The infrastructure of democracy as an integral part of the American political landscape facilitates a conflict zone in which the will of the majority assumes priority over the voice of the minority. History has shown that as political and economic systems continue to evolve, increasing allocation of power is enabled so as to empower and preserve those institutions that are entrusted with safeguarding the will and well-being of the electorate. However, it can be argued that extending and permitting the allocation of power creates a multi-tiered structure that serves to isolate those institutions from those who democratically elected them. This multi-layered democratic system thereby paradoxically operates by minority rule; the original winning majority within the democratic process disenfranchised in part by the removal of their role within the decision-making process. The fairness of majority representation has gained universal acceptance, however the state mechanism’s ability to administer it is increasingly seen as the ‘Achilles heel’ of good governance. Perhaps this is best exemplified by the inevitable evolving shift of a representative democracy to that of a system that delegates from a power base endowed with questionable accountability.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, an international think-tank known as Policy Network has directed attention to the growing failure of nation states in providing effective solutions to increasing political and economic threats, and social unrest seen within their adopted democratic models. Many would argue that this scenario is exemplified within the current US brand of democratic governance and that solutions to spiraling self-inflicted crises can only be answered if the US relinquishes its claim as a democratic role model within the global arena, rather to allow a globally-based consensus to deliver a global solution. Historians will inevitably point to the demise of a Superpower brokered global democracy that failed the aspirations of millions of its own citizens and did not deliver according to that espoused in a hard fought Constitution or of a legislated Bill Of Rights. The long term sustainability of a self-appointed democracy cannot be a reality unless the global community participates as equal partners and accorded with equal respect.
Can alternative democracy derived from a globally based consensus including so called 3rd world nation states, mitigate or dissolve serious problematic issues that are eroding the American dream; including the idealism espousing equal opportunity for all Americans? Indeed the renowned novelist J. G. Ballard suggested that the ‘dream’ is over and it now supplies nightmares. Sadly this is not only happening within America’s own borders, but also is increasingly distributed for global consumption; thereby disenfranchising the whole of humanity and attenuating the individual’s right to enjoy the American dream. In addition, mainline media has focused worldwide attention on numerous arguably self-inflicted tragedies and controversies exemplified by events such as the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, 9/11 and more recently by the erosion of privacy and human dignity, facilitated by the phenomena of US dominated global surveillance. These events have impacted the lives of all humanity, not just the American citizen.
So can we place the blame of a malfunctioning democracy squarely at the door of a Superpower that once ignited and inspired the dreams and aspiration of billions, and arguably still does? It would be gravely naïve to even accommodate this possibility. Indeed driving this erosion of equal rights and opportunities has been the willing support and participation by many nations, some supposedly lacking in facilitating a meaningful democracy. China despite its perceived multiple violations of human rights and dignity has developed an economy built in part by the flood of exports to the US coupled with vast lines of cheap credit; thereby essentially complicit to the demise of US styled democracy. Some Middle East nation states in turn have actively partnered the US in the drive to monopolize and manipulate energy resources yet the ideals of democracy do not feature within those political landscapes that at best could be described as a dictatorships. If blame were to be apportioned at all for the ongoing demise of US branded democracy it should be equally distributed to all global participants.
Does this mean that US democracy derived from and set out in the founding documents centuries ago should be scrapped? Here we contend that despite the political, economic and social problems seen today both here and throughout the civilized world, such problems are not the result of just human error and inefficiency, but are derived from a system of governance that is outdated. As the American dream has evolved – so has technology and science. We have seen the explosive development of IT and scientific research in recent decades thereby enabling billions to enjoy access to information and cultural diversity previously out of reach. Yet political structures have largely failed to counter or accommodate these changes; thereby failing to amend their institutional structures accordingly. Such changes should facilitate improvement in well-being for all their people, none more so than what we have here in the US; thereby the inability of such institutional bodies to modernize and meet voters aspirations can be deemed to be out of touch or even outdated.
In order for all American self-interest groups including constitutionalists and libertarians to find solutions that fit their own narrative, consideration should be given to a solution that not only meets the needs of the American people, but for all of humanity. As technology and science has become available to all, so should decisions regarding natural resources, political systems, economic structures and social infrastructure be agreed upon and implemented by all nations. We cannot rely on so called mainstream media to voice and safeguard such a decision-making mechanism as it has also been hijacked by self-interest and minority groups and is selective in the news content it broadcasts. On the other hand, the sudden explosion in the availability of the internet has allowed alternative media to access a platform from which to voice the viewpoints and opinions of an alternative train of thought and independent viewpoints. Sadly, much of this form of media has been swayed by hysteria and emotional thought, perhaps seeking subscribers rather than delivering proven facts and validated data. In addition, this form of media has directed attention primarily at US viewers, however for such alternative media to be truly credible it will need to include content that meets expectations of global viewers; not just news from an American perspective. In turn we have seen significant numbers of the global population choosing rather to disbelieve and dismiss the breakdown of democracy as part of ‘conspiracy theories’ possibly due to the perception that these theories primarily are derived from US networks and organizations.
Alternative media still has a critical role to play in ensuring that the American people are accurately informed rather than swamped by baseless opinions so that the US democratic process can be returned back on to the world stage as a model of fair play and governance. If focus is directed at fact rather than hypothesis, credibility can be accredited to a vital yet fledgling alternative media. If investigative journalism becomes the cornerstone of news gathering, short term sensationalism will be deemed as inappropriate.
It can be argued that both the American citizen and global audience has in part become isolated from reality and accustomed to the ongoing disintegration of democracy, and now more recently, failure to question and terminate by the electoral vote issues such as torture, detention without trial and targeted killings have become a norm. This is not just an American phenomena, it is indeed a failure to investigate and follow up a widespread series of global cataclysms. The question that remains to be answered is how far down this road less traveled do we go before we all wake up. Perhaps if Americans have historically claimed the ownership of the ‘Democratic and Freedom’ franchise, then it should assume the lead role in enacting real change that includes transparency, equality in the distribution of resources, and the right to privacy and human dignity for all humanity. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encapsulated the hopes of millions of Americans by referring to real democracy in terms of a shift of thinking; a thing-orientated society to a person-orientated society.
To enable inclusiveness of all people within the American democratic system, a re-think of the democratic infra-structure from the grassroots up is of paramount importance even if only for the Administration, Congress and the Justice system to be viewed as truly legitimate by the majority of Americans. If America wakes up now and avoids the peril of inaction, it can still lead the world by example. Furthermore, when increasing numbers of Americans once again begin to buy their brand of democracy, such a groundswell will promote the well-being of all nations and all peoples. No longer will American democracy have to be sold as bait to unwilling partners, no longer will American mainstream media have to hide below the parapet and no longer will the American population have to make excuses for a malfunctioning society.