The State of Democracy in America

Democracy is not only a form of government but a way of life. The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the abolitionist movement and civil rights movement all contributed to bringing the principles of democracy into being. Democracy in america is based on a democratic party system, representative government and the principle of one person, one vote. But the American political process is increasingly becoming dysfunctional. A number of recent events have raised serious concerns about the state of democracy in america, as well as its viability. The COVID-19 pandemic is an example of how a dysfunctional democracy can fail to respond quickly to a crisis. Another example is how inequality in the US keeps ordinary people from enjoying the fruits of economic growth. In both cases, political infighting and money politics have created a climate where veto players and self-interested players prevent common political ground from emerging.

The fact that so many Americans are disillusioned with their politicians and pessimistic about the future of democracy in america is alarming. The US government has a responsibility to restore confidence in its ability to govern.

Its leaders should understand that democracy is not just a way of life but an important tool for global stability and peace. The US also has a responsibility to stop using its own version of democracy as a template and weapon for meddling in other countries’ internal affairs, creating chaos and disasters that detract from world peace.

The American people have a strong sense of the obligations of good citizenship, and large majorities say that it is very or somewhat important to vote, pay taxes and obey the law. A smaller but still substantial percentage of Americans consider it very or somewhat important to protest government actions that they believe are wrong.

But there is a gap between how the US public views its democracy and how the country actually functions. For example, the US political system has become so polarized that there is little common ground between the most conservative and the most liberal Republicans. As a result, the separation of powers has been severely undermined and partisanship has invaded the judiciary, making it impossible to produce decisions that meet the high standard of fairness and impartiality that Americans have come to expect.

The future of the US democracy, and of democracy throughout the hemisphere, will depend on how seriously its leaders take the challenge of maintaining its fundamental values and the basic rules that have made it work so well in so many other places. It is time for the US to conduct some soul-searching and reassess its role as a model of democracy. Otherwise, it will continue to erode its own democracy at home and around the world, leaving a trail of chaos and suffering in its wake.