Universityof Kentucky Core Citizenship Essay
TheAmerican society has evolved over the years and these changes havecome with many new issues in society. The bill of rights marked thestart of several changes in the society in both social and politicalspheres. The changes have enabled average citizens to activelyparticipate in political matters. This participation was the start ofthe clamor for rights and human freedoms. The political class is nowaccountable to citizens and it is responsible for adequaterepresentation of citizens at several levels of governance.
One’sright to privacy ranks among the most important rights in the modernworld. The right has many branches and its most important recognitionis the right of a person to make personal decisions. The rightrecognizes that a person has the right to make personal decisionsregarding particular actions in one’s life. The right to privacystarted in 1923 with the Supreme Court allowing students below theeighth grade to study foreign languages. The court admitted thatparents had a right to control the education of their children. Thecourt later allowed students of law to study the subject in privateschools because it recognized that parents had the right to decideand determine how they brought up their children (Meyeret al., 56).This was the start of the right to privacy and it was later expandedto include a woman’s rights to contraceptives, abortion, andintimate association.
Theright to privacy has mainly been established through rulings made bythe Supreme Court and congress amendments. The initial rights toprivacy covered the family, marriage and the right for women to makepersonal decisions regarding their bodies. The court established thatit was a personal decision to marry, start a family and chooseintimate partners (Meyeret al., 67).The Supreme Court also upheld that it was a personal right to getchildren and choose when to have children. The first rights toprivacy were thus, focused on the family as it is the basic unit ofsociety. The rights to privacy have evolved over the years to includefactors covering personal issues and decisions regarding one’slife.
Civilliberties are personal freedoms and guarantees that the governmentcannot interfere with by law. The civil liberties in the UnitedStates were passed under the fourteenth amendment. These rightsinclude political rights such as the right to vote and the right tovie for elective posts. Te civil rights amendment was passed so as toprotect citizens from the state. The changing notions of civilliberties are associated with the changing nature of the societyespecially the rise of organized crime.
TheUSA patriot act was aimed at allowing the government to preventcrimes rather than punish crimes, after 9/11. The law allowed thestate to eavesdrop on calls and private conversations for purposes ofpreventing terrorism. The perception of ‘innocent until provenguilty’ was also changed for people who were arrested on terrorismcharges. The government changed the civil liberties laws so as toprevent terrorism as it was considered a national security issue. Thecivil liberties were limited to cases of suspected terrorist so as toprevent crime from taking places.
Theright to privacy has changed in the American public over the yearsespecially about sexuality. The right to privacy is now envisaged tomean the right to personal determination of issues that affect theperson. This is especially to matters regarding sexuality, which hasbeen the bedrock for the clamor for homosexual rights. The right toprivacy is perceived as an absolute right and most citizens are notaware of the limitations of the rights to privacy (Meyeret al., 127).The right to privacy has changed due to the recognition that certaindecisions pertaining personal welfare are not interfered with by thestate.
Thechanging notions of civil liberties have changed due to the rise oforganized crime and the responsibility of the government to protectits citizens. The increase of immigrants in America has also led tothe changes in civil liberties as some of the crimes committed arefacilitated by immigrants. The changes have been affected by theethnic composition of the society. The government now has the rightto interfere with civil liberties in cases where the intention is toprotect national security. The understanding of civil liberties inthe public sphere is now based on the need to uphold security.
Theright to privacy has influenced how I choose the candidates for thefederal government. The right to privacy ensures that each citizen isallowed to privately elect a candidate of choice. The right has alsoenabled me to associate with my political organization of choice asthis is a personal issue. The right to privacy has affected my viewon how people choose political affiliations. I believe that politicaldecisions regarding leaders are a personal choice as a person ofchoice is the national and global representative of the person. Thisis a private right as a person makes the decisions based on personalconvictions. Decisions based on representation are made based onpersonal and communal needs and characters that are sought in anindividual. This also goes for political association as a personassociates with the group that represents one’s beliefs and values.
Thechanging idea of civil rights has influenced how I deal with securitypersonnel. The right to privacy means that anything I do in privatethat may be a security threat, automatically undermines my civilrights. The 9/11 incident also changed my idea regarding civil rightsand I now support government efforts to protect its citizens. Thestate ought to protect its citizens and this means that personalliberties cannot be placed above the security of the majority.
Culturalchange is the most effective way of instilling changes regardingperceptions on right to privacy and civil rights. Citizens ought tolearn how to exercise their rights responsibly with the purpose ofuniting the country. The USA Patriot Act was meant to ensure thatcitizens placed the interests of the country ahead of personalinterests (Meyeret al., 158).However, citizens are still not aware of the need for personalresponsibility in order to have their rights guaranteed. Culturalchange would be effective as it would lead to changes in perceptionsand ensure that the citizens cooperate more with the government inareas that require changes. Additionally, cultural change would beeffective in ensuring that the right to privacy is safeguardedespecially for vulnerable groups.
Inconclusion, the civil rights and rights to privacy are some of thecore guarantees for American citizens the right to privacy paved theway for many other rights and it is based on protection of personalchoices regarding personal issues. Civil rights, on the other hand,are aimed at protecting the citizens from the government. The tworights have evolved over the years to encompass changes in thesociety and ensure that citizens are protected from the government.The civil rights have changed since 9/11 to ensure the governmentprotects its citizens. The perception of citizens can only be wellimplemented through cultural change.
Meyer,Ronald C, Mark Reeder, Alphonse Keasley, Jane S. Roche, and DavidArkenstone. AHistory of Civil Rights in America.New York, N.Y: Ambrose Video Pub, 2011. Print.