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The End of Our Democracy

Updated on November 9, 2014

A while back I wrote a highly critical piece of our electoral system called, “The End of Elections.” And our democracy is less and less democratic each election.

Our government has never been fully democratic. In the Constitution before the 17th through 27th Amendments were passed, Senators were selected by The House of Representatives and the vote was limited to white males over the age of 21. In many states, there were property and religious requirements for voting. The United States also accepted in its founding documents the institution of slavery. What could be less democratic?

What some would call a "democratic" slave auction.
What some would call a "democratic" slave auction. | Source

Not only were the Europeans invading the land in an action that today would be deemed a breach of international law, they were killing the native inhabitants by the millions. And the ideological ancestors of the slave owners and men that perpetrator genocide against the native peoples are still ruling this land. Is genocide really the best way to start a democracy?

This is not democracy.
This is not democracy. | Source

Certainly, I too have heard Churchill’s famous quip, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Well, how about we try democracy some time then?

The U.S. Congress is not representative of the citizenry. The U.S. is 79% white, but 92% of the members of the Senate are white. (see citations 1 and 2 below) The House of Representatives, being the more representative of the two branches, has only 82% white membership. Women make up 51% of the U.S. but only 17% of both houses of Congress. And while only 4% of the U.S. citizenry is millionaires, over 50% of Congress is millionaires and their median income is over $1 million. Meanwhile, the U.S. median income is around $51,000. How are millionaires supposed to truly represent, identify with, and help us non-millionaires? They don’t.

People parade elections in front of us as if these dog and pony shows make it okay that the wealthy pass laws telling the lower classes how to live, what to pay in taxes, how their schools should be run, how the nation will spy on us, what countries we will attack, and so forth. How is this any different that feudal times of the middles ages, other than the pretense of democracy?

Let's stop the pretense that either party is working for us any more. Both parties work for the wealthy and elite and take from the labor of the working class, everyone but the moneyed elite. A few members of both parties might effort to work for their constituents, perhaps, but that just adds to the illusion that we live in a democracy where each individual has a say. We live in a top down "democracy" where the wealthy classes can buy elections and ultimately rule through power, money and political connections based on their class.

Money buys elections and gives corporations and billionaires a voice that the average citizen does not have. The Supreme Court in the Citizen’s United case rejected limits on corporate campaign spending by a 5-4 vote. That decision has lead to a dramatic increase in spending on campaigns, and that means that corporations have an even greater say in elections than ever before.

In 2008, Open Secrets investigated money in politics and found that the candidate with the most money won over 90% of Congressional races. Generally, you need money, not ideas, if you want to win an election. You must also water down your message so as not to anger your corporate and billionaire donors. And for those of you who think that union donating is a major problem, the fact is that corporations outspend unions by a margin of 15 to 1. (ibid: Open Secrets) Moreover, unions represent thousands of people, corporations represent individuals and a few board members. So, which is more democratic, a union or a corporate donation?

There are also the advantages of incumbency leads to electoral victories. These include getting free advertising at speaking events, visibility through your work in Congress that leads to larger donation pools, Congressional staffers to help incumbents run their elections, staffers they don’t have to spend extra for, and so forth.

So, our choices are limited by the two party system, money wins elections, not ideas, and there isn’t a level playing field for all candidates. However, we are sold the idea in the media ever election that we live in a democracy.

Other ways our democracy has been limited include indefinite detentions, spying, limits on free speech with laws that target protest, and other ways our freedoms have been limited by the two ruling parties.

What most people want is a system that is not rigged against them, their families, or friends, not a system that takes from the poor and gives to the 1%.

Republican legislatures have recently passed increasingly restrictive voting regulations. Two University of Massachusetts researchers analyzed voting laws from 2002 to 2012. They found that half of the states have passed voter restrictions, and they were mostly in the South. And the laws target minority and young voters, unlikely Republican supporters. Preventing legally registered citizens from voting and making it increasingly hard to become registered to vote is not democratic.

Source

Meanwhile, most of the Democrats say, "Sorry kids, we can't help you now, we have campaign donations to roll over for. But we'd sure appreciate your vote, cause those other guys are REALLY bad."

Peace,
Tex Shelters

1. Congressional Membership demographics

2. U.S. Demographic breakdown

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    • profile image

      Anna 2 years ago

      Not yet, my 5 year old just started Kindergarten & they don't allow them to start any extra-curricular aitcvities until 1st grade. Can't wait though!

    • profile image

      Surender 2 years ago

      All of my school aged kidods are involved with some kind of extra-curricular activy. My 16 year old son is on the drumline at his high school, my pre-teen daughter is on the volleyball and softball teams and my 8 year old son is halfway to his black belt in Taekwondo.My little guy who stays home with me and does flash cards during the day has extra-curricular activities of napping and cuddling with Mommy and Daddy! =)

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 3 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      It's a manufactured problem to eliminate the young and minorities from voting. No surprise, Republicans passed these laws.

      PTxS

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 3 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Yes. Thanks.

      PTxS

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 3 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Show me some statistics on voter fraud. There have been 1 or 2 cases, not enough to keep people off the voter's rolls. Thanks!

      PTxS

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

      my polling place is in my neighborhood. no one could sign my name and get away with it because they know me there. no ID needed.

    • profile image

      retief2000 3 years ago

      I do not pretend to that level of omniscience.

      A vote is a profound privilege and if one is not willing to endure some measure of inconvenience to exercise it then I do not care if they ever vote.

      It took great sacrifices to secure that privilege, if contemporary Americans are made of such weak stuff then they should not vote.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

      not often

    • profile image

      retief2000 3 years ago

      Those are the reported ones, like any crime the actual incidents far out number the reported ones. When you vote in Indiana you sign a book. When I arrived to vote someone had already signed on the line with my name. How many times do you think something so simple happens in states without voter ID laws?

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

      between 2000 and 2010, there were exactly ten instances of in person voter fraud. were you one of them?

    • profile image

      retief2000 3 years ago

      As a victim of the "mythical" in person voter fraud it is real and without a voter ID law, inevitable. "it is just a Republican(the small r is a political group to which Democrats also belong)excuse..." is a dodge. We require people to present identification all the time for many regular and normal activities. Even protests against Voter ID Laws have required protesters to present photo identification.

      It is a simple minded template to blame the evil Republicans for everything.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

      in person voter fraud is almost non-existent. the integrity of voting was never in danger. it's just a republican excuse for disenfranchising thousands of people.

    • profile image

      retief2000 3 years ago

      Specifically addressing the needs of those born on tribal lands is important, but so is the integrity of voting. I empathize with the plight of those whose specific circumstance makes acquiring an ID problematic, however, for those who are merely inconvenienced by the efforts required to gain an legal ID for the purpose of voting, I have no sympathy.

      Some of us have family that braved the hardship of fleeing their homeland to secure the blessings of liberty, a much more difficult thing than asking your neighbor for a ride to the BMV so you can get an ID to exercise a your franchise secured by the blood and toil of others, who also made much more profound sacrifices for American's freedom to vote.

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 3 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      That's exactly the problem for many people Thanks CL99.

      PTxS

    • texshelters profile image
      Author

      texshelters 3 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Congratulations. However, the article wasn't about Indiana laws, but voter ID laws in general have prevented the elderly and many native people from voting because they never got a birth certificate. Thousands of people lost their right to vote in Arizona because they were not giving a birth certificate whent they were born on tribal lands.

      Voter fraud is a made up problem and preventing legal citizens from voting is the solution in some states. I'm glad to hear it's working in Indiana as far as I know. Texas? Not so much:

      http://www.thenation.com/blog/176792/texas-voter-i...

      PTxS

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 3 years ago from northeastern US

      the PA voter ID law was struck down by the courts. good thing, too. folks in my county had to go across the county to the county seat (no mass transit) to get ID. no car, no vote.

    • profile image

      retief2000 3 years ago

      As a proud Hoosier, the map at the conclusion of your Hub is incorrect. We have had a very successful, fully operating Voter ID law for several years. It will prevent someone from signing my name in the voting book at the polls, ever again. State issued IDs are free in Indiana, but only for legal citizens.