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American Government Final Reflection

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The purpose of this paper is intended to summarize my views on what has influenced my understanding of politics and government prior to taking this class, and how my understanding is now since completing this course. Pre Reflection/Position

My understanding of politics and government prior to taking American Government came from my family and their beliefs. It was influenced by the schools I attended, which influenced my respect for this country, and my respect for our flag. They ingrained a sense of patriotism with their teachings. Television and newspapers had a big influence on me in my younger years, before they became so biased, based on the beliefs of the owners, or at least until I became aware of that bias. My experience with different aspects of government has influenced my beliefs. I am a staunch believer in our rights and liberties that the first 10 Amendments give us, and I believe that was influenced by where I grew up, which is Wyoming. The fact that my family loves to hunt and fish, I will not give up my right to bear arms without a fight. The people I grew up with had a large part to do with my beliefs, and the fact that owning guns is a right that not many in this state will give up without a fight. The enjoyment of hunting and the right to be able to protect my family and myself if needed is very important. Whether it is from criminals, or our own government, I want to be able to protect me and mine.

I am not willing to let anyone tell me what I have to believe when it comes to my choice in religion. I am rather quiet about my religious beliefs, I believe that it is between God and me. In other words, it is my private place to be. I grew up believing that everyone has the right to their own beliefs, and I don’t feel it is right to push your beliefs on someone who is adamant about not wanting to listen. Final Reflection/Position

The ways I have changed in my understanding of politics and government is I am more determined than ever to not have my civil liberties and rights taken away or changed. If we keep allowing certain officials to change or take away our amendments, or changing them so it takes away more of our freedoms, we will one day wake up and we will no longer be free. The understanding of Democratic values and tradition changes my views of the American political system in the fact that the current administration is not following the Constitution in many ways. To be frank, the administration in place scares me if Congress and the House don’t wake up we are all going to be in serious trouble. Maybe it should be mandatory for politicians to have to take American Government every 2 years, it seems as though they need a refresher course on the Constitution and what it means.

I now know the ways that you have go through to get issues noticed if you are ever going to get anyone to hear you. Now that I have a better understanding of how government is supposed to work, I have the tools to make myself better informed on important issues.

Understanding how the various interest groups, political parties and elections work makes me feel in some aspects less empowered to make a difference, as in the election of the President, but more empowered to make a difference in some aspects, such as who I vote for in the House and Senate can make a difference as to what I value.

The key issue on the top of my list is gun control. I am totally against gun control, if you disarm the American people, then the government can pretty much do what they want, and We the People will have no way to stop them if we ever need to. When I grew up and throughout my life I didn’t need to worry about this issue. Only in the last 15 years or so has the issue of gun control come about in this country. The 2nd Amendment protects our right to bear arms, “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms”.(Volkomer, 2012. Pg. 54). Another reason why I do not want to see gun control implemented is crime will rise, as the only ones that will have guns are the criminals and the government. The honest, upstanding citizens will have no way to protect themselves, and the criminals will take advantage of that fact.

Diversity in this country is becoming more apparent. I don’t see this as a bad thing until the opinions of a minority can make changes that affect the majority in a big way. One example is taking the Pledge of Allegiance out of schools because a select few find it offensive because it mentions God in it. When I went to school, if you didn’t want to say it because of your religious beliefs you didn’t have to. Belief in God was what this country was founded on, and I find it disrespectful to this country to allow a select few to be able to dictate to the rest of us what is allowed and what is not. The 1st Amendment was implemented to give us the right to what religion we want to believe in, instead of making us choose a specific religion, or none at all. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”(Volkomer, 2013. pg 54). This amendment gives the people the right to choose their own religion and practice that religion, if they so choose. It also gives the press and the people the right of free speech.

The changes mentioned have been happening in the last decade or so. My awareness of some issues have been brought to my attention by taking this class, from the instructor and the discussions with the other students in this class. This class has helped me understand the ways in which the Government functions and what I need to do to get my voice heard. All in all I have learned many things about our Government that I did not know 5 weeks ago, and for that, thank you.

Volkomer, W. (2013). The Constitution of the United States. American Government. (pg. 54). Boston, MA. Pearson.

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