A fundamental flaw of the US. The U.S. Presidential election yesterday, and the closeness of the results made me consider a thought that has been percolating for some time. Strangely, perhaps, that thought has little to do with the candidates, it has more to do with the people who are voting, and how they came to hold the views their votes reflect.
I have said before that if the Democratic Party actually followed its own tenets of supporting the poor and the middle class, they should win every election handily – there are far more of their supposed constituents than there are of traditional Republican constituents.
On the Republican side, perhaps it is the awakening of what we used to call “The Silent Majority”. They have always existed, mainly in the Mid-western states, but it is only recently that they have emerged as a force in National politics – the “Tea Party” and the “evangelicals”. They were often called the forgotten Americans. Maybe they finally got fed up with being branded that way, and have decided to state their case.
Someone in the Trump campaign has been very astute in recognizing this untapped source of potential support, and that it was available for exploitation. Whoever that person, or group, was, they also managed to get inside the heads of the “Silent Majority” and discern their fears and prejudices. The result has been a response that has left the Democratic movement scratching their heads for an explanation of what has happened.
However, I think there is something far deeper going on here, and it has nothing to do with this election, or any other one. There may be a fatal flaw in the country’s structure that the Founding Fathers embodied in the Constitution. That flaw is the very basis of American democracy – the rights of the individual. A fundamental flaw of the US, if you like.
When the U.S. was mainly a sparsely populated rural country, individual rights worked well, and was the incentive that attracted many thousands, if not millions, of immigrants. The country, as it exists today, it not sparsely populated, and is mainly urban in nature. Individual rights that take precedence over community responsibility, in crowded environments, can produce anarchy, division and hatred.
Do we recognize those descriptions?
I would submit that the evolution of the United States has passed by many of its people. The economic strength, the military prowess, the world leadership (reluctant admittedly) are but three of its major roles that the majority of the population have no interest in and little understanding.
The U.S. Constitution was written for a time and place that no longer exists. As I have said before, it is a remarkable document, in that it still has relevance over two hundred years later. However, the majority of U.S. citizens cling to it as if it was sacrosanct and, in the process inhibit their ability to live in the reality of today’s America. It’s almost a cultural time warp, and that bodes badly for the Nation’s future.
A comprehensive and drastic constitutional convention could solve the problem before the time warp consumes the country.