America: The Undemocratic ‘Democracy’

January 21, 2015 at 4:32 PM

rh-729-collar_20130208101433714218-620x349Despite being the world’s self-appointed champion and proselytizer of the gospel of democracy, the United States is clearly and unmistakably an undemocratic nation.

Though it is no longer the world’s foremost industrial producer, the United States still does lead in one important export: “democracy.” Washington has taken the lead in undermining, demonizing, and otherwise destabilizing Russia and China, Venezuela and Iran, Syria and North Korea – countries in need of regime change because, according to Washington, they are undemocratic.

But what is this peculiar brand of “democracy” that the United States purports to be the apogee of the political development of so-called “Western” civilization? If the US is serious about spreading democratic ideals to all corners of the globe, then surely it has long since embodied those same ideals in its domestic political institutions, right? Well, not exactly. OK, not at all.

Is there democracy in Washington?

In his classic work Politics, Aristotle famously asserted that, “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will best be attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.” As Aristotle notes, democracy can only truly provide liberty and equality – both central elements of the US mythos – if it is “shared” by “all persons alike.” In other words, there can only be true democracy when everyone shares control over the political institutions through which power is wielded. However, the United States of 2015 could not be further from Aristotle’s ideal.

As the 114th US Congress opens its session in Washington this month, it is once again time to take note of the stark difference between the people of the United States, and those who have been“democratically” elected to represent them. A Washington Post headline from January makes this divide plainly obvious: The new Congress is 80 percent white, 80 percent male and 92 percent Christian. Stop and think about those figures for just a moment. The notion that this government is actually representative of the people is utterly laughable.

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