In order to Form a more perfect union

Dette er en besvarelse for samfunnsfaglig engelsk, VG3, karakter 6.
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In Order to form a more perfect Union

In her statement, Sarah Kendzior expresses her concern over the deterioration of the U.S. political system. She argues that the recent controversial conformation of Judge Kavanaugh indicates a looming more serious threat to civil liberties in American society. She conveys her message by utilizing a plethora of literary devices which color her text with persuasive opinions. Her text is likely intended for not only the American public, but also people of the world, as to warn them against despotism and preventing usurpation of power by autocrats.

Kendzior depicts a United States that over the years has fallen from grace, plagued by corruption and loopholes, resulting in potentially catastrophic consequences for its inhabitants. She juxtaposes the prestige of American democracy with the impurity of a “rage-filled, vindictive judge”, creating an interesting contrast. She invokes pathos in this regard by appealing to emotion. By creating a good vs. evil narrative, she appeals to people’s sense of morality, and confirming Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court Judge is in her opinion, wrong. 

In addition to describing the downfall of the nation, Kendzior embodies the people as the last line of defense against total authoritarianism in the United States. She says that the checks and balances in the executive, legislative and now judicial branch have corroded away, and its up to the people to put an end to the villainy of the dysfunctional American political system. In order to make her point, she alludes to the Preamble to the United States Constitution, the very origin of the American experiment. She uses the renowned opening statement of “We the people” and uses it to great effect in her ending lines: “That is why we fight. That is why we protest. That is why we vote. Because we, the people, are all that are left.” She ends with this powerful statement that should appeal to every red-blooded American and let them know that must act in order to save their ways of life. 

In conclusion, Kendzior urges the American public to mobilize against the derelict political system which can end up causing decades of societal regression. She mainly appeals to emotion as it invokes the strongest reactions, which seems to be her intention. She refers to the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States and makes stark contrasts between American democracy and an emotionally unstable judge. She may be right, she may be wrong, but American politics in the current climate have not been this tumultuous in years. 

An uphill battle

The attached graph indicates the American public’s trust in the three political branches in the political system. The earliest ratings in the graph, ca. 1972, demonstrates and above-average trust level in the three branches, however shortly after the Watergate scandal occurs and public opinion takes a drastic hit, resulting in a below-average trust rating in the executive branch. The Watergate scandal was a debacle, exposing to how the sausage is made, ending in Nixon’s impeachment. This fiasco may have sown the seeds of greater scrutiny and distrust in the government for the future. 

The years following Watergate saw a steady incline in the judicial and executive branches and a steady decline in the legislative branch. From the early 2000s faith in both the judicial and legislative branches start declining. The executive branch experienced a burst of trustworthiness, likely as a response to the September 11th attacks in 2001. President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom, was popular at first, but as the years went by and it became apparent the war was a waste of time and resources, the executive branch quickly lost trust. The branch declined in trustworthiness towards 2008. The anti-war movement grew in the U.S., which likely explains this deterioration. In 2008 the recession hit, which was handled extremely poorly by all branches of government, plunging the curvatures for the legislative and executive branches. The way the situation was handled did not help out the citizens severely affected by the crisis, but rather the banks responsible. This likely angered millions, growing distrust even more. This distrust signified how the American voters felt betrayed by the people they elected to protect them.

A surge in trust in the executive branch shortly ensued after Obama’s election in 2008, marking history as the first African American to hold office. Millions of first-time voters, many of which were African American, placed their vote in the ballot for Obama which could explain this surge. In the meantime, the legislative branch reached an all-time low in 2014. This is six years into Obama’s presidency and one likely cause for this low rating could be that the majority Republican Congress blocked many of Obama’s reforms and promises made to the American public. This likely angered Obama’s voters, causing even greater distrust towards the legislative branch. What was the point of voting for Obama if he is powerless to fulfill his promises? 

Lastly, the judicial branch managed to stay above fifty in the graph during the political turmoil of the late 2000s and early 2010s. A number of Supreme Court cases, namely Obergefeld v. Hodges was a landmark case in American civil liberties. Same-sex marriage was legalized federally, which had been illegal in several states for many years. This might have helped the branch’s trustworthiness in later years. 

In conclusion, the American voter’s trust in the political system has greatly declined in recent years, especially in the executive and legislative branches. However, despite the downfall of these branches the judicial branch has somehow managed to keep its head above the water. Though for several reasons, many of which were mentioned in the appendix in task 1a, this trustworthiness is likely fleeting. The last year a Gallup was done regarding the trustworthiness of the judicial branch was in 2017, one year before the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Though it seems bleak for the future of American politics, the people seem to get restless, for better or worse. 

Free press for hire

The first amendment of the United States Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This staple excerpt is often quoted in the context of free speech when arguing over the freedom of the press. 

One cannot have a truly democratic state without a free press. A free press, as my fourth-grade teacher so simply put it, is the fourth branch of government, watching over the other three. It makes sure that the people know everything there is to know contemporary affairs in a country. They make sure the government does not overstep their bounds. It makes sure that when they slip up, everyone and their mother knows about it. It keeps people of power in line.

The first amendment of the Constitution ensured the press’ security and independence, as well as its license to say whatever it wants. We relied on the free press to tell us about Nixon when he bugged the Watergate Hotel, we relied on it to tell us about Clinton’s affair with Miss Lewinsky, and we relied on it to tell us about the travesties of the U.S.’ foreign military campaigns without any sugarcoating. But this does not mean the free press is free of faults. The great power of the press comes with a great responsibility not to mislead or misinform the public. The first amendment does not prohibit news publications to run agendas, say their opinions or indoctrinate the public. It is up to the individuals as people to decide whether information presented by the press is trustworthy or not, and this distrust could end up causing a great deal of issues in the future, as will be discussed later in this text. 

According to the poll in appendix 1, 48% of Republicans agree with the statement “the news media is the enemy of the American people”, while only 28% disagree. This number is shockingly high, so there must be a reason behind this enormous distrust. One reason could be that Republicans have been vilified and ostracized so much in the news media that they have declared it their enemy, while at the same time overestimating how many Republicans there are in the United States. This “us vs. them” though pattern is likely a cause for this sentiment with Republicans. Republicans, in contrast to Democrats, hold very opposing views regarding ideology. The Bible Belt in the United States arguably usually turn up as red states during elections. Therefore, one could assume that their political affiliation is tied to their cultural heritage and religious views, which are respectively conservative. Democrats on the other hand, usually are not as religious and tend to be more aware of civil rights issues and progressivism. It is only natural that these political stances will clash regarding questions of sexual orientation, taxation, firearms policies and foreign policy. In contrast to the Republicans, only 12% of Democrats agrees with the sentiment of the news media being a public enemy. Independents are more split down the middle at 26%. 

According to Forbes, fifteen billionaires own the largest news publications in the United States (Vinton, 2016). This oligopoly of media corporations can be seen as a threat to the press freedom in the United States. It does not look so good that the entire flow of information for 320 million people is under the control of only fifteen. Should only the agendas of roughly a dozen people dictate the public opinion of an entire country?

Ronald Reagan stated, “Our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever”. This came from a Republican President; however, it came from a different time. Back in the late 80’s when Reagan was in office, media distribution was radically different from what it is today. Computers were not as ubiquitous as they are today, and trustworthy news were still usually only found on TV and in newspapers. The image of the crude reporter single-handedly digging up huge scoops and exposés is romanticized in a long-lost past. Today nearly nobody touches papers, it has all moved to the digital realm, and the digital realm changed everything. Today, a different Republican President runs his own free press on twitter under the handle @realDonaldTrump. A quick scroll through his feed makes it clear that he does not share former President Reagan’s view on a free press. In a tweet from February this year, Donald Trump wrote, “The New York Times reporting is false. They are a TRUE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” (Trump, 2019). A string of similarly worded tweets regularly shows up on his page with tens of thousands of likes. What does this tell us about the attitudes of the American public? If Trump managed to get elected, at least a sizeable amount of people must agree with him on this issue. 

It is widely known that Donald Trump often claims that “fake news” try to defame him for the sake of defaming him, as exemplified by his tweet. But his rhetoric is founded in truth. As previously mentioned, news media has moved into a digital space, and this has brought many challenges with it. One of these are credibility. Nowadays, anybody can say anything online and be heard by millions of people. This also counts for news publications. If a fringe of political extremists, a vocal minority, voice an inaccuracy and people accept this inaccuracy as fact, it causes trouble, because damage can be done before this error can be rectified. This means that tabloids have gained significant market share in the media world, as the big publications have shrunk. This causes a new problem which we have only have had to deal with in later years, an abundance of information. We simply do not know what information to trust anymore, so when people read many different conflicting headlines, you get poll turnouts that say the media are the enemies of the people. 

The Boston Globe stated, “Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country. Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the “enemy of the people”.”. The Boston Globe is reinforcing my previous argument about Trump ousting media as an enemy of the people on his own news network, Twitter. Though, it is highly unlikely that Trump will put in place a state-run media, as the Globe implies. However, the press has never been freer than it is today. Despite all the challenges a free and open internet provides, even more people are able to express their opinions, outlooks and life perspectives. One could argue that the free press no longer is a group of faceless conglomerations, but the people themselves: the internet has decentralized the press. Any person with a keyboard and mouse is now a media outlet. In short, the U.S. society has evolved different ways of governing its government through the free press. To which extent the press is free is debatable, but buy and large, it is a press free of censorship and that is integral in a democratic country. 


Trump, D. J. (2019, February 20). Hentet fra

Vinton, K. (2016, June 1). These 15 Billionaires Own America's News Media Companies. Hentet fra



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