Democracy’s Failure

Here’s the funny thing about democracy. It doesn’t work; we know it doesn’t work; we pretend that it does work, and believe it’s the best system around—which, sadly, in our times may be true.
The notion that people are responsible enough to govern themselves is a familiar truism we rely upon. We like to think most humans, given the opportunity to do good, will do so. Deep down, we know this is the furthest thing from the truth. Experience has shown us we are vindictive, covetous, materialistic and selfish. We like violence, control and dominance over others, so we create a skein of laws meant to guide us towards civilized behavior. We are told to do the proper thing and are threatened with punishment if we do not. But laws are imperfect; we hope for the best and, invariably, are disappointed.
Is this a harsh judgement? Look around at the society we’ve created. Greed is our prime moving force. To further institutionalize this shortcoming, we have created credit, a system whereby acquisitions can be had without work. Again, we pretend that credit is a great egalitarian movement, when deep down we know it is the exact opposite. Credit—the democratization of money—allows us to pay three times what we should for a given item, a car, a truck, or a semi-automatic weapon, let’s say. To this we add a vacation at Disneyland, an extra-large television set and, and the weekly beer and grocery bill. We pay for all this in small, interest-driven increments. We no longer bother to save money since we can purchase almost everything with no cash down. The banks and credit card companies get rich by charging usurious fees, and we get near-instant gratification.
Lately, a second motivation is a mixture of anger and fear, both encouraged and promoted by the Trump administration. In light of this semi-official government policy, the democratization of guns have made the nation a bloodbath, with mass murders so common they don’t make the front page anymore. We are told guns don’t kill people, and do little or nothing to counter this absurd statement. Once again, given a plethora of choices, we invariably make the wrong one.
Perhaps the strangest manifestation of democracy’s failure is our insistence that we be ruled by a document—the US Constitution—that is woefully inadequate by today standards. I very much doubt the Founding Fathers envisaged the government as it is now, led by a rich and ignorant buffoon surrounded by a like-minded coterie. Could the founders foresee the destruction of the environment to further industrial interests? Agribusiness and big pharm? A nation of immigrants forgetting their roots?
Our present system allows our leaders to lie, deceive, cheat and steal with impunity. We don’t really seem to care much. Democracy, it seems, has become the bosom buddy of apathy.

About epiphanettes

Writer, songcrafter, possibly the best French pedal steel guitarist in Virginia.
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