government

CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY

The basic premise of a constitutional democracy is that government has

rules and all of the people have voices. Through free and fair

elections we elect candidates to represent us. The Constitution of the

United States guarantees us the right to do this, and to live

democratically. The framers attacked tyrannical government and

advanced the following ideas: that government comes from below, not

from above, and that it derives its powers from the consent of the

governed; that men have certain natural, inalienable rights; that it is

wise and feasible to distribute and balance powers within government,

giving local powers to local governments, and general powers to the

national government; that men are born equal and should be treated as

equal before the law. The framers of the U. S. Constitution sought to

make these ideas the governing principles of a nation. Constitutional

democracy has three basic elements. Those being interacting values,

interrelated political processes and interdependent political

structures.

The first idea of interacting values is popular consent. Popular

consent means that government must obtain consent for its actions from

the people it governs. It is similar to majority rule, a political

process, in that the most popular acts or ideas of the people will be

adopted by our government. There must be an allowance or willingness

on behalf of the unpopular group to lose.

Popular consent may provide a means for judging parental consent laws

for minors seeking abortion. Since minors are not legally allowed to be

competent to engage in sex, to enter into contracts, or to form

sufficient "informed consent" to agree to their own medical
treatment,

it is incredible that

they would be regarded as competent to make a life and death decision

about something that later in life they might themselves regard as a

real person, with individual rights

Drawing on several major contributions of the enlightenment, including

the political theory of John Locke and the economic ideas of Adam Smith,

individualism posts the individual human being as the basic unit out

of which all larger social groups are constructed and grants priority

to his or her rights and interests over those of the state or social

group.

Individualism in its original form means looking at people as discrete

but whole units, without all the impressions of his social standing,

the make of his car or his postal code. It is a way of deliberation, to

tune out the clink of money in the background when you talk to

somebody, so that you can concentrate on that person\'s message and

judge it on its own merits.

It means looking at someone and not saying to yourself, "That\'s my

aunt" or "That\'s my boss,"

but rather, that is someone with his or her own inclinations and

desires, in other words, a true Individual who incidentally happens to

have this relation to me, as a relative or a superior.

On a grander scale, individualism is putting the individual above the

state and country. In those countries that have always been proud of

their traditional values of emphasis on the family or the country above

self they see Individualism as a direct attack on these values.

However, we live in a democratic country and we believe in

individualism and equal opportunity for all persons.

Equal opportunity for everyone is idealistic. Roosevelt outlined a

second bill of rights which the book states answers the question, "what

kind of equality?" This second bill of rights was four freedoms. They

were freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech &

expression and freedom of worship. There are laws and acts to guarantee

equal opportunity. For example, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 which

requires equal pay for equal work and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

which prohibits discrimination in programs receiving Federal funds.

But on a more personal level, we don\'t all start at the same line.

What about children beared with AIDS, or children born to the poor? Is

it believable that they have the same opportunities as a child born to

middle class parents who are still married? While every American can

be denied almost nothing because of race, color, national origin,

religion, sex, familial status, or disability, a lot of Americans

aren\'t in the position to be discriminated against. This means that

many Americans do not have the opportunity to fully exercise their

liberty. Personal liberty is freedom. It means all persons must be

given the opportunity to realize their own goals. It translates to

self-determination.

The Constitution states all people have the right to life, liberty and

freedom. This is a bit idealistic because one person\'s liberty may

infringe upon another person\'s freedom. Take abortion for example.

Although it is legal and feminists