Letter to the Editor: ‘Democracy’ in America now an empty cliché

Letter to the Editor

In response to last week’s “‘Democracy’ in America now an empty cliché,” I’d like to point out that “democracy” is not a cliché, but rather a euphemism for capitalism. Yes, it is a word that is overused; however, its overuse does not betray a lack of original thought.

But before I continue, there are some assumptions from the previous article that need to be addressed. Democracy may seem to be great, but it has inherent flaws that many people tend to overlook. Democracies (especially the United States, the “iconic” democracy) are highly inefficient in creating and implementing laws. You have to  convince a representative to draft a bill, pass it through the house and senate, and finally have it signed into law by the president: which could take months, if not years for any political change to take place. Also, your voice doesn’t really matter in a democracy; the voice of millions of Americans who share your opinion, however, does.

And if the voice of millions of Americans think that ethnic minorities are inferior or less deserving, then laws and policies are implemented to reflect those views: Jim Crow, the Patriot Act, the Anti-Chinese Immigration Act, etc. In addition, democracies are a cesspool for capitalism, which of course has led to the unfortunate developing/developed nations divide, let alone a plethora of other inequalities.

But the most disturbing aspect of democracy is, its affiliation with the United States. Often seen as the poster child for democracies, the United States is frequently seen as its “leader”; from Post World War II all the way through the Cold War, and of course, today. However, the irony is that the United States, is not a democracy: it is a federal constitutional republic. In fact, we, the people, do not even vote for our president. We elect representatives who decide for us, and yet we fight wars in the name of democracy.

Hell, even North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

But going back to democracy’s reference as an empty cliché, Wang had it right when he claimed it as an “unquestionable good.” Not because democracy is an unquestionable good, but because that thought or belief in and of itself is the empty cliché. I agree democracy has become just a “trite phrase…toss[ed] out when we need moral  justification.” But to laud democracy as the triumphant system of government is not only ignorant and naïve, but limiting to our potential. It is not at all, “the final end of human progress and civilization.” If democracy is what Wang claims it to be, then we have already failed, because there are currently 123 democracies in this world: and all of them have problems. The fact of the matter is democracy is only a temporary system until we can come up with a better one. But if we limit it “as the be all, end all” system, then we can only hope for a miracle.

– Albert Lee ’10