The primary role of a government is to sustain and protect population. Everything that the government do should contribute to the general good. However, there are a lot of cases where governmental figures overreached their authority in favor of their benefit. As a citizen of a democratic country with elections, I think government officials should be accountable for their actions as they were chosen by the citizens. In the context of democracy and prosperity, government overreach is an unacceptable and immoral action. Therefore, I find this social issue as crucial to address and discuss. There are many cases of government overreach during the U.S. history. The most prominent example of it is the U.S. invasion to Iraq.
History demonstrates that during the challenging periods of crises, governments all over the world try to reach for more power. It is expressed in law enforcement by military order, disproportionate spending, or the strengthening of the executive power. On the one hand, it is explained by the necessity to protect millions of people and prevent social disorder – on the other hand, people’s right are frequently violated. How the government has responded to crises, from the AIDS/HIV epidemic to 9/11 and now COVID-19 was accompanied with the cases of government overreach. Here, public health emergency will disproportionately harm the most vulnerable groups of the society through overreach, such as allowing judges to close courtrooms for criminal procedures and habeas corpus (Schilling, 2018). As such, government overreach is an acute issue that needs to be addressed.
At the same time, in protection of its interests, the government may violate any person’s foundational human rights. One of the great examples of representing government overreach in art is a movie, “Blow Out” that was filmed in 1981 by Brain De Palma (Sims). The movie is about a movie-sound-technician who accidentally records a political assassination. It is in thriller genre with the elements of drama, presenting the ideas of surveillance and obsession. Here, political elite did immoral actions towards the main character of the movie, thus showing to what extreme methods of preserving the power government officials may implement.
Another example of representing government overreach in art is a famous song of Childish Gambino, “This is America” released in 2018. It is in rap genre and was written by Gambino himself showing the consequences of slavery in the U.S. and racism. A musical video of the song shows how government representatives and police can be brutal towards African American people. They are biased and often overreach their authority to make judgments regarding colored people. The song also demonstrates that elites do not listen to the demands of the general population. Both the movie and the song are connected to the Western Civilization as they demonstrate people’s struggle for the ideals of liberty and freedom that were emerged after the French Revolution. At the same time both of them demonstrate the ability of the government to act in accordance with its interests and benefit even if human rights will be seriously violated.
I did not have a personal experience with government overreach. Yet, as an active user of social media, such as Instagram and Twitter, I have noticed that the cases of government overreach are prevalent in the modern days. However, I am glad that these cases are revealed, and those government officials and police representatives are condemned and arrested for their actions. I was surprised that almost all countries have government overreach as I thought that European liberal democracies are more prone to just systems. The problem of government overreach is systematic because it exists at all governmental levels. The government exists to help us, the citizens of the United States of America. As it is stated in the Declaration of Independence, the government exists to provide resources and support for people that they cannot supply for themselves. This implies that they will provide police officers to safeguard our neighborhoods, road workers to construct roads, and any other essential infrastructure that people demand.
Schilling, Travis L. “Redefining the Waters of the United States: Did Government Overreach Just Get Trumped.” Drake J. Agric. L. 23 (2018): 131.
Sims, David. “13 Movies About Government Mistrust You Should Watch.” The Atlantic, Web.