Controversies form an integral part of any democratic setup, and America certainly isn’t spared of them. However, there are certain topics that are disputatious to the extreme, owing to their sensitive nature.
Controversies are born out of disagreements. They are bound to occur in every country, considering the fact that every opinion has a counter-opinion. These are the issues that push people to debate, discuss and resolve things that ultimately lead to the development of the country. In fact, the mark of a genuine democracy is freedom of speech, which allows its citizens to be proactive in voicing their opinions. Those in power try to brush these issues under the carpet, but find it hard to keep them concealed for long. It just takes a spark to ignite the debate, and soon enough, it escalates into a full-fledged divide.
Citizens of the US always had issues regarding the affordability of its healthcare system. As the debate raged on about the contents of the healthcare bill, Democrats and Republicans found it hard to stay on the same platform. This bill didn’t find favor with the unemployed, or those who didn’t have the means to pay hefty insurance premiums. Lawsuits were filed against the bill, the moment it came into effect as a law, terming it ‘unconstitutional’.
Pro-choice? Or Pro-life? Abortion has always been controversial with a lot of moral implications at the center of it. The pro-choice movement advocates that a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy, considering it involves her physical, mental, and financial well-being. The pro-life movement, on the other hand, brings the moral issues into the picture. They oppose abortion on the principle that any form of life, including the human embryo, has a right to life.
The The Second Amendment to US Constitution gives its citizens the right to possess arms for self-defense, but 66.9% of all homicide cases involve the use of firearms (according to the UNODC). From assassinations to homicide to massacres in schools, gun violence spells controversy like nothing else. One cannot say that the preventive programs are not in place, but their efficacy is definitely questionable.
What can best be described as an extremely touchy topic, the US has had a checkered human rights record. While shootouts at public places have appropriately raised instant outrage, there have hardly been any voices berating US drone attacks that kill several innocent civilians worldwide, in the name of abolishing terrorism.
People in the US are increasingly favoring the legalization of same-sex marriages, but has the decriminalization brought about any changes in the attitudes of the general public? Episodes of hate crimes against homosexuals may have gone down, but it does not disguise the simmering disdain that lies beneath the tolerant exterior. Things are definitely changing for the better when the LGBT community will be well and truly accepted in mainstream society.
Recently, citizens of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana in their states. Federal law, however, retains the same punitive outlook on recreational drugs, deeming them illegal. Supporters of recreational drugs rejoiced at the positive change, putting forth the argument that marijuana is lesser of an evil, compared to alcohol or tobacco.
As the controversies rage on, they bring along a pressing need to introspect. The issues mentioned here, along with others require healthy discussions, if they are to be resolved. Having said that, it certainly isn’t child’s play to come to a peaceful consensus, looking at the various challenges they present.