American Democracy Is Not the Gold Standard

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Stuart Whatley proclaims in an otherwise insightful piece on the Tea Party that “American democracy, fueled by an active populace—despite its numerous imperfections—remains the gold standard around the world.”

That’s crap.

Why Whatley ledes with a flag-waive is obvious and his championing of American democracy is absurd.

What liberty and democracy we have were demanded by often small groups of the American people who prevailed in the face of zenophoibc, militaristic, racist, ass-kissing clones to power and state. What liberty we have was won by 10,000s of dead and brutalized Americans who fought not foreign enemies but domestic power and its tools.

Some facts on America today:

– America has by far the most people in prison, proportionally and total population; Iran and China are pikers

– American veterans are routinely lied-to, and the political culture feels no politcal threat in lying to its 26-million military veterans

– The American political culture on the national stage rarely hears a voice championing civil liberties and human rights; those championing liberties like the ACLU are vilified

– America wages wars built on lies

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– Most Ameircans can barely even recite fundamental elements of the formal democratic structures

One can go on: Voter turn-out, ill-informed public, an determined incapacity to think beyond sound bytes, widepsread ridiculing of human rights and the Bill of Rights and on and on. Consider the late Howard Zinn who wrote about people who brought us liberty, fighting against oppression against the mob of ass-kissers and liars. David Potortiwrites of a Zinn speech:

Zinn adroitly responded to questions of all kinds, including one he must have heard a thousand times: ‘Why do you still live in the United States, if you criticize the things the United States has done?’

‘I’m not criticizing the United States,’ Zinn replied. ‘I’m criticizing the government of the United States. Patriotism means that you support the principles of the government. To criticize the government is the most American thing you can do.’

The only gold standard in a democracy is the commitment to stand up to power sustained by liars and  its cowardly friends. How often we do that is the standard by which we can judge ourselves.

Democracy is no abstraction, no slogan, and no piece of cloth, it’s the determination of human beings to chart their own course and live free or die. Standing up for another’s liberty is gold.

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