The United States of America is renowned as one of the superpower countries and has successfully achieved its status as the defender of global democracy. Many Americans are prideful of their country’s past achievement by their Founding Fathers. They consider it to be the beacon of standard which other countries should learn and judge for themselves.
The reason behind of Americans’ vainglorious perspective of their country lies in the democracy experiences that no countries are able to offer: Free and fair elections, universal rights, freedom of speech, and equal representations. However, there are numbers of indicators that the US democracy is not as pristine as it thought it would be. Manipulated news and media, marginalization of minority groups, and underrepresented women involved in the government. As well as gerrymandering in electoral districts to create alignment for certain political importance.
It is shown that the US still have a lot to catch up to the world’s expectations. Based on Democracy Index 2019, the US is placed in 25th rank and it is categorized as “flawed democracy”. The US is outranked by Japan, South Korea, Canada, Finland, and Norway which have higher scores in the process of election, preferences of participation in politics, government functions, constitutional culture, and freedom rights.
The US is in a constant argumentation of democracy versus republic, due to the similar definition in both terms. For starter, the US government system has both classifications which fulfills the definition of both democracy and republic. Thus the silver lining that we can take is that the US is a democratic republic or representative democracy.
The United States is a safe haven for the wealthiest people in the world which have income of more than lower 160 million of Americans combined. The US also owns the biggest spending for military resources compared to ten countries of higher spenders combined. In an ideal condition, the purpose of the military is purely used to ensure national security, but in real life. The US also utilize its massive spending to enforce military actions in establishing regimes that are acceptable for its interest. Such as the geopolitical conflicts in Middle East and instigated coups in Latin America since 1950s.
Despite the luxurious geographic positioning, 40 million of US citizens are in poverty condition. With the addition 10 million in the brink of it. The US also has the worst health care system in a size of a developed country, due to the extremely expensive cost for health treatment.
In terms of the implementation of democracy in political power, the US in theory has four dominant powers which are considered to matter. Namely average citizens, the wealthy and powerful, mass popular movements, and business interests. The majority of Americans will say that the ideal form of democracy would be “one person, one vote, and everyone’s interest are given the equal weight”. Most Americans would also say that they have already experienced the taste of democracy. However, the fact states the opposite: When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized groups are controlled. The preferences of average citizens are considered as miniscule or not having any significant impact in policymaking.
The gerrymandering strategy also disables the possibility of having the average citizens’ votes from being heard in order to control the outcome of the voting. Even when voting is the most fundamental rights in democracy. Thus showing that the American voting system is not as legitimate as it seems. Gerrymandering have to be considered as illegal, and for the worst case, it has been done by both republicans and democrats for years.
Other cases of the undemocratic practices consist of the taxes that benefit the riches. The environment laws are exploited for giant corporations’ profit. The labor union is destroyed to evoke the workers’ bargaining power. The media only belongs to the influential and politically-connected moguls.
So, if the country only oversees the financial capabilities of the wealthiest people and giant corporations. Why people are still being convinced by politicians to use their vote rights even when the citizens’ votes don’t really do much in the end? To become a democratic country, without the significant number from the population. The image of the US as the image of utopic democratic country will be destroyed and left as an undemocratic oligarchy nation for the world to see.
In conclusion, the two major parties in US put a show to compete against each other but in the back. They are covered by funding from giant corporations. In true democracy, the votes from the people matter, the will of the people would matter. The fundamental rights are not abused for certain group interests. So, in reality, the United States of America is not a legitimate democratic nation when it comes to its overall political systems.