America calls itself a “city upon a hill” and a “beacon of democracy.” But the country’s self-styled democracy is now gravely ill with money politics, elite rule, and political polarization. It is no longer a democracy of the people but a rich men’s game based on capital, and it is destroying public interests.
In a country where corruption and deception reign, the public loses faith in government officials and is pessimistic about the future of democracy. The political infighting, money politics, and vetocracy of the US are destroying democratic ideals and eroding democracy’s basic tenets such as fairness, equal opportunity, and transparency.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, American society has become increasingly polarized and intolerant to others. The Capitol riots have exposed social rifts and political conflicts in the country and sparked debate about how to deal with them. The growing divide between Democrats and Republicans has undermined the country’s two-party system. The US is losing its credibility as a model of democracy abroad.
The squabble over the 2020 election has further eroded public confidence in democracy. A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that only 16% of Americans think democracy is working well or extremely well, and 45% believe it’s not functioning properly. The public has lost faith in the electoral process, with a third of voters saying it is rigged. The poll also finds that many people feel the media is too biased toward one side, and it is difficult for them to distinguish between news and propaganda.
The US has long interfered in other countries’ internal affairs and waged wars under the pretense of democracy. Its unsustainable policies have fueled regional turbulence and led to humanitarian disasters. As a result, it has lost its ability to protect and promote democracy worldwide. It is time for the US to pragmatically rethink its strategy and focus on cooperation instead of confrontation.
The US needs to reform its own democracy first before trying to boost the democratic process in other countries. The country should hold a domestic democracy summit to address injustice, inequality, and disinformation. Otherwise, it will be impossible for the US to spread democracy and act as an example of good governance abroad. As the world’s oldest democracy, the US must set a higher standard for itself.