Fragility of American Democracy: When the US Faces Many Challenges All at Once

The only thing new about challenges in social developments in the US is that they are experiencing greater exposure than before, which will likely dissipate over time. Racism, income inequality, high rates of poverty, food insecurity and food deserts, near non-existent health care for the poor and working middle class, are not only the by-products of capitalism, but necessities for the advancement of uncontrolled capitalism. These are issues that are dealt with by tens of millions of Americans every day, and we go through periods of time where it comes more to the forefront of America’s attention. The 60s was an era of awareness of racial inequality, but real substantive changes have been elusive.

Everyone has a camera now and what’s happening in our day to day lives is an open book. Even when there is an awakening, the main stream media tries to get in front of it to re-direct the focus of the true origins of the problem or to deflect attention away from the pillars that created the problems. News cycles are very short lived and until there’s another police murder of an innocent black person, or another mass shooting, their focus is re-directed in a way that protects the status quo.

Every ‘good’ capitalist tries to maximize profits by reducing costs. What better way to become a global economic power than through slavery? As India was ravaged and looted by British colonialism, the US economy was also built on the exploited labor of non-white people. All labor is exploited but slavery is the ultimate form of exploitation of labor.

As slavery worked to set the foundation for American economic growth and dominance, continuing to exploit the labor of black Americans was not difficult at all. And as it is a common practice, capitalists pit worker against worker, and for the longest time, it was easy to keep labor prices down when black workers were presented as threats to the white working class for their own job security. Today, blacks still do not receive equal treatment in employment, but the racial focus is now for them to target immigrants, and not the ‘Norwegian’ type that President Trump preferred. White workers are led to believe that immigrants are out to take their jobs, but those jobs they work at are derided by most white workers: farm labor, restaurant work, janitorial service, etc.

Other ways of maintaining a parasitic capitalist society is to prevent people of color from participating in the political arena. Sure there are black elected officials, and at the highest levels, but for the most part they do not buck the capitalist system but are more a party to them. It is also a mistake to believe that the Democratic Party is the party to help take people out of poverty and contract the income inequalities that have existent forever in the US. The Democrats do attempt to alleviate the worst of the sufferings but only to a point, as if you give too much to an oppressed class, they see how far they could go, and this would upset the status quo, which the Democrats and Republics rely on for their own power.

At this moment, Republicans are restricting black citizens from being able to vote, knowing that a majority would vote for the Democrats. However, the Democrats are unable to put up a real fight as it’s often that one cannot tell the difference between the two on so many fundamental issues.

The only solution is a radical change in economics, a revolution a la Cuba and Venezuela, for there to be any real expectation of change in the lives of exploited minorities and labor.
Here is a fundamental question “is the established political structure in the US able to cope up with these challenges and solve the social problems?” Can they cope with the challenges is one thing. Would they care to is another. These challenges are mere distractions. There are so many ways to reduce, even eliminate poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, health care inequality, and all other social ills, but when more than 50% of our federal budget goes to maintaining a global empire, there is no desire to make the hard decisions of raising taxes substantially of the very wealthy or shutting down our imperial bases world-wide.

No empire lasts forever. The US has had cataclysmic moments in its history where its direction may have, or might have, changed dramatically but it has rarely been the type of situation we have now where a collapse is inevitable. As soon as the US won its independence from Britain, the Shays’ Rebellion nearly put an end to the new republic, but it was brutally suppressed. The American Civil War was that moment in time in which half the nation could have gone its own way if the South had succeeded, but both sides would have maintained its core political and economic systems. The Great Depression could have changed the economic structure of our society but President Roosevelt did all he could, even promoting ‘socialist’ policies, in order to preserve capitalism. All of these moments in time led towards a trajectory of world dominance and being a global empire. At this point in our history, the very idea that a collapse is upon us, it is inevitable, and that this will no longer be the American era, needs to be reckoned with.

Our representative republic is teetering on extinction. For the longest time, our representatives have served Wall Street before “Main Street” and it’s becoming far more obvious to all. Decisions made in Washington only reflect the will of the people if it coincides with Wall Street’s desires. Our military empire is expanding and like with all man-made expansions, like the housing market, it will burst in the near future. President Trump was very successful in reducing the clout and credibility of our country in world affairs. Even with President Biden, who so far has proven an inability to advance major legislation, bringing the US back in line with the rest of the world may be beyond his skills. The damage has been done.

The January 6 insurrection was a turning point in what kind of government we are to have. With a large swath of the population not accepting Biden as president, and still expecting a reinstatement of Trump in August, the future stability of our government is quite fragile. Our government is more divided now than as ever before, but after the American Civil War. The Republican Party has vowed, through its leadership, to thwart everything the Democrats attempt as they were very successful under President Obama. And like with President Obama, Biden is doing what it can to compromise with them which means coming down to their positions rather than fighting for their own. The irony being that once a compromise is agreed to, the Republicans at large will reject it, as they did with the January 6 Commission. 

What’s remarkable now is that movements throughout the world no longer see the US as the dominant player. Recent events in Palestine show that. Although the US showed its continuing subservience to Israel, it had apparently little sway in how the continuing onslaught progressed. Israel stopped its slaughter more for its own reasons than anything the US had done. In the past, US pressure may have worked. In fact, even with the atrocities committed by Israel, it knew that further military aid was forthcoming.

Furthermore, the US is no longer the dominant economic power. China is far exceeding our production. It has made in-roads into all parts of the world once seen as US protectorates. It, along with Russia, is able to set the European Union apart from the US with its own economic programs, where it can show Europe that its economic prospects with China and Russia far outweigh expected pressures from the US. Whereas the US expands in resource rich Africa through its military, China engages in economic diplomacy.  

The US is very fragile now. It’s ‘democracy’ is challenged like never before. It’s economic strength is losing out to China. Its prestige world-wide took a serious hit under Trump. And, its bloated military is forever expanding, to the inevitable result of bursting.

Iran’s primary rival, and potentially its existential threat, is Israel, backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States. Israel is likely to have a new government soon but nothing that would change its policies on Iran. What may change is the relationship between Israel and the US, vis a vis Iran. There is enormous pressure on the US to fully return to the nuclear deal that Trump rejected. Also, public opinion in the US is slowly, gradually, but noticeably moving away from Israel, although both parties stand behind it. BDS has been an effective tool in exposing the crimes committed by Israel towards the Palestinians and is sentiment supporting Palestine is actually growing stronger among the Jewish population. What can help Iran protect itself from US/Israeli aggression is that it aligning itself with China and other nations that won’t tow the line with the US.

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Comments

  1. Why this restricted political sphere will not emerge a new major party? I wonder if progressive like sanders and AOC as well as Trumpists still stay in this binary politics?
    As the professor mentioned:
    “At this moment, Republicans are restricting black citizens from being able to vote, knowing that a majority would vote for the Democrats. However, the Democrats are unable to put up a real fight as it’s often that one cannot tell the difference between the two on so many fundamental issues.”

    I want to know the social aspects of this two sided politics in US! It does not make any sense

  2. Thank Myles for this quite intersting article.
    I belive that the United States is on the verge of collapse domestically and internationally, and in the other side, China and Russia are going to challenge the international order. my questions is that how do you see the transition power? Is it peacefully? I think we are approaching a dangerous moment in global politics. Am I right?
    How do Americans think about this issue?

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