Monday, February 14, 2011

Exhorting Egypt Towards Democracy, Obama Embraces the Big Lie

It's interesting to hear the president of a country that is only nominally democratic exhort the citizens of another that have just recently deposed their despot to embrace democracy.

Believe it or not Mr. Obama, there are some of us who take the time to read up on the subject, and even with a just a quick survey of the literature, one quickly comes to the conclusion that the US, despite having put into place popular elections, is far from being a democratic country.

Yes, there were some democratic rights gains in the 1960s, most notably the Voting Rights Act, but these historic gains are far from sufficient to counter the huge disparities of political power that presently exist and continue to grow in the US.

Democracy is a political philosophy that is based on a radical conception of equality. It posits that all humans are born equal and that equality exists between citizens with regard to political rights, speech, and power and that all citizens are equal before the law.

Upon close analysis, it is not until the late twentieth century that America finally owns up to the belief that all Americans are born with equal rights. For the other components of democracy, America is far off the mark, so much so, I would rank the belief that America is a democracy right up there with the belief that the American dream is available to all Americans. At best, wishful thinking, at worst, in the words of eminent political theorist John Dunn, "a thumping falsehood, a bald-faced lie."

America since its inception has been a plutocracy and even more so today than in the days of its founding fathers. Essentially, a aristocracy based on hereditary common in Europe was rejected in favor of a plutocracy of land owners that has evolved over time into a corporate plutocracy. If you are interested in knowing more, I would suggest picking up Michael Parenti's, Democracy for the Few.

Putting aside the obvious anomalies, the Electoral College, the composition of the US Senate, and the influence of the judiciary on electoral results, (Bush v. Gore), Obama has done nothing to make the US more democratic and, in fact, has already thrown his hat in with the corporate elite in order to finance his 2012 electoral campaign.

No real democrat, by this I mean one who understands and supports the equality provisions of the creed, would set out to maintain the tax advantages for the super rich and then go on to cut the budgetary allocations that support the middle and the working classes in order to mitigate the deficits that the favorable treatment for the already privileged brings on.

Money and the power it brings has completely undermined the democratic legitimacy of the electoral process in the US. What Obama has done in his first term is to demonstrate that behind the soaring rhetoric is a man who is quite comfortable presiding over corporate America but doesn't have the interest of the vast majority of Americans when it comes time to defend the interests of the average American.

Greatest country on earth, beacon of hope and liberty, defender of democracy, and the bullshit goes on and on because that's what the American people want to hear and that's what Obama gets paid to deliver: empty eloquence about a fairy tail future.

In reality, the corporate elite have already moved on to seek their fortunes in a global economy, leaving the poor, the uneducated, the unskilled, and the unwanted to fend for themselves in the decay of an abandoned America.

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