Monday, October 28, 2013

Two Justice majors author op-ed piece on our two-party system for The Northern Light

Simona Gerdts and Kristen Speyerer, Justice majors, are the authors of an op-ed piece, "We the people: An apology to our founding fathers," in the October 15 issue of the student newspaper, The Northern Light.

The piece discusses the current impact of the two-party political system on the functioning of federal government, the increasing apathy of the electorate, and the need to revitalize citizen participation in our democracy.

Both individuals are students in the course, Development of Law, taught by Prof. Jason Brandeis, J.D., which examines the development of law in the U.S. from colonial times to the present, constitutional history and the role of the courts, the legislature, and the executive branch in the law making process.  The focus on these topics helped inspire the students to address current law making issues in their op-ed piece.

The authors explained the background of the piece as follows:

"Professor Brandeis was wrapping up a unit on the principles of constitutionalism, just as our government was approaching stagnation. Inspired by our newfound knowledge about the intended functionality of our government and a deeper appreciation for the forethought exhibited by the framers of our Constitution, we decided to draft a document of our own. We applied the old adage, 'What would your father(s) think if he could see you now?,'  to a  larger context, specifically to the apathetic state which has left much of this nation paralyzed. In the end we were left with only one conclusion: Our Founding Fathers deserve nothing less than an apology.

Our intent was not to incite political debate, but rather to remind our fellow citizens of just how powerful our collective voice can be, as long as we do not allow the political polarization within our government to continue seeping into our lives as individual citizens. We are not experts, but we are aspiring to a life in civil service in hopes of keeping this nation great for future generations of Americans to enjoy. "