Free «Role of Dissent in America» Essay Sample

Role of Dissent in America

Dissenting can be described as an act of disagreeing with an opinion of a person. Organization or government dissent was described by the late Martin Luther King as a right to enforce people’s rights. Dissent is constitutional, since any legitimate constitution should grant the citizens a right to air their views and opinions freely  on matters of governance, human rights, and administration provided that they do that within the framework of the laid down rules and regulations. It’s important to note that the sole essence of democracy is giving people a say in governance and decision making, and any democratic government worth its salt should not deny or restrict strictly the right of the citizens to have a say in the way they are governed. Dissent can take myriads of forms including, but not limited to, demonstrations, protests, strikes as well as use of legal avenues, such as filing suits to deter the government from any omission or commission in policy making that would discriminate or prejudice a group of people or the entire country as a whole. The right to express one’s point of view is not an American affair only, since even the universal declaration of Human rights elucidates that everybody has the right for freedom of opinion and expression, which includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and/or restriction and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas via any media and regardless of any frontiers. However, in the process of practicing this fundamental right people involved should not interfere or in any way limit other people’s constitutional rights or threaten their lives and properties. This is founded on the premise that rights come with responsibilities (Brian, 1998).



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It should be noted that dissent is not a contemporary concept in the United States of America. It is as old as America itself. In fact, America can be described as dissent and, conversely, dissent can be described as being American. Following closely the history of America, one can very easily and authoritatively conclude that the United States of America was founded on dissent. The great historic events such as the American Revolution, the surging activists’ activity during the times of Martin Luther King to abolish racism in America as well as demonstration to oppose slavery are some of the indicators that America is indeed founded on open dissent. However, dissent has been met with a lot of hostilities by not only majority of the American leaders, but also by other world leaders. More often than not, dissenters have always found themselves on the receiving end, especially from the government’s security apparatus. Foreign scholars have been denied visas and working permits because of expressing their views freely on the American soil, especially if they disfavored government’s intended decision and moves. In the recent past, President Bush’s administration was notorious at cracking down and discouraging dissent at all costs. The Patriot Act was one of the most infamous legislative moves taken by the regime to restrict civil rights in the United States of America. But anybody who publicly and outrightly questions the Patriot Act is accused of taking a softer stance on terrorism (Shevis, 1981).

Tea Party Movements in America

The Tea Party movement is a political movement that emerged way back in the year 2009 in America. This movement advocated for adherence to the American constitution by the government, reduced taxes and federal government spending, significant reduction of national debt as well as abolishing deficit budget. The importance of addressing these critical issues is based on the vitality of each of the issue as discussed below

  1. Reduction of Taxes. Excessively high taxes are an economic burden for the Americans, who exercise their personal liberty to work and live a decent life as envisaged in the Constitution. A fiscally responsible government ensures that the citizens enjoy the proceeds of their employment and investment by instituting fair tax regimes. Those target on the rich and reduce tax burden to the poor in order to enhance equitable distribution of resources.
  2. Eliminate the National Debt. This is achieved by implementing fiscally conservative policies at all levels of government geared toward eliminating the U.S. National Debt. Significant increases in the National Debt have created and increasingly huge burden for the Americans.
  3. Elimination of budget deficit. In meeting a deficit in the budget the government is forced to borrow or print money in order to plug the deficit. Both of these ways are inflationary and they increase the cost of living in America, further adding an extra burden to the ordinary Americans.

IV. Adherence to the Constitution. The federal government as well as the states’ governments should live to respect the spirit and the letter of the American Constitution. Specifically the Bill of Rights should be observed to further people’s rights and liberty.

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The Tea Party was organized as a grass root organization, and since it lacked a central structure in leadership and operations, it was seen as a legitimate organization and it faced no hostilities in its operations from the government. It also addresses very pertinent issues that have over the years formed the election agenda for presidential aspirants across the divide.

Place of Protest in USA

America, being a developed democracy on the global scale, has defined the place of protest on its soil. The American government today recognizes the constitutional right of every citizen to express their views freely and independently. Protest, however, has not been taken kindly by some regimes, especially the Bush’s regime. In his tenure protests were held to prevent the invasion of Iraq, whereby the demonstrators and protesters were labeled as anti-loyal, unpatriotic and seen as sympathizing with the terrorists. Activists were tortured and humiliated during NATO’s May invasion. False terror plots were alleged and imposed on protesters. Activists’ homes were attacked and raided. Many victims faced terrorism-related allegations. Numerous other people were aimlessly arrested. Police brutality was publicly reported in the USA. Most injuries were from baton head and blows. Tens of the protesters were hospitalized with wounds and fractures on their hands, limbs, and other parts of the body. This unfortunate twists of events calls for tolerance from the government concerning ways in which it deals with dissent. However, in the United States government’s tolerance to protests is relatively high in comparison with other countries, especially when they are occasioned by the need to address major issues such as inflation, unemployment, war, budget deficit, and taxes.

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Culley and Cyclists

Culley has low opinion of the cyclists all over the United States of America. For him, a cyclist is uncouth and urban. Cycling culture is popular in the United States of America and other developed countries of the world, as they seek to reduce time wastage in traffic snarl-ups. However, in America they have become a major issue of concern to the authorities on cycling activities without due regard to other road users, especially pedestrians and motorists. Culley takes the issue with the cyclists’ apparent lack of responsibility in exercising their rights to use the public facilities, i.e. roads, in American cities and suburbs. Culley undertakes various forms of protest and advocacy. He uses media and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to enhance his campaign all over the United States. His advocacy is useful in one way or another, as it seeks to address the injustices meted to the Americans.

In conclusion, dissidence should be encouraged in the United States, since it’s a constitutional right, as well as a right envisaged in the universal Bill of Rights. However, this right should come with responsibility, because protesters and demonstrators ought to respect the right of others to live and protect their property, hence dissidence has been  inherent to American society since its inception.


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