rob515 (rob515) wrote,

Democracy in the US

I originally posted the following in another community in response to someone who believes that American Democracy merely exists on paper. I really like what came out of me in this post, and I have decided to post it here.

People seem to think that in an ideal democratic society, everyone just sits around all day and sucks in the nectar of liberty. This is not so. Democracy is, and always has been a debate -- sometimes a violent debate.
In the United States, sometimes big business has had all the power, for instance in the Gilded age that lasted between 1865-1920's, and that age's more modern version characterized by things like the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.  Sometimes a more populist form of government took charge, for example in the Progressive era, started by Theodore Roosevelt, or in the era of the New Deal, Initiated by his cousin Franklin. Other democratic reforms (in the sense of those citizens other than the rich), occurred under Lyndon Johnson, in the form the the Great Society. Under Johnson, the Civil Rights laws were passed, and Jim Crow was outlawed.
There have been people who assisted democracy in finding it's way. People like Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and at a later date, people like Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation was more than "just on paper", was it not?
No doubt, in your post, you are referring to the modern status of US politics. Right now, the rich are ruling things. But there are movements afoot that are re-asserting the rights of the 99%, for instance Occupy Wall Street,  the populism of the Tea Party and of the supporters of people like Bernie Sanders. Although I have many, many objections to the Tea Party and to the followers of Donald Trump, I am also aware that they are a response to the elitism that has taken control of the US. However, I am sure that eventually, the primitive form of populism that exists in the US will iron itself out, and will manifest in rational changes to our society.
One final point. I live in Brooklyn, NY. In my neighborhood there is a great deal of cultural diversity. We have Hassidic Jews, Middle Easterners, people from the former Soviet Union, Carribeans, and those of us of Western European descent. Despite the ravings of Trump and his followers, in my neighborhood, all of these cultural types get along just fine. We respect each others customs, and believe that each culture has a right to see the world as it does. That is democracy in the US. It is why people from all over the world want to come here: they know that ultimately they will be given a fair shake -- at least they will receive fairer treatment than they would almost anywhere else in the world. And that is proof that democracy does not exist only on paper.
Tags: american history, democracy, us politics
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded