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.