This blog discusses the state of American democracy today. No system of government is perfect. In reality, no system of government comes remotely close to being perfect. However, there are degrees of use, abuse, longevity and abilities to adapt in all systems. It is the balance between these degrees that define each system as we know them.
I still think Winston Churchill had the best answer. When asked about democracy. He said,
Democracy is the worst form of government ever invented……except for every other!
The recent, and current, abuses of the democratic processes leading up to the imminent presidential election in the United States, have highlighted some of the large loopholes in American democracy.
All countries make mistakes in their systems of government, some more than others. Sometimes those mistakes are corrected through legislation or revolution, and many times those mistakes are used by those in power to maintain that power. As they said in the army in World War II, SNAFU…..Situation Normal, All Fucked Up!
However, the U.S. has always touted its system of democracy as the ideal form of government. It should therefore hold itself to a higher standard if it wants to export that concept. The fact that it doesn’t, makes its promotional efforts hypocritical at best. As a result, it invalidates its goal of a world operating under its version of a democratic system of government. Further, the arrogant position of many in the U.S. that they invented democracy, which is historically inaccurate to put it nicely, just makes those efforts even less credible.
The examples that triggered me to write this blog about the state of American democracy came from the run-up to the current U.S. Presidential election.
The blatant attempts at voter suppression by the Trump administration is reminiscent of all dictatorships that call themselves democracies. Donald Trump apparently believes that the more people who vote, the less chance he has of winning, and that’s a whole message in itself. Hiring 50,000 people whose contracted purpose is to monitor – read harass – voters at polling stations to prevent them voting, is just one example. We should hardly be surprised, when Trump’s idols include Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China.
The fact that Trump’s Republican base of supporters accepts his abrogation of responsibility to uphold the basic tenets of American democracy – one citizen, one vote – is frightening and totally irresponsible as citizens of the United States. Trump’s megalomania is one thing, a significant block of Americans supporting that megalomania is worrying for the future of the country.
When you add abuses like voter suppression to the endemically undemocratic and unethical structure of the Electoral College, which elects the President with no direct input from the people, the reality of American democracy makes the constitutional tenets of the country a myth.
There are so many loopholes in American democracy that only a comprehensive constitutional convention can possibly come close to correcting them – the electoral process is only one example of these loopholes. The U.S. and its people deserve better.
The U.S. system could accommodate the necessary changes without a revolution.
Let’s hope it does!