The Rights And Responsibilities Of A Citizen In America
In order to be eligible to vote for any government election, there are requirements that need to be met; being eighteen years old by election day, a citizen of the United States, meeting your state residency requirements, and being registered to vote by your state’s registration deadline. The vast majority of states population can meet these requirements and vote on election day without a problem simply because meeting all those requirements makes them model citizens. However, there is also a small portion of residents that cannot vote because they do not meet one or more requirements. One of those reasons is having a felony conviction or being an inmate at any federal prison.
Despite the fact that states vary on the felony conviction which can determine if you are able to vote, states strip away those rights because of incarceration. Everyone should have the right to vote in any federal election, prisoners are no exception, even with a criminal record, they are still part of a states population, therefore they should still be able to take part in state elections. Those elections no matter if it is for a new president or new laws, everyone has the right to take part in order to make choices for their government or state.
Many residents say that because the population is high in their state they need more representatives, they say to also include those who are incarcerated. However, it just does not seem reasonable for a state to have more representatives if they are not going to represent the entire state population. Even though some see prisoners as a disgrace to society or some citizens just do not consider them as people, they fail to comprehend that they are still part of the population. Since prisoners are said to be criminals with no respect to anyone they do not deserve the right that they are entitled to because they failed to be model citizens to obtain those rights.
The Constitution of the United States of America states the rights that all U.S. citizens obtain. Out of twenty-seven amendments in the Bill of Rights, the fifteen amendment states that the right to vote can not be denied or expurgate by the United States. The founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights to set the foundation of the government we see today. However, many do not take that into account since inmates cannot vote. Their fifteenth amendment is being revoked over a crime that they may have committed several years ago.
It is understandable when people do not want those who have committed crimes to take part in their state or government elections. Although, even having made what some might say an inhumane decision, depending on the severity of the crime, they are still entitled to have the right to vote, just as they are entitled to their right to an attorney when they are being detained. Having the right an attorney goes along with their right of being innocent until proven guilty. Being innocent until proven guilty plays a tremendous role in determining whether one is still considered to be a model citizen. If one is proven guilty they then become known as a menace to society, along with every other person incarcerated, every aspect of their life before having committed a crime does not matter because one of the most valuable rights to have as a U.S. citizen has then been stripped away.
Senator Bernie Sanders is one of the few democrat presidential candidates that believes prisoners should still have the right to vote. Sanders believes that anyone in prison no matter what the crime is they are still entitled to that right to vote. Though there was a poll that found out that 75% of Americans disagreed with his argument. Many believe that murderers, rapists, terrorists, human traffickers, or any other person that decided to initiate in a heinous crime should be revoked of their right to vote because what they did was inhumane. Though their argument has valid reasoning it does not mean that there are not any flaws within it.
Murders, terrorists, rapists and human traffickers are perfect examples of what are not model citizens. Their decision to act inhumane is not justifiable, however just because they chose to go against the law does not mean that their rights no longer mean anything. When a crime is committed many rights are lost the right to privacy, freedom of speech, voting and many more. Losing those rights is unconstitutional, even though they are not model citizens they are still citizens and are still entitled to those given rights.
In the U.S. only two states allow incarcerated people to continue to take part in any sort of election, Vermont and Maine. Yet outside the U.S. many countries in England also allow prisoners to continue to vote. Though the U.K. government chose to ignore that and go oppose prisoners voting. Their reasoning is simple, “If you won’t follow the law yourself, then you can’t make the law for everyone else, which is what you do – directly or indirectly – when you vote.”
Once again Sanders decides to point a flaw, using an example of stealing a TV remote to prove his point saying that because he violated the law he was no longer able to express your opinion on any type of contradictory issue. He then continues to support his claimby stating, “Because I violated a law, I am no longer allowed to affect any law, even if the law I violated was relatively trivial and the law I’d like to oppose is, say, a repeal of the First Amendment. And, tedious as it may be to pull the Martin Luther King card, if we’re going to argue that “not following the law” is the criterion for disenfranchisement, well, civil disobedience would mean getting stripped of the basic rights of citizenship.”
The simple fact that prisoners committed any sort of crime is what bothers people the most when it comes to them taking part in elections. Even though they are serving their sentence in any sort of prison not harming anyone people are still uncomfortable. The prisoners were sent away because they were caught in the involvement of a crime. No matter how heinous or how small the crime was they are still away. It still bothers people that just because prisoners would be taking part in their election that the election is now either unfair or fraud.
In today’s society the smallest thing that was said or done can result it to be the most talked about topic for several weeks. However, no one talks about how people are being treated unfairly over being in prison. Many people take pride in having that opportunity vote and contribute in making decisions for their state or government. Thus, everyone should be able to take pride in such things. Although not everyone decides to take part in such a prideful thing because it does not interest them or they just simply do not care. Yet they still have the opportunity to take part in that whenever they feel it is right for them. Prisoners do not have that opportunity, yet those who do, do not take advantage of that.
In order to vote you need to eighteen years old on or by election day. Though the vast majority of kids growing up did not care about finally being able to vote, they are more excited to finally be able to buy a pack of cigarettes instead. This generation has failed to see the value of the rights we have. It is very unfortunate that when our new president happens to be somebody that has morals that are different to theirs, they start to question why that happened. Now a days many will protest over something they are passionate about and feel as if it deserves more recognition or they protest out of anger. In this case protesting out of anger seems to be more valid. Nonetheless, the youth of today will protest how the new president is narcissistic, sexist, belittles women in power or is simply just not what they expected, when the reason that narcissistic sexist new president is in office is because they did not chose to prevent that from happening. Instead they looked past it and when it was over they were upset.
Besides, today’s generation of youth and their lack of pride into something important and valuable, many of today’s youth also happens to understand what it feels like to have rights revoked. The underage children that are held in either detention centers or juvenile facilities can understand that feeling of not being treated as human. Although many kids who spend their youth in detention centers or juvenile facilities get their record expunged for completing a required program, the experience of not having basic rights is forever lasting.
The treatment is different because children who spend time away are minors opposed to adults,yet they will still share the experience of not having the liberty to be free. When incarcerated no matter the age, the feeling or the knowledge you have knowing that those basic rights you have are outside the entrance of whichever facilities you are incarcerated at is devastating. A minor who was incarcerated will most likely either have their record expunged or sealed will have no major issues when they are eighteen, they will have the privilege to vote no matter the circumstance. They get a second chance to start over and be seen as the good of society, yet anyone eighteen or older incarcerated do not get a second chance. They will live their life in regret not being able to stop themselves from doing any harm and having their rights taken away.
Voting is a human right yet now it seems to be more of a privilege. If you do not meet the requirements needed in order to vote then it is not a right. Voting being a right would mean that no matter what other requirement failed to meet besides being eighteen years old and being a U.S. citizen then you would still help make a change. One of the qualifications listed in order to be able to vote is meeting your state residency requirements. Those who are incarcerated, although do not necessarily having a home, are home would be the facilite they are being held at. They have a roof over their head, food, working water and more, yet because they are criminals they cannot vote. Although those who are homeless can still be eligible to vote. It is absurd to those who do not have a roof over their head or any type of support are seen as more human than those who have an alternative.
Another qualification that needs to be met in order to vote is to be a U.S. citizen. It is understanding that because those who are not from here means that they cannot help decide our government or state laws. If anyone that was not born here gets into any trouble with the police then there is a high possibility of them being deported. Be that as it may, many of those incarcerated are either from here or became a U.S. citizen, yet even met that requirement the law is not on their side because of their record.
Many people come to the U.S. in hope of a better life. The majority of those who come to the U.S. either come with a permit or visa, they then progress to residency, then to applying to become a U.S. citizen. When this progress is complete they then get to enjoy new rights they obtain. Voting is one of the most important rights. They will feel amazing to know that they can finally take part in elections. They earned those rights. Yet those who were born here grew up having those rights. Although those rights would be more effective when they were older, they always had then. Then a crime has occured and suddenly those rights given at birth are suddenly nothing. They do not mean anything because whoever committed the crime is no longer a U.S. citizen with the right to vote.
Having committed crimes does not make anyone not human or scum. However those who have committed horrific crimes are described to be inhumane that is not true. They may lack empathy, remorse, or the ability to love but they are still human. The only noticeable difference between what some might refer to as normal people and criminals, besides the committed crime, is their jumpsuit and inmate number. Yes time is being spent in order for the prisoner to show society the change they are trying to make, though they still cannot enjoy that feeling of graditite if they are constantly being reminded of their past by having revoked rights.
It seems that when a crime is committed many do not realize what it is exactly that they are losing. Innocence is a given, so is privacy and freedom of speech, but the majority of those who committed a crime do it with ignorance on their rights afterwards. Commiting a crime is a choice, no one forces one another to go against the law they willing choose to do that for whatever reason it may be, it makes sense to them. Though they willing commited the crime many will say that they decided to give up their rights when the idea of crime first popped up in their head. To many committing a crime is just a thought and since no action was continued they are still entitled to their basic human rights. Voting to them is still available because even with a thought of that sort since no action was pursued, they are still model citizens. Although those who did go through with action to a crime have lost that right, it simply does not make sense how if one does or does not something then it can completely change their given rights.
The levels of crime vary on whether the crime that was committed was more gruesome or if it was a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a more subtle crime or a less criminal act according to the legal system. Examples of misdemeanors would be petty theft, harassment and other less level crimes. Misdemeanors can result in either one year in jail, probation, a fine or community service. Having a misdemeanor does not necessarily take away the right to vote but it does affect it. The right to vote is then again restored when probation is completed. However a misdemeanor is still a committed crime, having completed probation makes it seem as if no crime was ever committed. Voting to them is still an option, however those who are incarcerated have also committed crimes, although the degree may be different, they are still the same. They were still incarcerated along with those whose crime was more gruesome, the treatment was the same, lived the same life yet because the crime was less level they are still humans outside of prison. Their human rights in a way were on hold until probation was done.
The law states that if a car is involved in a crime, then everyone in the car, even if they did not indulge in the actual crime will also be held responsible. In many instances the one driving or the one in the back seat did not know that any sort of crime was going to be committed until it was too late. They are innocent yet according to the law they are guilty. The same way prisoners who have actually committed a crime get treated is the same way that those with no involvement get treated. It is unfair that innocent people are being convicted of something they had no involvement in. They will still be seen as criminals and their rights will still get taken away. The justice is corrupt in that aspect. They did not take any part in the crime, they are not criminals their rights should still be in tract. Their right to vote was revoked over having been in a car with no sort of involvement yet they are said to be punished the same way the one who actually committed the crime was punished. They should still be able to take part in the elections since they did not commit the crime they were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
When incarcerated no matter the crime the good days that consisted of going out to spend time with family or coworkers are no longer there. Without those good days it can take a toll on someone. The lack of communication with loved ones can make one feel as if they are lonely. With that feeling comes the feeling of numbness, that feeling makes one feel as if they do not deserve anything. In prison there is a routine that must be followed every day, the routine can make one feel like a programmed robot. If prisoners were still allowed their basic human rights then they might feel more like a human than a robot. Continuing to take part in elections can make prisoners feel more human. It will allow them to feel as if they are still apart of the community.
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