I remember how it all started. In May 1985, Michail Gorbachev introduced fundamental reforms which became known as Perestroika.
People of the USSR used to the structured or planned information release. Pretty much as the current situation in the United States, only shaped differently.
But with Perestroika, an enormous flow of information suddenly crashed on people. It was like the flash gates were opened. Mass media started to publish so many shocking stories which eventually destroyed completely all those ideas that we once thought are genuine.
When such major fundamental political destruction and social shifts occur, people always try to escape ideological and moral vacuum. I was trying to escape too and I turned to American culture. I did not want to hear anything about politics anymore.
Besides, the western option was very seductive. It was very different and entertaining. Due to the severe devastation caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, lack of moral values and the realisation that we were intentionally misled by our own leaders, the western way was a legitimate option to choose. At least, I thought it was.
In my mind, the United States specifically was the benchmark of everything good in life. Of course, as many others, I was convinced that it is also the benchmark for democracy.
More than a decade later, my views started to change. Here are main reasons why it happened.
US citizens do not have the right to vote
The word “democracy” virtually means the power of people. For any society to claim that they are democratic, at least one fundamental right shall be in place – the right to vote directly. As far as I understand, in the United States, popular votes are not a decisive factor.
Instead, the District of Columbia and 48 states have a winner-takes-all rule for the Electoral College. This rule doesn’t consider votes of the majority of people as the main criteria.
Because of the Electoral College people of the United States do not have the opportunity to participate and influence directly in the most important political process. Needless to say that eventually, it affects every aspect of life and the U.S. citizens can do nothing about it.
Democracy requires social equality
Democracy also requires an unshakable evidence of the social equality. It must be translated into a solid legal and social infrastructure to ensure that a solid legal and social infrastructure.
Democratic countries provide a social/safety net to those people who ended up at the edge due to many reasons, objective or otherwise. Such protection is a requirement because it serves as an indicator to measure the level of social maturity of the society.
The effective legislation shall apply to each and every citizen equally. There must be no mysterious interpretation that justifies the difference of legal implications for celebrities, influential politicians or simply rich individuals and the rest of the public. However, there is little evidence that it is the case in the United States.
For instance, when celebrities get arrested, somehow, they are free to go shortly after their arrest. It is often explained that their release is due to jail overcrowd. But why are they always first to leave the facility? Isn’t it supposed to be based on a simple principle, “first come – first served”?
There are many evidence the U.S. justice system is more justifiable for those who have money and fame. Whereby the majority, who do not have extra money or fame, do not have the same set of privileges.
Big business pays for election campaign
It is difficult to ignore one major flaw in all election campaigns. There is no candidate who would be capable of finishing the race if he or she do not have enough money to finance it.
This is where I am confused. How come this structure is called democratic elections? Who pays for the candidates? I am quite sure that it is unlikely for the middle class or low-income group to finance it. And if it is not them, then who?
According to the public sources, in Washington DC alone, a few thousands of lobby firms are registered.
The role of lobbying firms is controversial in American politics. Lobbyists are hired and paid by special interest groups, companies, nonprofits and even school districts to exert influence over elected officials at all levels of government.
These firms establish close ties with the lawmakers to push the adoption and speedy implementation of new legislation that would satisfy business interests of a tiny but very influential minority.
Public sources also describe that a lion share of any election campaign’s funds provided by either industries or simply rich and influential individuals. But as they say, whoever pays, orders the music. In many countries, such arrangement is called by one word “corruption”.
It is fair to say that there is no doubt that the army of lawyers made their very best to come up with laws which make such “partnership” perfectly legal. But it leads to a question – where is the power of people?
It seems that the majority of people have no means whatsoever to control anything. They are not in a position to make ensure that their rights are duly observed. Unless we are talking about the power of people from the Wall Street.
If this is the case, then I must admit that it is a remarkable transformation of the original meaning of the democracy to something totally unrecognisable.
The USA many times demonstrated double standards
Well documented 2008 financial meltdown provides a clear explanation of why it happened. Millions of people lost their jobs, homes, some lost their lives. But CEOs of big banks and other representatives of the top management have not only left to enjoy their freedom but also received enormous benefits.
The amount of bonus that they paid to themselves looked like a phone number including international dialling code.
Meanwhile, informed actions of banks triggered the hardest recession across the globe affecting hundreds of millions of people.
At the same time, a person can be shot by police for way lesser crime. Although I must admit that sometimes in the United States people can be short by police for not committing any crime at all (I guess this is probably the only privilege of regular people in the 21st century democracy, but if it is a privilege, then why the 1% have never tried to monopolize it?).
Unfortunately, this is a very ugly reality of the country which is still perceived by many people as a benchmark of democracy. It is also unfortunate that such perception couldn’t be further from the truth.
The good news is that it is not too late. The bad news is that the U.S. society is approaching the point of no return fast. Donald Trump and members of his administration is a vivid display that if nothing is done urgently the collapse is inevitable.
The American people should accept the truth regardless how hard it might be and vote the corrupt system out. Because if Americans would make a mistake this time, the hardship of accepting the truth today may look like a party tomorrow.