the end of american “democracy”?!?

December 26, 2019
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Democracy (noun) /dəˈmäkrəsē/ – a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.

Can you really end a thing that has only existed symbolically? Like, “American Democracy”? 

Whether you can or can’t, it’s clear that the system of checks and balances of power in the “greatest” system of governance in the world, has been shown as faulty — if not outright worse than other forms of governing Americans claim to hate so much. Beginning with “We, the People, ” our country has been built on great proclamations, speeches and laws, that have never truly been about the people, but about a class that sits above, making decisions for others that put “party” and race above everything.

America has always been big on ideas, but poor on execution and delivery — with Democracy simply being the biggest lie we have sold, since its claims were developed at the height of slavery. Nothing about America has ever been a Democracy, a nation built on the genocide of one people and the enslavement of another, which has never been able to push itself past ugly origins, despite multiple attempts to rewrite the truth. Democracy has been seen as a beacon that will fix all mistakes, through amendments and laws voted on by the people — if only its guidance was truly in the people’s hands.

Nowadays, American Democracy is much closer to an episode of Scandal than to any semblance of the word’s definition. That’s actually a good place to start, since so many use the word in practice, while actively participating in systems so clearly opposite of what democracy is supposed to be. To be clear, we live in a country where a person can get the most votes and still not be the President of the United States, a country where politicians can draw maps of voting areas to ensure victory, a country that still uses a process (the electoral college) based on a weighted system birthed during slavery — a process most recognize should not remain in use yet has never been dismantled. Just as American oppression here has never been dismantled, only given a new name. 

American Democracy is the operator of this oppression’s every lever. It is the lie that told folks that the election of Obama was the end of racism and the beginnings of post-race America, while also lying to another part of the country by saying his election meant white folks were losing their power. It is the lie which tells us that more anti-Blackness in policy, policing and principle is the answer to growth in society. It is the lie that told white people who were overwhelmingly in power that there was a need to regain it through the vessel of xenophobia, homophobia, and authoritarianism that is Tr*mp. It is the lie that tells us our government is a system of checks and balances, rather than the hand that has been perpetually weighing down the scale. 

Impeachment is a part of the lie. The tool that will be used 50 years from now to say “see we kept the President accountable for his crimes,” despite the likelihood that it will not change anything. It is a truth that would make everyone have to accept our government as a system good in idea, okay on paper, but poor in execution. Real Democracy has never happened in the U.S., only the lie that we have all been forced to take part in. 

The Impeachment of an American President used to make headlines across the world. It was something taken very seriously by the country, proof that our nation had a system of laws that wouldn’t let anyone overstep their use of power or their ability to commit crimes. Trump’s impeachment is nothing more than a frivolous show of “power” with no real action, where everyone wins except the people who voted these officials into office. No matter if your party is Democrat or Republican, the decade’s last three years have shown the truest colors of our governance, and how closely tied it is to white supremacy and to hundreds of years of organized oppression.

We will begin the ‘20s with the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. I’m honestly not sure if this is a signal of change that this country needs, or the warning of how treacherous the decade ahead will be for so many of us. Whether Trump is impeached or not, his damage has been done. Although there will be more fire before the rain, it seems like this may be the end of a system that has never worked for many people, and the beginning of a new awakening, one America has needed for a long long time.