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The Debate Over the Constitution

September 4th, 2012

As much as our forefathers loved the thought of starting a brand new country, there sure was a lot of debate about how to actually do it.

Rewind to 1787…

The Articles of Confederation were holding America together, but they were never meant to be a permanent blueprint for the country.  Instead, our forefathers knew they had to come up with a new document that protected our liberties.  Remember, the Declaration of Independence turned colonial politics upside down (http://ourvoicecounts.com/2012/08/29/the-radical-declaration-of-independence/).  Now, it was time to come up with a way to make the Declaration of Independence’s statements feasible.

To do it, delegates created a system of checks and balances and called it the Constitution.  It explained how the three branches of government were all designed to keep each other in line, and how the states were allowed to reign in the federal government if necessary.   That way, America’s government could never grow to be too big or too oppressive.

But before it could be ratified, the Constitution created quite the debate!

There were two types of people back then — the Federalists (who thought there were enough safeguards in place to protect the people from an overreaching government) and the Anti-Federalists (who thought the Constitution didn’t go far enough to protect the people).   They argued back and forth for months, and eventually ratified it.

Now, fast forward to today…

The first 10 amendments haven’t been touched since 1791.  Among other things, the Bill of Rights has protected our speech, our right to bear arms, our right against unlawful search and seizure, and our right to a fair trial for more than 220 years.

But now, many of these rights are in danger.  There’s talk of abolishing the 2nd Amendment altogether.  A proposed law called SOPA threatened the 1st Amendment.  At the end of 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act seemingly violated the 6th amendment.

The debate over the Constitution continues today.  But, now, it seems like we’re trying to get rid of it!


Whatever happened to “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?

What’s the Story Behind Third-Party Candidates?

August 29th, 2012

The U.S. has had a two-party political system for hundreds of years — ever since the Federalists and the Republicans started duking things out in 1791.

But every now and then, a third-party candidate comes along and shakes things up.

In 2012, Ron Paul certainly made a splash — even though the Libertarian technically ran as a Republican.  Now that he’s out of the race, Gary Johnson is trying to mount a campaign against Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Before that, we had Ralph Nader in 2000.  And, of course, who could ever forget Ross Perot in 1992?

Historically, third-party candidates don’t get a ton of votes in Presidential elections, but they can do a lot to derail the other guys.

Just look at what Ross Perot did…

Even though he officially dropped out of the race in July of 1992, he clearly siphoned off votes that would have otherwise gone to George H.W. Bush in November.  But even more importantly, Perot spent his entire campaign drawing lots of attention to the national debt — something that incumbent Bush was responsible for.  So, when Bill Clinton came along and said tax increases were the only way to close the deficit, people were more willing to listen.

So, where did the idea of third-party candidates come from?

The names may change over the years (after all, America has seen everything from the Free Soil Party, to the Southern Democrat Party, to the Reform Party, to the Green Party, to the Libertarian Party), but the purpose is always the same — to focus on what they believe are the “right” issues and to make sure that these issues are dealt with properly.

What do you think?  Do these parties deserve more credit?  Do you think they could ever replace one of the “mainstream” parties?


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