. [Yet] a mediocre student without money may not be able to go, even to a state college, because he many have to work to support his family. ” The equal opportunity to succeed Is completely undermined.
Hook, however, argues that the “Institution of a democratic society should seek to provide an equal opportunity to all its citizens to develop themselves to their full desirable potential. Ana Tanat ten only way every excellent receives an equal opportunity to succeed Ana access to education is if they were brought up by the state, because every family is unique with different environments. Hook consistently takes Zion’s words too literally. Zion is merely arguing that the government should step in and try its best to reduce the overwhelming disadvantages that families face in the “poor section of the city, whether white or black. Which is rational in a democratic society that stresses the equality of opportunity to succeed. All the elements of a democracy (freedom, education, protection, etc), can only be “sustained by a spirit in society, the tone and values of the culture. ” Unfortunately, as Zion states, “so long as [the drive that keeps people going in the society] is for money and power, with no ceiling on either, so long as ruthlessness is built into the rules of the democracy does not have a chance. Take the current financial crisis, because all of these powerful companies were filled with greed, they accepted bad mortgages and sold stocks that didn’t exist. Plus, with the loose regulation in America, this obviously wasn’t difficult. To cope with the failing financial market, Congress passed a 700 billion dollar bail out bill – all thanks to the innocent taxpayers’ money. “[This] is the uncontrolled libido of our society from which the rape of our democratic values necessarily follows. ” Once again, Hook blabs on about how Zion is exaggerating. Really?
Hook says that “the voice and votes of Main Street still count for more in a democratic policy than those of Wall Street. Congress has limited, and can still rather limit, the influence of money on the electoral process by federal subsidy and regulation” – I wonder what he thinks now, as all the news stations and citizens in the United States see differently. The one point that I don’t see eye to eye with Zion is how he measures democracy in America. Although it may seem unrealistic, I agree with Zion that “the ideal standard is the pragmatic one; it affects what we do. However, as Hook states, to completely dismiss the progress that America has made from the past is irrational, because democracy is a process. For example, Americans can “rightfully speak of progress of the African-Americans over the days of unrestricted Jim Crow and lynching bees of the past. ” I believe that comparing ourselves to the past, and seeing drastic improvements give us hope and encouragement, which can then give us motivation to further improve our democracy. Even though Zion may hold extreme leftist views, I agree with most of his perspectives on the current democracy in the United States.
I also believe that his refreshing and honest look at the flaws of our democracy is an essential step towards dressing and improving those shortcomings. Maintained, “democracy needs to be sustained by Americans Half the country doesn’t even bother going out to the polls during the presidential elections, and less than a third of the country even bother to vote in State elections. The first step towards increasing turn outs require actively informing and introducing individuals (especially those in underrepresented groups), to voting.
The younger generation register and vote less compared to the older age group, causing its interests to come second in government policies (health care before student loans). Fortunately, countless opportunities are available Tort ten government to reach out and pull these young citizens in to register so they are equally represented: student loans, military draft, after high school graduation, after discharge from a Juvenile supervision. If citizens were given the choice to register during these integral events, I’m convinced the voting turn out would be overwhelmingly higher.
One of the core values that Americans share is the equality of opportunity – every individual should have an equal opportunity to succeed. Yet this value is under threat, and an angry Howard Zion criticizes the US for denying this right to its citizens in various aspects. I agree with Zion that the public lacks access to education and information, and that the spirit of cooperation in America no longer exists – any defect in these three elements lead to a society that fails to promote equality.
Although I agree with Zion that we must compare ourselves to an ideal, as Hook stated, to completely overlook the progress that we have made from the past is irrational. Education is key in determining an individual’s “wealth, political power, social tutus, leisure, and the ability to work in one’s chosen field”. Unfortunately, as the cost for citizens to attend college exponentially increases, more and more families find it impossible to give their children the advantage of a higher education.
The inequality is obvious in this situation, for “a mediocre student with student can always go to college. [Yet] a mediocre student without money may not be able to go, even to a state college, because he many have to work to support his family. ” An equal opportunity to succeed is undermined and the gap between the rich the poor Just continues to grow. Americans have been denied (especially in the last eight years), vital information about their country’s foreign policy.
Numerous times in America’s history, politicians have been able to convince citizens that they have “special expertise which, if it could only be revealed, would support its position against critics. ” Not only can the government make up lies to Justify their actions (President Reagan about Grenade in 1983), the distribution of information is a function of power and wealth. And since the government obviously has a fair amount of control over the main stream media, he private media, critics of public policy has no “equal time” to the public man.
Thus, the private media lacks equal opportunity to inform the public, and at the same time, since the public is robbed of vital information, it has less say in political decisions. Zion understands that in order for there to be some sense of equality in access to education, information, etc. , “a spirit [of cooperation] in society’ has to exist. And “as long as [the] drive [that keeps people going] is for money and power, with no ceiling on either, democracy does not have a chance [in America].
For example, Zion shows us that the oil that polluted Californians beaches occurred as a cause of a system that cared more about an oil company’s profit than the need for a citizen to swim in clean water. Where is the sense of equality? “If there is one crucial cause in the failure of American democracy, it is the drive for corporate profit, and the overwhelming influence of money in every aspect of our lives. ” Zion’s method of measuring America’s democracy against an ideal may seem unrealistic and foolish, I agree that “the ideal standard is the pragmatic one; it affects what we do. ”