Nothing can be compared to a stormy election debate in today’s political stage. When the candidates brought all their skills into play, the audience showed the most significant efforts to stand firm on their positions. The first thing I noticed from this forum is that the audience is dominated by the grey population, a group of people over 65 years old. The lady sitting on my left was in her 80s, and she told me that she was for the Democratic Party. When I asked about the reason behind her choice, she said: “You know Trump? I don’t like him.” I continued to ask her which party she would prefer to vote for in the upcoming mid-term election. She responded that her decision had not been set in stone. The United States Census Bureau estimated that in 2017, the grey population reached 15.61% of the whole population in America. Projections of the Senior Population issued by Senior Care Organization estimated that by 11: 26 p.m., November 5, 2018, there were 52,629,900 senior citizens over 65 in America. Given this fact, there’s no wonder that the majority of participants in this forum were senior citizens; they pay more attention to the election and their top concerns are health care and insurance.
Speaking of health-care progress, Rep. Jeff Duncan was extremely confident in President Trump’s health reform plan and also pointed out some statistics to show the evident achievement in this field, to which some audience expressed disapprovals on the spot. Numbers may tell something beyond the phenomenon, but that is not the most citizen-friendly way to convince the public. On November 4, 2018, The Wall Street Journal stated that “Americans say health care is a leading concern in Tuesday’s election, and voters say they trust Democrats over Republicans by double-digit margins.” Candidate Mary Geren, however, laid enough emphasis on affordable health plan from a more approachable and less resisting way; she stood for the working class with many personal examples, and she made her point more than evident. Many audiences gave her a big hand.
“The American middle class is stable in size but losing ground financially to upper-income families,” concluded a recent report from Pew Research Center. This report also mentioned that the share of adults living in the middle-income household is unchanged since 2011 in the U.S. With the current tax policy, candidate Geren argued that while it seems harmless to the billionaires, ordinary people are paying the higher price in the game of survival. She also suggested part of the pressure in living is blame to the trade war between the U.S. and China, in which the higher tariff was not the smart choice to the majority in the U.S. However, the U.S. Department of the Treasury claimed on their website that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most comprehensive tax legislation passed in more than 30 years. This statement may ring true given that the latest Washington Post-ABC News national poll indicates that Democrats are more trusted on health care while Republicans are more reliable on the economy. In the debate section about tax reform, I understood candidate Geren argued about the wealth gap and issues with billionaires in order to collect more support from the working-and-middle class audience. However, I think at the same time, she was also against her principle that she claimed before as public figures or officials, people should watch out their tongues. After all, it is better to attribute wealth inequality to dispositional effects rather than situational reasons. Most billionaires, which I prefer to believe, whether in the U.S. or other parts of the world have made their fortune with decent efforts. The government is responsible for building a better working and living atmosphere but not for being a manufactory to generate billionaires.
As for the stability of the national economy, it is not so much the business of the Administrative Office as the responsibility of the Federal Reserve System which on November 2, 2018, finalized a new a new supervisory rating system for large financial institutions to support their safety and soundness.
Affordable education is the most interesting topic for most parents, teachers, and students. Candidate Geren, as a teacher explained the importance of quality education for the next and future generations. On the other hand, when it comes to the class-jumping theory, educational opportunity always serves as the best springboard for working class upgrading into the elite group. Most candidates from the forum have achieved the best higher education they can reach. Without affordable and quality education, it becomes the biggest challenge for most Americans with a modest salary to speak and to implement their wishful appeals to live a better life. Instead, the upper class may hold the baton to conduct the political symphony for a long time. The U.S. Department of Education demonstrated the fact on their website that even a college degree or other postsecondary credential or certificate has never been more critical, nor expensive. “Over the past three decades, tuition at public four-year colleges has more than doubled, even after adjusting for inflation,” stated a recent analysis on U.S. college affectability and completion. Perhaps, it is the education barrier as a key element that is hindering the growth of the middle class in the U.S. Immigration and border security had drawn more attention over the last decade especially when Trump’s Office came up with the idea of the border wall. “Federal authorities have awarded a $145 million contract to a Texas company to build 6 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in the Rio Grande Valley,” stated the Associated Press early this November. Congressman Duncan brought up many times that what his party is doing about the construction of border wall is in accordance with the believes of the founding fathers. Yet, the interesting fact I noticed about America is that it was a nation of immigrants in the first place. Putting aside the movement of colonialism, when the Mayflower Compact established on the land of North America, the concept of the union was already embraced by each individual at that time. Candidate Geren’s story about the separation between mothers and children was the most common example I heard about the border issue. Although the U.S. Constitution didn’t give any solution to this problem, to form a more perfect union is always the priority.
As the forum came to an end, I spontaneously paid much more time thinking about democracy. This time, I didn’t perceive democracy from the lens of the degree but the quality instead. A recent Gallup poll showed that 34% of voters are expressing opposition to Donald Trump with the midterm vote while 26% are showing support for Trump with their midterm vote this year. If the plurality rule or the zero-sum game comes into use in this poll, the result can be catastrophic.
Over the history of American political development, too much focus has been put on the democracy. An interesting fact is that neither in the U.S. Constitution nor the United States Declaration of Independence mentioned a word of “democracy.” The public rhetoric weaved the pseudo-American democracy dream, in which everyone was fighting for their freedom to have equal rights. If the utopia is the mirage of the perfect community, the mania of democracy may lead to a split nation. The degree of democracy may depend on the government, while the public determines the quality of democracy. When the U.S. Constitution deliver the best balance to the national management system, with politicians’ wisdom only, there’s no way to satisfy major citizens’ political appetite. Since democracy, as a part of American dream, thrives at the crossroad where the agreement meets between the officials and the citizens, employing the commercial way of thinking to frame the outcomes of the common well-off community will not welcome its triumph along with the notable votes. The golden prescription to making America great again may hide in the green ticket that reads “In God We Trust.” The system of checks and balances separates the power of governmental branches, which also reveals the absence of confidence to those officials elected by the people. This phenomenon is not exclusive to the America but maybe prevalent to the countries with representative democracy. On the other hand, if the government crooked, it is more likely to break heart for those who have faith in the democracy. However, if the political belief is encoded in God, the chances are that no one would doubt the value of the systematic formation of the government as no one would argue the necessity of having Christmas holiday.
This forum conveyed the most convenient access for me to have a peak of the American political world. Meanwhile, seated in the audience, I was wondering the availability of political acquisition for the most current and future American voters.
When President Trump took the oath to the White House, in the same year, the phrase “fake news” became the word of the year in Collins Dictionary. While the case that Russian interference in the U.S. election is still on suspense, the midterm is going to happen. Apart from the civic engagement and activity, cyberspace has become the dominant source for political survey and inquiry.
During the 24 hours before the midterm election, there were multiple news notifications that instantly popped up on my cell phone’s screen every 10 minutes. Facebook, this year, has learned a lesson to take some convergence strategies. Media and press are still keeping the confrontation and guarding their duties to tell the truth. According to the latest report titled The Raise of Digital Authoritarianism, by Freedom House, it exposed that the internet is growing less free around the world, and democracy itself is withering under its influence. The good news is that the internet may be the last resort to guard the freedom of speech that the First Amendment may not fulfill. The bad news is that where there are human beings, there are troubles. The key to solving this problem is about netizens. By the same token, the democracy won’t be in good shape without citizens’ engagement. Speaking of the future of democracy in the U.S., will it die in the darkness?
To be responsible for answering this question as much as I can, I would say it depends.
It depends on a capable presidential governance
It depends on an impartial juridical judgment
It depends on a fiercely competitive but united Congress
It depends on a multitude of perseverant interest groups
It depends on a large gathering of trustworthy press
It depends on a fair-minded and healthy political climate
Most importantly, it depends on each and every citizen’s efforts
Whatever color, race, gender, and name
Whenever vote, lobby, protest, and speak in public
Without liberty, without sovereignty
To the democracy belongs the victory
To the public belongs the democracy
It is a piece of teamwork
In accord with hard work
That makes a difference
And America great forever.