I understand pride. I understand national pride. But they should be based on reality.
Surely, the almost largest conglomeration of States that’s popularly called the United States is far more democratic than the other huge States like China and Russia but not than the far larger India.
This is true because the (former) Communist lands have such limited freedom and also very little experience with democracy and democratic values. They are dictatorships fancied up with some freedom of the press, entrepreneurship. But that doesn’t make the US such a great democracy.
Arrogance is also a terrible thing so I won’t hesitate to point out flaws if that would humble bigheaded people and overly chauvinist traditions.
- In the US, not all citizens can vote. You first need to “register.” A great trick to push away illiterate, disorganized, last-minute, poor and emotional people — predominantly the working class and underclass.
- There is a whole elaborate system of divisions into voting districts and indirect elections that safeguard the interests of the rich and conservatives. It cost Hilary the victory.
- Why do people need to raise, lobby for (and preferably own) millions of dollars in order to run for president? That’s democracy?
- In a true democracy, people go above principles. Well, in the US is such a crazy “freedom of speech” tradition that people feel free to insult anyone and any group under the sun. Hate speech is free speech. In a real democracy that is impossible.
- The essentially two-party system and tradition is clearly a disaster. In the last presidential election, there was only a choice between two people widely despised. A political and social system that produces a clown, con artist and bigot to the presidency cannot be called a great democracy. Even the Supreme Court consist of two political blocks. The 1.35 billion citizens of the United States of India enjoy a multi-party system.
- Top Dog Wins is not democracy. It’s a dictatorship of the majority. In a real democracy, coalitions must be formed and compromises be worked out. The idea of trying to find ways to work with people from “both sides of the aisle” has a vague resemblance of moderating one’s stand but is clearly not the same thing. There is little respect for minorities.
- The United States, like China and Russia, tries to be the bully of the world. It has little respect for what other countries — including real democracies — want. Having only respect for the opinions of one’s own is not democratic. Capitalism and Imperialism mean that the rich and powerful win, money talks. There is little respect for cultures that force their outlook on life upon others with a threat to life (convert or else). But cut-throat competing is the same: the strongest and not the best win.
- Until recently, non-Whites were heavily discriminated upon and the whole US worker experience still feels like slavery. I worked for USers. They called the department that should look after the workers “Human Resource.” People were just supplies! They also run the workplace with “We are so generous to give you a job but when we don’t need you anymore, you can go.” There was no feeling that employer/worker had a contract with mutual needs, obligations and rights. That slave owner mentality is still there because the US never really dealt with their slave-owner past and because they never had any real exposure to socialism. Workers are still supplies. So, in the US, everyone is equal for the law but not in the culture. Rather, working people are dispensable. And so there can be millions of homeless, millions of people without healthcare. Second class citizens. That’s incompatible with democracy.
- If you want to be anyone in the US, you must be fake. All smiles and if it gets really hard, take a pill. Real is the enemy. That way, there can never be a real democracy.
- Equal representation and women having equal voting rights has never in 100 years produced a woman as US President. (Nancy Reagan was, but not in name.) That is so much more sexist than 80 other nations in the world. (This besides hundreds of reigning queens the world over.)
So, USers, be proud of great things. Your separation of Church and State. The idea of separation of powers and checks and balances between the different parts of government. That no political opinion can land you in jail. The beauty of the different landscapes. That you went to the moon and back. But, keep it real. Because to be proud of disaster doesn’t look good on you.
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. *
As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. *
If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: https://youtu.be/QMPp6h6r72M *
To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. *
Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. *
Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. *
His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. *
One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. *
He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. *
He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. *
He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. *
His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. *
To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. *
His newest books you may find here: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AMoshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&s=relevancerank&text=Moshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1