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The Citizenship Agenda

By nkringle Nov 20, 2013 896 Words
The Citizenship Agenda
In this excerpt written by Bruce Ackerman, it is obvious he trying to persuade his readers to be engaged and active American citizens. His opinions and ideas illustrate his exhausted feelings towards the Supreme Court’s and conservatives interpretations of the Constitution. Ackerman’s goals are to prove to his readers that citizens need to play a greater role in American democracy through a set of institutions. Ackerman is promoting “aim for realist and practical frameworks that will enable ordinary Americans to take charge of their political and economic lives.” The author means we should work on establishing successful and meaningful exercises to incorporate in Americans lives. There are three ideas he and his friends have formed to produce a purposeful way of living and participating as an American Citizen. Ackerman hopes to create a revival, or awakening to the dying ways of citizenship through Voting with Dollars, Deliberation Day, and The Stakeholder. Voting with Dollars suggests that American voters should be given a special credit card account containing $50 that they can only spend on federal election campaigns. Voters would go to ATMs and transfer their patriot dollars to their candidate and/or political party of interest. Candidates will be eager and determined to gain voters’ patriot dollars. Not only will it change the excitement of the candidates, but it will allow conversation and debating throughout the community regarding who the money should be given to. I disagree with Ackerman’s idea in that politicians will not only be trying to persuade people for a vote, but now for their money. Advertisements and debates will become more of what people want to hear in hopes that the politician will gain people’s money. Understanding the amount of money used in campaigns, it should be our job individually to provide the amount of money we want for our politicians. We should not have to distribute credit cards to make campaigns engage Americans; it would only distract us with greedy politicians. Deliberation Day on the other hand sounds like a plausible and effective idea to involve American voters as well as educate them. This idea of Deliberation Day would replace our President’s day holiday. One idea leading into this “Deliberation Day” is that there will be a weekend that includes inviting a few hundred citizens to spend a weekend and discuss major issues of politics. Prior to this meeting, you would fill out a questionnaire that refers to their knowledge and position on certain issues. After deliberating at these meetings they would fill out another questionnaire, which has been proved to be highly beneficial for American citizens. Two weeks before presidential elections would be Deliberation Day. Businesses will be closed, and citizens would be encouraged to gather at neighborhood centers to discuss the main issues proposed by candidates. These discussions will not stop at Deliberation Day, but continue until elections. I strongly agree with this idea. Candidates would be able to produce a better quality infomercial due to the intelligence Americans have gained through these informative gatherings. It would give young adults like myself, a place to consult with other voters and ask questions I have regarding the campaigns. There is no doubt I would participate. Instead of bandwagoning, we could truly understand the objectives of each candidate. I would say this is a reasonable holiday to achieve and incorporate in our lives. Lastly, Ackerman discusses the idea of The Stakeholder. Which guarantees $80,000 to Americans as we approach the challenges of be young adults. The hope is to provide the nation’s wealth to each American citizen at the most crucial time in their lives, when we begin to participate in a higher education as well as be given the right to vote. Of course a new tax would need to develop in order for The Stakeholder Society to work; the part I disagree with. Ackerman’s idea is to tax the wealthy heavily, which should make sense; they are all rich so why can’t they contribute more? Wrong. It’s unfair for the American government to tax the rich a significant amount more than the rest. There are a lot of people that worked hard to be where they are and deserve to have the amount of money they do. If there was a better way than requiring the top 1 percent of the wealth to create 40% of the finances in order to make this program successful, I would support it. Giving young adults a substantial amount of money could, and most likely, would be wasted by careless citizens. Then again, students that pushed through school and were left with tons of debt would give them a chance to not be completely buried in tough financial issues. This idea is achievable, but the government would definitely need to start small, and test the system before starting at $80,000. Giving students this opportunity could create a hard-working and wealthy generation that will continue to be passed down. If this program was successful and the taxing continued to increase for it to keep running, you would see less taxation for the many programs provided for the less fortunate-such as welfare.

My question for class is: Do you feel as a citizen you are involved and informed enough by what the government provides to make important political citizens? Do you believe our citizenship needs to be revived?

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