Current Issues and Events Essay Prompts

Essay Prompts from Spring 2010


As the health care debate moves forward, the key sticking point is whether or not the legislation should include a “public option.”

Explain what the public option is and discuss the reasons for support for and objections to the public option.


President Obama in his address to the cadets at West Point announced his intention to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. He justified his decision with the following statement,

I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.

In addition to the troops, he discussed specific objectives and changes in the conflict in Afghanistan.

Address the changes he announced concerning the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.


The Supreme Court issued its most controversial ruling in a decade when it decided that laws limiting corporate political speech through spending limits were unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority that, “Because speech is an essential mechanism of democracy—it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people—political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it by design or inadvertence.” In dissent, Justice Stevens wrote that the “ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path [the Court] has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.”

Discuss the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission.


Napoleon Bonaparte once said of China, “Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.” Apparently, she is now awake, as tensions between the United States and the People’s Republic of China have been steadily increasing over the past two months.

Discuss what issues have fueled the war of words between the two nations.


In March 2010, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates stated, “The Iraqi election process shows how far the country has come.”

Analyze the accuracy of Gates’ statement about Iraq by examining the progress made in the country and the obstacles still to be faced.


Analyze the short term and long term implications of the new health care law in the following areas: economic, political, and social.

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