Mr. Colati / Period 2
17 March 2013
Historical Origins of Government Unit Paper
When characterizing our government it is important to realize that the culture in which the framers of the original Constitution lived was very different from the culture now. I do believe that it is necessary for the demographics of our government to match the demographics of our country in order to ensure accurate representation. Taking all of the characteristics of modern society into account, I think that it is fair to say that our government has slowly evolved into more of an oligarchy than a democratic republic. By definition, an oligarchy is a government that is run by a small group of wealthy people. Although it is very unfortunate, it is accurate to say that in modern day society, the wealthiest people run the government. In an article written about the wealth gap between the government officials and the American citizens, it is clear that the most influential people in today’s government are also some of the highest paid people in America. The article uses the example of House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. According to this study, Pelosi increased her wealth by almost $60 million between 2004 and 2010. (Napach) But not only are the wealthiest members of the government getting the upper hand, but the wealthiest members of society are as well. A perfect example of this is the very well known interest group the NRA—the National Rifle Association. One of the most controversial topics right now is the issue of gun control, something that is in the original Constitution. The NRA, full of very wealthy and influential people, have the argument that since the second amendment includes the “right to bear arms”, we should be able to own guns. But what people are not realizing is that modern day society was different than society in the 1780s. Just coming out of a civil war on our own land, it is very reasonable to think that having a gun in your own home was necessary. But nowadays it is painfully obvious that the accessibility of guns is only leading to mass murder. The NRA, because of its wealth and influence in society, is able to broadcast their feelings across the nation, swaying the opinions of people all over the country. Because the wealthy people tend to stick together, the most influential people in the government support these wealthy people in the NRA. Therefore, people believe that the right to bear arms is the popular opinion for America. But what about everyone else? What about the middle and the lower class? Are they being represented well enough? Scrolling down my Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds, other parts of modern society, I will come across at least 10 anti-gun interest groups an hour. Why are their opinions not heard as well as the NRA? Because of wealth. “There has been much internal criticism of this aspect of American democracy, and some people claim that those interests with access to large sums of money can make their voices better heard than those with fewer resources. There is a certain truth to that criticism…” (Napach) This is a perfect example of how the demographics of our nation have changed; and how the government needs to change in order to accurately represent the people. Another issue that is very much relevant to this topic is the issue of equal representation among the government. Race, religion, and gender is what most people think of when they think of equal representation. However, in modern day society, there is not an issue with equal representation of race, religion, and gender. We have all kinds of different religions and races working in this country for salaries, we have an African-American President, and we have both men and women in the government and in the army.