Election Day has come and gone but, once again I have been reminded of a point I merely hinted at in a prior post; the happy joyful illusion of our supposed total freedom and right of choice as Americans. The greatest example of this chimera was once again, right in front of our eyes in the Presidential race, which, from the writing of our constitution, has been based on a two party system. In essence, the White House is handed between “elephant” and “donkey” every four or eight years, redecorated on the qualms of the First Lady with the chairs in the Oval Office refitted to the comfort of the Chief in Command.
So, I have had to ask, do we really live in a democracy? To me, our democracy seems to be solely the jostling of money from the right hand to the left in order to see who will come out on top.
I argue that the U.S. is NOT a pure democracy in the core of the word: “Democracy: a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives,” since it is money that creates a transparently lopsided playing field. We use a unique interpretation of the word, which the majority of us seem quite content not to meddle with, and call our country the best democracy of the world.
In comparison to a vast majority of countries, we have amazing freedoms, electricity and hot running water, a good sanitation system, paved highways, public transportation, an economy that, while extremely weak, has not lost all credibility. We have a currency worth something and a passport that allows us entrance into most lands. We have foreign embassies that can protect us (usually!), and a strong military. Now that we have established these points, one can understand why we, for hundreds and hundreds of years – and most likely the years to come — have not questioned our form of democracy. This leads me to ask, how can we judge other forms of governorship if we don’t really live under total democracy?
As stated above, the U.S. largely provides its citizens with a sense of security, which, in part, explains why the American masses support their government in “democratizing” other countries. We want to be seen as the model and the leader and want other countries to follow us. But, why should we try to impose our type of democracy on countries that are happy with their current situation. As we are fine with our “democrazy,” let those other states have theirs as well.
Now to why I did vote for one of the two parties, even though I think my vote is just enabling the “faux” democracy? After railing on about not living in a true democracy why fall into the same pit whole? Why not vote for a third party or not vote at all? While I want that fairy tale ending, I am a realist when it comes to politics in my country. If I were to vote, for example, for the Green party, while I may have been considered a rebel exercising her hand at the system, I know I would not be changing anything.
One could argue, we have a two party race because of people with the same mentality as YOU (I am talking to myself here), but I disagree. As long as no laws are put in place, restricting big money endorsements in these two parties, red and blue will be our ONLY colors. While the parties have become more and more similar, like our blood which runs blue until coming in contact with oxygen and turning red and visa versa, the parties have come to exist on each others’ breath. I voted because I know our president will be, sadly, either Republican or Democrat.
And so, while not even close to perfect, I will continue to take advantage of my ability to vote and the many privileges that come along with my birth right in this country, and the illusions that my “democrazy” provides.