The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 reveals how important it is for a government to undertake correct policies that would ensure the security and well-being of the citizens. In 2005, the United Nations introduced a new norm of international law as the responsibility to protect. The essence of this initiative is that a state as a sovereign actor has “positive responsibilities for their population’s welfare” (United Nations, para. 3). In other words, the government should protect people from genocide, hunger, pandemics, and mass atrocities. From this perspective, the US government indeed protects its citizens. Nonetheless, the present essay discusses some reasons to doubt that the administration does things on the citizens behalf.
The government of the US consists of three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The first branch “makes all laws, declares war, regulates interstate and foreign commerce and controls taxing and spending policies,” the second one enforces laws, and the third one reviews them (United States House of Representatives, para. 2). One of the most illustrative manifestations of the governments protection of citizens is the First Amendment to the US Constitution. This amendment guarantees the freedom of speech, religion, and assembly (Congress.gov). It is essential that the amendment makes the existence of a free press and criticism of the government possible because that is how the government receives feedback from society and realizes what should be improved or changed (Kendrick, 2018). Nonetheless, the freedom of speech, religion, and assembly are not enough to feel entirely protected by the national or local authorities.
One of the reasons to feel insecure is the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which allows civilians to keep firearms. From one point of view, the right to bear arms makes it easier for people to act in self-defense and, hence, improves their feeling of being protected by the government. At the same time, weak gun control is one of the causes of mass shootings, especially in the states where the local authorities fail to thoroughly check the background of people who purchase guns. For this reason, the number of American citizens who support gun control steadily increases (Haner et al., 2019). Even though mass shootings do not happen on a daily basis, the fact that civilians are allowed to keep firearms makes a lot of American citizens feel insecure. That is because there is no guarantee that a potentially dangerous person will receive a refusal while purchasing a gun.
Another reason to feel unprotected in the US is related to the coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt that policymakers are trying to do everything possible to hold the spread of this disease. Even though the lockdown was a forced and necessary measure to save the lives of Americans, the statistics on the number of COVID-19-related deaths are disappointing. Additionally, a significant share of Americans does not want to get vaccinated. Their decision threatens not only their lives but the well-being of the surrounding people who, for some reason, have not yet been vaccinated. The experience of other countries, such as China and some Western European nations, shows that it is possible to decrease the number of cases of coronavirus. Under these circumstances, Americans might feel that the government does not act on behalf of ordinary people.
To conclude, overall, there are persuasive reasons to believe that the American government successfully protects its citizens and acts on their behalf. At the same time, the ongoing debate on gun control and the failure to fight coronavirus undermine the subjective feeling of security. The protection of citizens should be measured not only by such factors as the freedom of speech or the absence of genocide but also by the precise measures undertaken to tackle the burning issues.
Congress.gov. Constitution of the United States. Web.
Haner, M., Cullen, F. T., Lero Jonson, C., Burton, A. L., & Kulig, T. C. (2019). Price of liberty or never again: Americans’ views on preventing mass murder. Justice Evaluation Journal, 2(1), 50-72.
Kendrick, L. (2018). Another First Amendment. Columbia Law Review, 118(7), 2095-2116.
United Nations. Responsibility to protect. Web.
United States House of Representatives. Branches of Government. Web.