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Wealth and Power in America, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1275

Research Paper

I believe in the concept of polyarchy, developed by Professor Robert Alan Dahl. Modern democracy is not the rule of people; it is the rule on behalf of people. The politicians we elect are working to represent our interests while our role is to hold them accountable. We can punish those, who betrayed our trust, by not voting for them during the next elections and support those, who fulfilled their promises, by voting for them.

However, the politicians are too busy with their everyday routine and sometimes a gap between the politician and the constituents may appear. It can happen due to many reasons but, in any case, is a threat to democracy and true representation. Therefore lobbying as a mechanism to voice public opinion and make an impact on political decision-making is essential to preserve the spirit of democracy. Lobbying groups protect one or more interests of certain groups of people and make sure that their concerns are heard.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a person has many different interests. The prevailing majority of them is influenced by the public policy. For myself, I have distinguished the following: interest to receive medical services of the best quality; interest to live in a clean environment; interest to be able to protect myself; interest to live in a secure and peaceful world; interest to protect myself and my friends and family from gambling as a social ill.

The first interest – to receive medical services of the best quality – is a common interest for all middle and upper-middle class representatives. The groups that are able to pay more money for their healthcare usually can afford the doctors they can trust. Therefore their interest in having medical services of the best quality is not represented by many interest groups. The same logic can be applied to lower and underclass. Those people receive healthcare, provided by the government. Their interest to receive medical services of the best quality is also obvious; however, they cannot have much influence as they are only the recipients of the medical assistance and deprived of the variety of choices.

There are several organizations that protect the rights of patients. First of all, it is Consumer Watchdog – Patients. The organization serves as a watchdog, monitoring the quality of services and informing the public about doctor’s malpractice and other problems in the sphere. Pulse of America is mainly focused on prevention of death from medical errors. It has a corresponding banner on its web-site, counting the number of fatal mistakes and bases its campaign on such statistics.

At the same time, there are several organizations that support doctors, stating that they are too vulnerable to the numerous lawsuits and are often afraid to use a life-saving treatment to avoid complaints. But such organizations are much less successful while the patient protection campaigns do more to represent the interests of those, who require medical services of the best quality.

The second interest is the interest to live in a clean environment. It is a common interest for the majority of people from different classes and status groups. The only exception is the owners of companies that do little to protect the environment and reduce their energy use. Despite the fact that big money are concentrated in the organizations, opposing energy control and other green measures, the groups, supporting sustainable environment policy, are much more successful.

One of the most famous organizations, representing the interest to live in a clean environment, is the Earth Day Network. It conducts annual campaigns, devoted to the Earth Day, that are extremely popular in different parts of the world. The main factor that attracts people to support such organizations, is the combination of responsible behavior and fun. World Resources Institute is a more ‘serious’ organization. It is a think tank that provides background information for all other environmental protection agencies. The experts, working at the Institute, conduct research to find both evidence to support their position and potential solution to the problems that humanity faces today.

Interest to be able to protect myself is another significant interest that I have. I believe that each and every person should be able to act quickly in the situation of danger and have necessary means to protect him or herself and the family. Therefore I think that people should have a right to bear arms. This is a rather controversial claim and is supported only by a part of middle, upper-middle, and upper class. Those people can afford all necessary permits and the gun itself. On the other hand, the people that do not want or cannot buy a weapon (mostly middle and lower-middle class) are afraid that this right may boost the crime rates. The representatives of the underclass that have a weapon more than likely got it illegally so this right does not concern them directly.

The organizations, supporting such interest, are extremely powerful in the USA. For instance, National Rifle Association is one of the biggest lobbyists and supporters of conservative political groups. The same situation is with the Citizens Committee Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Both organizations use all possible legal means of lobbying to protect and guarantee the right to bear arms.

This interest definitely contradicts with interest to live in a secure and peaceful world. Even though I want to be able to protect myself in the situation of danger, I still would like to live in a world without wars. One of the most famous and influential international organization with the same aim is the United Nations Organization. It is a political inter-governmental group that operates on higher political level, bringing the leaders of different nations together to a round table to discuss major world issues. International Peace Bureau supports different disarmament campaigns but it is mostly a publishing house, promoting its interests with the use of words.

Finally, I am particularly interested in having ability to protect myself and my friends and family from gambling as a social ill. I do not believe in gambling of any kind and think that it should be prohibited. Such interest is shared by the prevailing majority of middle class representative. Upper class people usually own the casinos and slot machines or they can afford to spend money there. Underclass and lower-middle class may treat gambling facilities as a mean to enrichment. Therefore, in general, those two groups do not share the same interest.

There are many anti-gambling organizations. Most of them are either religious, or local. I have pointed out for myself the following two: Texans against Gambling and Pennsylvanians against Gambling Expansion. Those two are the most active and use all media tools to bring their message forward – participate in hearings, organize protests and other lobbying campaigns etc.

Consequently, democracy as a rule on behalf of the people can operate only if the interests of the public are adequately represented. However, in the modern world almost all interests are represented by one or another organization. The only skill that many people lack is the patience and desire to find and support such organizations and actively protect their own rights and interests as opposed to passively anticipate the others to act.

Works Cited

Citizens Committee Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.ccrkba.org/

Consumer WatchDog. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/patients/;jsessionid=HHXDQKL3BGCKECQQPABCFEY

Pulse of America. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.pulseamerica.org/

Earth Day Network. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.earthday.net/

World Resources Institute. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.wri.org/

National Rifle Association. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://home.nra.org/#/home

 International Peace Bureau. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://ipb.org/i/index.html

United Nations Organization. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.un.org/

Texans against Gambling. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.texansagainstgambling.org/

Pennsylvanians against Gambling Expansion. Retrieved November 18, 2010 from http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/glr.2005.9.403

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