What are some of the major issues facing America today, and why?In America today, issues such as nationalized health care, education and civil liberties are of concern in political arenas. These issues play an important role in modern politics, especially in the presidential race. But why are these issues important, and if they are important and topical, why have they not been addressed at an earlier time?
Looking back into the founding of this country and the Constitution, the answer becomes evident. The founding fathers of America created the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments, which reflected the time in which they existed. During that time, all ten of the amendments had relevance, but in modern times certain amendments become ambiguous and archaic.
For example, relate to the issues mentioned above: the Tenth Amendment and part of the Second Amendment, which are the most ambiguous in present contexts. The ambiguity exists because the Constitution has never been revised to reflect the times. Thomas Jefferson advocated that the Constitution should be revised every five years, but in modern times, at least in earnest, every ten years.
My argument is not over what the founding fathers would do concerning present day issues, but what they designed, so that future issues would arise to divide our nation. It is noteworthy that our founding fathers did not exactly believe in equal rights. Some of them owned slaves, and for the most part they were white male land owners. However, their instructions for the prosperity of a more perfect union is non-specific regarding liberty for all; meaning that even if the intention of liberty and justice for all did not exist then, it would, in a modern day interpretation and implementation, be due to revision of the Constitution.
It is uncertain how the founding fathers would react in the modern political arena. They would most likely champion the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as they have previously advocated in the Preamble of the Constitution. So what effect does the Constitution have on the major issues today? One could look at the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) which gives private citizens the right to own and operate firearms within limitations, or at least this is what the Supreme Court has ruled. The limitations placed on citizens are due to the lack of clarity in the amendment, because it was not designed to predict the future of weapon development. The Supreme Court’s interpretation is needed, because without limiting this right, individuals could walk down the street with an AK-47, or could own a nuclear bomb. However, the language itself suggests it is not referring to private citizens, but to an organized group such as a militia. This right was important in the first years of our country, to insure the preservation of the Union, but in modern times it has become controversial. It is unclear how the founding fathers would react to modern day problems of gang activity, and to an alarming homicide rate. But, then again, they were willing to blow a redcoat’s head off over a cup of tea.
The Tenth Amendment gives states the right to create laws that are not mentioned by the Constitution. The issues of education and health care are such issues determined by the state. In the context of the creation of the first ten amendments, these issues were not relevant. Education was not necessarily a pressing issue for a number of reasons: early America was an agrigual economy, and early America’s most important issue was the preservation of the Union, and emerging as a recognized sovereign nation to the rest of Europe. However, I believe that our forefathers would support an education system funded by the federal government, so that equal opportunity would be achieved. Also, they would recognize the importance education has in modern times for the benefit of a strong and prosperous nation.
The issue of nationalized health care was not an issue in early America, because health care in general did not exist. Medical science was just beginning to make some serious advances in this era, because the medical practices consisted of amputation by means of an unsterile saw, and bottles of quack remedies. Homeopathic practices did exist, but their usage was uncertain. I would have to believe that the founding fathers in modern times would advocate for a nationalized health care system, because of the certain inalienable right of life. Hopefully they would conclude that healthcare is a basic right for all citizens, and cost cannot be ascertained concerning a human being.
And, of course, how could I forget American’s most controversial issues today: the Super Bowl teat offense. I’m not sure how the founding fathers would react, but I’m sure they would have to review the footage several times over, in order to fully comprehend the gravity of the situation.