US Politics is one of the world’s largest political systems, with an estimated three hundred and sixty-two branches. The US is a constitutional federal republic, where the president, Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives share constitutional powers reserved to the federal government, and the country shares sovereign citizenship with all the states. There are three branches of government: the executive branch, the federal courts, and a secret court, the National Security Court. Elected officials are either Supreme Court Justices, Representatives and now Presidents of the United States.
Politics has been an ever-evolving process, not static. “The birth of a new era,” in the popular terminology, is taking place now. One of the latest changes is that the major players are turning to the digital media to promote their candidates, rather than the more traditional mediums. Traditional politicians, whom we have come to consider as “the people” are now taking to using blogs, Facebook and Twitter, as well as other social media for interaction and for campaigning. This trend, which started with Senator Obama and his campaign staff’s use of Facebook, is now being used by the entire political establishment, from the President to Senator John McCain, to House and Senate leaders and many members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans alike.
The first US President to start using a digital platform for his communications was Andrew Johnson. He created the blog “The President Show” to discuss his activities and his views on various issues facing the country. Two years later, President Reagan created “The White House Gapers”, a weekly radio show to discuss the work and life of the American people. Both former Presidents Obama and Clinton have also created web pages, on the Internet, to speak directly to the American people.
But even with the widespread use of social media by politicians and ordinary citizens, US Politics remains a largely closed circle. Few people outside Washington or New York know how important their participation is in the formulation of policy and the future of American society and culture. It is still largely invisible to many of the average citizenry, because the mass media has not covered it and does not inform many people about how they are shaping the future of the country.
The best way to keep US Politics clear is to keep an open mind and to view politics as a social activity. We are all affected by politics in one way or another, whether consciously or unconsciously. It is the way in which we process information that determines the way we live our lives. It is important to develop a clear understanding of how our social interactions shape the way we see the world, because seeing the world through political lenses can be highly distorted and distorting. For example, many people who are heavily involved in political debate and social issues do not accurately perceive the perspectives of other people.
Media outlets, such as television and radio, are controlled by powerful forces that shape the opinions and beliefs of many US citizens. It is important to take responsibility for one’s own media use. If you are a candidate for public office, it is especially important to understand that there are thousands of voters out there who will decide the outcome of your race, just by voting. The power of advertising to influence the masses is immense and it can easily be misused by powerful special interest groups and corporate interests. This is why it is so important for each individual to understand and be conscious of the extent to which their media habits and opinions have impacted their personal and professional lives.