Governance and Public Policy

Democracy and Equality

In his writings, John Stuart Mill makes important contributions to democratic governance by putting forward key principles that govern how democracy should be exercised. In its simplest form, the democratic rule indicates the rule of people whose authority and legitimacy comes from the people themselves (Brink, 2007). From the principles that have been put forward, equality and freedom of expression are very essential and indeed fundamental for the democratic rule to be effective.

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According to Post (2006), equality advocates the treatment of people equally without favor or discrimination. In this case, all actions and rules that guide individuals to behave properly in a given society must be within what has been agreed upon by the members of the society. No favor or force should be extended to people beyond what has been well stipulated by the law and rules as approved by the people (Post, 2006). On the other hand, freedom of expression is a key principle of democracy (Brink, 2007). Through the freedom of expression, people become participants in their societies. Upon their will, they can contribute important insights into society.

Other principles are not as essential as equality and the freedom of expression, they are also important in advancing democratic governance in a society that advocates democratic rule (Brink, 2007). One of these principles is women’s rights or gender equality. The principle emanates from the desire to reduce the influence of patriarchy, which advocates male dominance over the female gender. This principle relates to the equality principle.

It advances people’s push for equal rights (Brink, 2007). The other principle is that of rights or justice for all people. This principle relates to equality and freedom of expression. It supports respect for all individuals in society as a major tenet of democratic governance.

In conclusion, it is evident that democratic governance does not occur in a vacuum. It requires close adherence to the principles of democracy, which guide what is acceptable or not in a given society. The above principles ensure that democratic governance is upheld where leadership and rule are granted by people.

The State of American Federalism

Federalism is a form of governance where power is shared among different entities in a given jurisdiction. The United States government represents the best example of a federal governance structure where power and control are shared between three entities, namely, federal administration, state administration, and the local government (Krane & Koenig, 2005). Each of these entities has its laws that must be adhered to by all people.

In other words, an individual must obey the local government’s laws, as well as the state and federal government decrees (Krane & Koenig, 2005). Any individual who violates the published regulations risks being imprisoned and fined for breaching the law. These laws do not occur in isolation. They support each other to ensure proper governance and law and order among the citizenry.

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Separation of commands indicates the push for independence between various arms of the government, including the executive, legislative body, and the judiciary. While the doctrine of separation of powers calls for independence between the three arms of the government, issues such as the complex nature of the government roles and the interconnectedness of the arms of the government make it difficult to have absolute separation of powers (Krane & Koenig, 2005).

For example, the legislative arm of the government is tasked with the enactment of policies and laws while the judiciary is tasked with the explanation of such laws with reference to controversies that are brought forward to it. The executive branch is tasked with the execution of such laws as enacted by the legislature and within the prescribed interpretations of the judiciary. It ensures that individuals are not only adhering to the stipulated laws but also are aware of the consequences that they can face if they breach them (laws). Separation of powers is also evident at the various levels of the government. Hence, it is witnessed at the federal, state, and local government levels.

For instance, according to The United States Senate (nod), in the 10th Amendment, the eighth section of Article 1 gives powers to the federal government to control interstate trade. However, the management and control of intrastate trade are bestowed on the state government. While the concept of separation of powers can be easily interpreted, its application is a complex issue. For instance, in Article 1 clause 8, it is very important for the federal and state governments to work closely to ensure that although some roles may overlap, no disruptions to commerce are witnessed (The United States Senate, nod).

In the current governance, the influence of federalism and separation of powers has become very prominent on various fronts. For instance, the issue of the implementation and acceptance of ObamaCare is highly controversial. It brings forth both the good and bad sides of federalism and its separation of powers doctrine. While the federal government wants the ObamaCare to be adopted nationwide, the issue has been slowed down at the state level, especially where the healthcare policy has been received with skepticism. From the analysis, it is evident that federalism and separation of powers have a direct influence on governance.

For example, the two concepts often slow down decision-making processes while at the same time hindering the functionality of each other. To overcome these issues, there is always a need for cooperation between the various arms of the government, without which governance can be a very difficult affair.

Reference List

Brink, D. (2007). Mill’s Moral and Political Philosophy. Web.

Krane, D., & Koenig, H. (2005). The State of American Federalism, 2004: Is Federalism still a Core Value? The Journal of Federalism, 35(1), 1-40.

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Post, R. (2006). Democracy and Equality. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 603(1), 24-36.

The United States Senate. (n.d.). The Constitution of the United States. Web.

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