Political Apathy

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Spencer Shinkle
AP Government
24 December 2012

Political Apathy

Throughout the course of our history, Americans have followed a strong belief that, through hard work and initiative, hope can be brought to the political and economic spectrum. The American Dream has been a symbol meant to inspire and encourage citizens to seek their passion, enabling them to work with diligence to increase economic stability. However, many people in America today are losing faith in with this dream. It has become very evident that the political apathy from Americans significantly depends on their level of belief and faith in the American Dream.

The main goal of the American Dream is for workers to follow their path of interest and have rights to economic incentives that ultimately contribute to our support for capitalism. This system characterized by “private property, competitive markets, and limited government involvement in production and pricing of goods (Magleby 87)” is one of the main things that fuels and drives the American Dream. Most Americans of all incomes believe that the “free market system gives almost everyone a fair chance, that capitalism is necessary and freedom depends on it (Magleby 89).” This means that, in America, the competitive go-getter can make a fortune, build a dream home, and retire early. People who have more ability or work extremely hard will get ahead and earn more economic rewards in this land of opportunity. It is clear that the more freedom citizens have, the less apathy they feel toward politics. As we are in more economic turmoil, faith in the American Dream and our capitalist system is being slowly diminished. This is causing apathy as people give up and start to care less and less about politics.

Capitalism is becoming more dominant, and not in the way that drives and causes the American Dream to thrive. Ed Hess from Forbes was very adamant in saying,” Over the last 25 years American Capitalism has become financialism, which is primarily transactional, unrestrained greed (Hess).” This shows how much capitalism today is changing dynamically stemming from many negative factors. As capitalism grows weaker, jobs are being lost. Unemployment rates and national debt are currently results from political apathy in America due to people losing trust in our government. Keeping the American Dream alive and capitalism from losing strength has proved to be challenging: “That great enemy of democratic capitalism, economic inequality, is real and growing (Meacham).”A majority of people want to see a change from the government to feel satisfied again. Most American do not know what the American Dream means anymore. It has been mostly related with economic freedom. Americans work so hard to get these materialistic things and end up tired and complaining about how we have to keep working to pay for them.

In America, there are many institutions whose main priorities are to influence your average person to take a side on certain issues while presenting awareness about the political system. Our Nation’s founders considered these groups, such as political parties, to be factions because they can become too fierce for a centralized democracy. A linkage institution is “a structure within a society that connects the people to the government or centralized authority (Linkage).”Within our nation today: interest groups, political parties, and mass media are considered linkage institutions because of their influence in connecting individuals to the government. The sense of apathy is increasing in people because they are unsure who or what they can trust in order to improve America as we see it today.

Interest groups, or lobby groups, are formed today to influence members of Congress to try to persuade legislation, and pass or defeat bills they have an interest or stake in. Every person has lobby groups working for them. Some are there to promote or oppose social issues, like abortion, gay rights, guns and...
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