The political system plays a crucial role in determining citizens’ living standards and national growth. Many democratic nations and states have an electoral process in which people get to choose their leaders. Although the systems differ in terms of time and management, they are all centered on justice, freedom, and governance. Growing up, I believed that people have the right to decide who they want to lead them without coercion. Although I knew nothing about the electoral process and the political culture, I longed to participate in elections and decide how my life and society were governed. The U.S. is one of the countries that follow the democratic leadership process in all its states. Examining the political culture, electoral process, the judicial system, and the legislature is one of the ways of comprehending the relationship between people and the government. The course project on the Texas government was crucial for understanding of political systems, cultures, and the judicial system.
Connections to Previous Knowledge
Texas is one of the states in the United States. It is the second-largest state in terms of geographical size and population (Thorburn 2). Before taking this course, I imagined that governing such a large state must be a challenging task. Although I knew there are many governing bodies involved, I did not fully fathom how the political system works and its influence on leadership. Leadership is comprised of many aspects, all of which work together to facilitate effective policy development and implementation. Taking the course on the Texas Government has opened my eyes to discover how people’s beliefs and ideals impact their choice of a leader. I used to believe that people behave as directed by their leaders, but now I know that government officials also conduct themselves according to the responsibilities given by the people. It has also enabled me to develop a better view of leadership seeing it as more than just a chain of command, but also as an influence on cultural standards.
Political culture is one of the significant points I have learned in this course. The Texas political landscape may be regarded as a blend of three key ideas: individualism, traditionalism, and moral relativism (see fig. 1) (Jillson 35). Assessing Texas and its 254 counties, these central concepts are unmistakable. According to Jillson, each one of the counties has its own distinct set of values, attitudes, and ideals (35). Individualism, traditionalism, and moral relativism are all fundamental ideals that persist in modern culture and influence how we conduct our lives as individuals (Pharris and Natale 866). I understood that a region’s politics are shaped by its political culture. Connecting this to my previous knowledge, I feel that the information gained here has added to my view of having the freedom to choose leaders whose values align with my personal, political, and social ideals.
Regarding the powers, authority, and responsibilities of political leaders, I got a deeper insight into the role of the attorney general in law enforcement. While the attorney general is charged with advising the heads of the executive departments on legal matters, he is also expected to defend public law. In a recent article published on the Texans for Public Justice Page, the U.S. attorney general made a statement that further informed me of the Texas legal system. According to Wheat, the U.S. attorney general made sensitive remarks that implied the Texas government’s exceptionalism (2). Although he may have been making personal remarks, the law requires him to refrain from any statements that divert from his legal duties. This case further informed me that each entity in Texas’ government is held accountable for their words and actions in line with the expectations.
The moralism element of Texas’ political culture is demonstrated in how people demand ethical conduct from elected officials and are ready to speak against corruption in every area of leadership. This knowledge aligns with my views that leaders should be punished more severely for unethical conduct than the average citizen. In a report by Olsen (1), Texas politicians were known to be corrupt, yet facing little accountability for their actions. The report showed how Texas citizens were willing to have corrupt politicians investigated and prosecuted. Although people in high leadership positions may have the upper hand in convincing citizens, the law should not discriminate. This aspect of moral accountability is the basis for a peaceful country, a principle I have always had.
Application of Learned Concepts
Knowledge exists to improve people’s lives and as I learn political science, I will have to apply the information and skills gained to better people’s welfare. One of the areas in which I will apply this insight is to ensure that everyone is held accountable for their conduct. Now that I have understood the various roles of political culture and the legal system, I will be wise in the decisions I make throughout my career. Hinkle and Barer point out the need for individuals to know their rights and challenge all unethical conduct within and outside their states (1). I hope to advocate for justice and equity in my state by educating fellow countrymen on the various tenets learned in this course.
Since leadership starts from individual decisions, I will be keener on my political and social values. I now reckon that my actions are shaped by the political culture in which I operate. Therefore, I will begin by re-evaluating my beliefs to improve on key areas and thereafter choose leaders whose principles align with mine. Since a state’s political culture is shaped by individual citizens’ beliefs, I will ensure that I believe in the right political ideas and encourage my acquaintances to do the same. Lastly, freedom of choice will be an essential pillar in my career. Many people have made the wrong choices due to political influences. I will not only avoid but also condemn corruption and negative political influences. With the knowledge gained from the course on the Texas government, I will be observant of other states’ political cultures and justice systems to advocate for the right move as a political analyst and advisor.
The implementation of knowledge gained from this course may be limited by several hindrances. First, the lack of policies guarding against corruption and similar unethical conduct may be the biggest obstacle. According to the report by Olsen, many politicians in Texas have been involved in gross misconduct (2). Mostly, these leaders buy their way out of investigations and prosecutions, leaving the victims of their behavior without justice. It is crucial to note that some political leaders have accomplices in the legislature and judicial systems who shield them from lawful prosecutions.
Second, community ignorance and the lack of support may limit the ability of advocates to enforce their rights. If the people being manipulated are not made to understand their rights, they might be contented with unfair treatment. This is a significant challenge because leaders would use the people’s ignorance as a ticket for unethical behavior. The degree to which leaders are held accountable significantly affects their ethical behavior (Lasswell 10). Essentially, this challenge can be addressed by initiating and implementing community education programs to inform people of what they should expect from political leaders and the steps to take to enforce good leadership.
A country’s political system significantly impacts people’s social-cultural attributes and overall wellbeing. The course project on the Texas government was crucial for the understanding of political systems, cultures, and the judicial system. Political culture is one of the significant points I have learned in this program. The Texas political landscape may be regarded as a blend of three key ideas: individualism, traditionalism, and moral relativism. Individualism, traditionalism, and moral relativism are all fundamental ideals that persist in modern culture and influence how we conduct our lives as individuals.
The information gained from this class has provided deeper insight into some of the concepts I believed in before taking this course, such as the accountability of political leaders and the role of judiciary. My role as a future analyst and advisor is to help people to make good decisions and ensure that the political landscape is free from corruption and similar vices. I will apply this knowledge is to ensure that everyone is held accountable for their conduct.
Hinkle, Josh, and David Barer. “‘Home Cooking’ Concerns Revealed in Corruption Prosecutions Outside Texas Capital“. The Texas Observer. 2021. Web.
Jillson, Cal. Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy. Routledge, 2020.
Lasswell, Harold D. Power and Personality. Routledge, 2017.
Olsen, Lise. “In Texas, Corrupt Politicians Face Little Accountability“. Texas Observer. 2021. Web.
Pharris, Angela B., and Anthony P. Natale. “US Political Culture in the Policy Classroom: Social Work Teaching Methods and Activity.” Social Work Education, vol. 39, no.7, 2020, p. 866-878. Web.
Thorburn, Wayne. “1. Understanding Texas.” Red State. University of Texas Press, 2021, p. 1-24. Web.
Wheat, Andrew. “Indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton Epitomizes Texas’ Exceptionalism on Corruption.” Texans for Public Justice. 2022. Web.
Yerznkyan, Bagrat. “Cultural and Institutional Differences at the National and Regional Levels”. International Journal Of Economics, Finance And Management Sciences, vol. 6, no. 4, 2018, p. 133. Web.