Friday, September 10, 2010

U.S. Democracy Run Amok?

I recently read that in 1950 there were only 22 "full democracies" in the world, whereas 50 years later there were 120 full democracies and almost 2/3's of the people in the world could cast a meaningful ballot.  Clearly democracy is gradually being embraced by the world's peoples - and we should all be thankful for that.  But there are democracies - and then there are democracies.  The Excited States of America, in my opinion, has become a shining example of what I call democracy run amok.  Whereas authoritarian states can dictate virtually anything (good or - more often, bad) to their citizenry, the USA has perhaps taken democracy to crippling lengths in the other direction.  Americans elect everybody from judges to dog catchers, and minority rights can hold up majority action for long periods of time.  Add to that the fact that half of its politicians are always running for office, resulting in an unwarranted amount of grandstanding as well as so-called "lame duck" periods.  Tack on the character assassination hearings that occur every time someone is nominated for a high government appointment, and you have a political process that moves at a turtle's pace.  The U.S. political system is so paralyzed right now that nothing gets done despite the urgency of the times, whereas China is forging ahead developing what needs to be developed, investing where it needs to, and generally eclipsing the U.S. in political, military and economic clout.  That is bad, in my books.  I believe China is a clearly malevolent entity.  (And no - I don't believe communism will last long there, now that its people have tasted the good life.)  The U.S. must reform (read "streamline") its political system if it is to again become pre-eminent in our world - and we're in trouble if it doesn't.
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Article first published as 
Does the U.S. Have Too Much Democracy? on Technorati.