United States anti-democracy
It is natural for humans to respond defensively to challenges to one’s character, and to the character of one’s family, community, state or country. But excuse-making, or irrational belligerence towards the challenger, does not address or make amends for the cause of the initial criticism.
Too many Americans today routinely dismiss any and all challenges to our society’s shortcomings by declaring that our country continues to act in defense of the notion that we are “the Greatest Country on Earth.” Such unthinking American self-service rings hollow when measured against a steady stream of public opinion polls that confirm our own strong dissatisfaction with the state of our dominant economic, political and social institutions.
The time for we, the people of The United States of America, to begin to acknowledge and atone for our own inhumanity towards ourselves and other human beings is long overdue. To change for the better what we have created over the course of centuries can only occur if we agree to accept the reality of and correct the errors of our ways.
The presence of inhumane anti-democratic social forces in North America predates the existence of the United States. Slave traders and slave owners dominated the new republic to such an extent that it took a Civil War in the 1860s, which resulted in over a million dead and wounded Americans, to overcome their horrific practice.
But the spirit of slavery did not die in the United States with the defeat of the Confederate States of America: Legalized racial segregation remained an equally potent force within American society for the next one hundred years. The Confederate flag continued and continues to be displayed proudly in former slave states, and racism remains to this day one of the most potent socially divisive attitudes within the United States.
Slavery and legal racial segregation are not the only manifestations of anti-democracy within American society.
Social inequality among free men was so rampant within what would become the original thirteen colonies of The United States that revolutionary leaders were often as concerned with pacifying their fellow future countrymen as they were with defeating the British. Rather than ease such inequality, the Constitution establishing the government of the new country legalized the disparities in social wealth.
The disdain held by enough of the new nation’s well-to-do for the well-being of their less advantaged countrymen has been so ingrained ever since in American social policy-making that Wall Street financiers attempted to engineer a coup against Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the early 1930s in retaliation for his historic New Deal social welfare policies. In the 1960s, Lyndon Baines Johnson faced equally vociferous protests from American antidemocratic forces for his own Great Society programs. Current president Barack Obama has faced a similar American rage in response to his historic health care policies.
A large part of the current American “Culture War” stems from this nation-old battle between those who are concerned for the well being of their fellow men and women and those who believe that the less fortunate deserve their social lot.
Similarly, the evolution of United States foreign policy from isolationism to imperialism is a result of the same disregard for the human rights of other people. Since the late 1800s, the endless pattern of war the American people have engaged in worldwide–activity that has included the covert overthrow of other democracies–attests to the lasting potency of such an antidemocratic social spirit.