From Xinhua News Agency, Nov. 4, 2021. Complete text:
Beijing – A recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed rising disillusionment with the state of US democracy, with 72% of Americans and 57% of interviewees worldwide viewing it as a poor example of a political system.
The results have once again shown that the US as the so-called “beacon of democracy” is collapsing not only among Americans, but also those around the world.
Such disappointment in US democracy is nothing new. Among a group of outspoken scholars, Robert Kagan, US author and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, said in a Washington Post op-ed in September that the US is already in “a constitutional crisis,” and critical steps are happening that could lead to “the destruction of democracy.”
The old Greek-derived term “democracy” means rule by the people. However, America’s politics today has been reduced to a game played by the rich in which money equals power.
As Kishore Mahbubani, a distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore, pointed out, “America is becoming functionally less and less of a democracy, where all citizens have an equal voice. Instead, it looks more and more like a plutocracy, where a few rich people are disproportionately powerful.”
American democracy has already been kidnapped by business elites and all kinds of organized interests. The government can hardly serve the welfare of the general public.
America’s super rich – the top 1% of American earners, held 27% of national wealth as of June, for the first time higher than what the US middle class earns as a whole, Bloomberg cited Federal Reserve data as showing.
Washington’s botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the democratic deficits of the country. So far, more than 750,000 American lives have been lost in the outbreak and the body count is rising. America’s handling of the disease has been a human rights catastrophe.
And early this year, the US state of Texas was hit hard by a terrifying blizzard. millions of residents had to struggle with not only outages of power and water, but also a slow-moving local government. As Texans shivered in the cold and were desperate for water and food, a Senator from the Lone Star State Ted Cruz flew to Mexico for holidays.
Nevertheless, even if the public’s appeals are heard, America’s increasingly polarized partisan politics is also preventing Democrats and Republicans from reaching a viable consensus on key issues concerning the country’s long-term interests. Moreover, some projects heavily invested in by one administration can be tossed aside by a successor from the other political party.
While social inequality is widening and racial discrimination intensifying, American democracy has been falling apart.
The Capitol riots in January, described by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier as “the result of lies and more lies, of divisiveness and contempt for democracy,” completely tore apart the mask of the “presumptuous preacher.”
Across the globe, Washington’s attempts to export its own democratic system and values has also run into the ground. The atrocities and bloodshed brought about by the US in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere stand as irrefutable proof of the ridiculous democratic experiment launched by America and its Western allies.
“Here ends the west’s grotesque delusion that it could use its military might to turn Afghanistan into a stable democracy,” said British journalist Polly Toynbee on the US army’s final withdrawal from Afghanistan in an opinion piece in The Guardian newspaper.
Indeed, an end to the blind faith in US democracy is long overdue. For those obsessed with preaching Western democracy across the world, a diminishing US democracy has taught us a lesson: There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all political system. Every country should have the right to choose its own development path.
An effective political system is only possible when it answers the needs of its people. America would be wise to remember that merely holding elections while failing to serve the wider public do not make a democracy.