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Politics and Government in the Future
Thinking about U.S. politics and government in the future is very much like the old story about optimists and pessimists. According to the story. an eight-ounce cup containing exactly four ounces of water is placed on table. The optimist comes in. sees the cup. and says. "The cup is half full," The pessimist comes in. sees the cup. and says. "The cup is half empty:' Clearly. both the pessimist and the optimist are looking at the same cup containing the same amount of water. but their perspective on what they see is quite different. For some analysts. looking at the future of the U.S. government and its political structure is very much like this. Views. of the future of politics and government relate to specific concerns about the United States

• What will be the future of political parties? What did the 2008 presidential election tell us about the nature of these institutions?

• Are global corporate interests and the concerns of the wealthy in this nation and elsewhere overshadowing the needs and interests of everyday people?

• Is it possible to prevent future terrorist attacks in the United States (and other nations as well) through tightening organizational intelligence and reorganizing some governmental bureaucracies?

• Will we be able to balance the need for national security with the individual's right to privacy and freedom of movement within this country?

• How will elected politicians any appointed government officials handle the challenges regarding the changing demographics of the United States? For example. how will the aging population influence their decisions? Will increasing racial. ethnic. and religious diversity influence their decisions?

• Will immigration and employment policies be based on the best interests of the largest number of people. or will these policies be based on the best interests of a small elite who are major contributors to political campaigns?

• . Do the media accurately report what is going on at all levels of government? To what extent can individuals and grassroots organizations influence the media and the political process?

As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century. these are a few of the many questions regarding politics and the government that face us and people in other nations. How we (and our elected officials) answer these (and related)questions will in large measure determine the future of politics and government in the United States. Our answers will also have a pro found influence on people and governments in other countries. whether they be high middle or low income nations. around the world.

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