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The Crisis of American Democracy

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There is a serious institutional crisis within America’s democracy. The incidents that occurred at the Capital Building are only symptomatic manifestations of deeper systemic fractures. There is no single culprit, and it has taken time to unfold. Will this be a cyclical, stationary malice or will it have permanent embedding effects?

American Democracy

To be clear, when we speak of democracy as in a popular self-government political arrangement, in the case of the United States, we understand that the American variant is an indirect version with strict republican components. Power is divided, decentralized, and made to cordially compete against each other for the purpose of protecting freedom. This is the original intent of the Framers. This sui generis manner of organizing society and political power was not only applicable to the government. Civil society also was entrusted to be guardians of the system. This is all a chimera today.

Civil Society Failures
Mass Media

A democracy functioning within a constitutional republic, inherently, needs a free and fair press. The “fair” part is today fictional. Mass media has abandoned one of its core responsibilities as defenders of truth in a free society: objective investigative journalism. What we witness now are ideologically driven operatives that serve the interests of a cause and/or political party. One witnesses the press covering up relevant news that impacts democracy and the rule of law, to protect people of their liking. Hunter and Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are only a few of chosen individuals which escape the radar of critique and journalistic scrutiny. Thus, the watchdog of democracy (a free press) cedes its place to political activism.

Private Business

Though never regulated as such, common sense dictated that private corporations should not mix politics with business. This was so with the intent of respecting diverging political opinions. Free speech is stifled when mega corporations brandish ideological slogans and content of antisystem movements such as the Marxist Black Lives Matter (“BLM”), for example, and translated them into corporate policies.

A dangerous extension of corporate ideological activism was grossly exemplified by Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and the interference with his pet NGOs in public elections and the $419 million “contribution” to state and local governments along with election commissions in the 2020 presidential race. Campaign finance federal laws exist to establish thresholds of private money into the political process. By apportioning private funds into selected counties and districts, clearly favoring one candidate and party over another, is an abject violation of the intent of federal campaign finance laws. Additionally, it pillages the Constitution’s 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause.   

Facebook Twitter Biden
Social Media

While a fairly “new” player in the civil society realm, social media has become a major podium of expression. Facebook and Twitter, to no one’s surprise, are the dominant figures. Their Section 230 protection, as part of the Communications Decency Act (1996), was to assure that the terrain of free speech would be unfettered, in exchange for immunity from libel and/or defamation lawsuits. This “public domain” status has been subverted and is no more. Consistently, Facebook and Twitter have exhibited censorship manifestations that parallel those of authoritarian regimes. Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey have become czars that choose who may exercise free speech and when.

When Twitter shutdown The New York Post to limit the damage its story on the Hunter Biden corruption scandal could do to their favored candidate, the neutrality obligation that underscores its coveted status as a public domain was scorched. Facebook has recently blocked president Trump’s account “indefinitely”. If this is done to the acting president of the United States, there is no limit to the capricious squelching of free expression.

Morally reprehensible is the fact that accounts belonging to entities like BLM, which espouses projects that call for the systemic dismantling of American democracy as we know it, and on practical terms, exercises riots and the destruction of public and private property, has remained on both platforms, uncensored. This suppression of dissenting views, given Facebooks and Twitter’s obvious worldview prejudices, conspire against the bedrocks of a free society.      

Techno Tyrants

Google has functionally monopolized web search capacities. This is a gravely dangerous fact given the internet’s role in society. George Orwell’s 1984 appears ever closer to acquiring non-fiction status. Google has a political tilt, and they exercise their power to make sure that opposing views do not preempt the worldview they subscribe to. As a pivotal part of 21st Century civil society, private commercial entities, like Google, are ideologized monsters that serve the masters of their political preference. Thus, the guardianship role that a diverse democratic society requires, goes unheeded.           

Rule of Law Double Standards

The rule of law is an indispensable column of democratic governance. Fissures within the system that undermine the morality of equality under the law, are conduits to disorderly social behavior. During this Spring and Summer of 2020, approximately 14,000 people were arrested as a result of the riots BLM carried out across America, according to the Washington Post, as cited by Forbes. Considering that there were over 637 BLM riots, this translates into an average of 22 arrests per riot. In the recent storming of the Capital Building attributed to Trump supporters, there were 68 arrests, as reported by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department.

No doubt that this figure will grow as investigations continue. Even if one were to only consider the existing arrests of alleged Trump supporters, this figure is more than three times the number of arrests which were made of the Marxist group members. Why the atrocious doble standard in executing the law? Why are Trump supporter lives treated brazenly harsher that BLMs?

During the arson attack on the St. John’s Church by BLM in June, to make a single incident comparison, hardly any arrests resulted. In fact, this act of domestic terrorism was rewarded by having a plaza named after this communist terror group a few days later by D. C.’s mayor, Muriel Bowser. What this example and scores of other incidents represents is the politicization of the application of the law. These are not isolated incidents but rather part of a consistent pattern of partisan criminalization, that together with the selective application of pandemic authoritarianism, has plummeted public confidence in the rule of law.    

Skewed Electoral System
2020 Presidential Election

Taking advantage of the march of the Communist Chinese Virus across America, left-wing organizations and operatives of the Democratic Party began an aggressive campaign to rewrite electoral laws, with the main focused being in key battleground states. The idea was to nullify mail ballot integrity safeguards and achieve different paths for victory in November. Lawsuits and “citizen” petitions abounded resulting in the deconstruction of electoral laws. These actions were unconstitutional, violating Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, as they were alterations carried out by governors, secretaries of state and/or state courts. Only the state legislators are constitutionally empowered for that task.

These constitutional transgressions, as the Texas case demonstrated where more than one-third of the state’s attorney generals concurred and sadly, the Supreme Court refused to hear, paved the road for the widespread irregularities and anomalies that desecrated the integrity of the election.

The fact that there were “recounts” (counting both valid and invalid votes) and that over 60 legal attempts failed (most were not made by the Trump camp), does not invalidate the evidence, as these were not ever presented in a qualified court hearing with the due process protocol of competent jurisprudence. A Rasmussen poll of January 6th highlights the fact that 73% of GOP voters supported the challenge to the Biden election victory.

democracia, votos, Pensilvania, 2020, votos por correo

When a great part of the people has lost confidence in core institutions that sustain democracy, a dangerous terrain is established. The fact that the other half controls the media (mass and social), the technocracy class and elite commercial and academic enclaves, and believes it knows best does not mean they are correct. Now the fractured American Republic finds itself with the executive and legislative branches in the hands of the very group that have done much to bring us to where we are. Abraham Lincoln made it clear that a divided house cannot stand. We all know what followed.    

Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.

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