It is hard to disagree that the world considers the United States (US) to be the promoter and encourager of democracy and freedom. The value and interconnection of these two concepts are evident. Many Americans believe that it is essential for them to support democratic ideas (Pew Research Center, 2018). However, there are politicians and political events that undermine democratic values and can deprive people of their freedoms and rights. The current big paradox of American democracy will be explored here.
It is essential to define and discuss the identified form of government. According to researchers, democracy gives the community the right to participate in the legislation process, select their authorities, and be sure that their voices and opinions are heard and considered by their representatives (Lieberman et al., 2019). This form of government respects human rights and makes everyone equal before the law by ensuring social justice and shared decision-making (Stuckey, 2020). However, such a system does not benefit some groups who want power and revenge.
The last decade has been an ordeal for American democratic institutions with the Conservatives’ radicalization and the Democrats’ comeback. President Biden recently stated that Republicans, especially pro-Trump ones, “refuse to accept the results of a free election” (Marley & Alfaro, 2022, para. 5). Meanwhile, many people whose political identity is pro-democratic began to argue that the right to peaceful protest is not essential and fundamental (Pew Research Center, 2020). As one might have noticed, reactionary and even authoritarian sentiments and dissatisfaction with the current state of democracy are visible on both sides. Mutual aggressiveness and negative attitudes are also growing between traditional political parties (Montanaro, 2022). Interestingly, the very system of representative democracy that is the core of the US governing system can threaten the democratic values and freedoms of Americans.
The design of an American democracy aims to equalize the votes and choices of the states or regions of the country in various important elections, specifically the presidential one. Surprisingly, it also creates a paradox when the majority of the population votes for one candidate, but the opposing one chosen by the representatives wins. According to political scientists, “many Democrats say a system designed to protect the rights of smaller states has turned into partisan minority rule” (Liasson, 2021, para. 4). This systematic contradiction might lead not only to societal tensions but also to uprisings and, consequently, a new civil war. Changes are needed either in the internal American political sphere or in the system of presidential elections.
The concept under discussion can be viewed as both beneficial and disturbing. First of all, democracy’s key advantage is the ability of citizens to directly or indirectly impact how they are governed, which sometimes plays a vital role in the development of a country (Hopkins, 2021). Further, democracy makes states equal and contributes to eliminating inter-state discrimination associated with their populations. However, it also generates conflicts beyond mere political dialogue, such as the 2021 Capitol attack (Leonhardt, 2022). Moreover, Hopkins (2021) mentions that society is likely to elect not competent but charismatic and handsome candidates. The elected person would not only not represent the majority but also turn out to be a dictator favoring the radical minority.
To draw a conclusion, I may say that both perspectives include solid and persuasive arguments. Because of them, it may be challenging for one to understand whether they support democracy or prefer other forms of government. As I see it, only one argument matters for individuals and makes them forget about the weaknesses of this system. Democracy secures human rights and freedoms, making numerous disadvantages less critical. Nevertheless, they accept that the American democratic institution needs reforms (Schaeffer, 2022). This social trend is very relieving to many because it shows that people are aware of the existing paradox in American democracy.
Hopkins, B. (2021). Democracy pros and cons: Where both sides lean. The Flag. Web.
Leonhardt, D. (2022). ‘A crisis coming’: The twin threats to American democracy. The New York Times. Web.
Liasson, M. (2021). Democrats increasingly say American democracy is sliding toward minority rule. NPR. Web.
Lieberman, R. C., Mettler, S., Pepinsky, T. B., Roberts, K. M., & Valelly, R. (2019). The Trump presidency and American democracy: A historical and comparative analysis. Perspectives on Politics, 17(2), 470-479.
Marley, P., & Alfaro, M. (2022). Noted: Biden raises concern about those who won’t concede after losing. The Washington Post. Web.
Montanaro, D. (2022). Americans have increasingly negative views of those in the other political party. NPR. Web.
Pew Research Center. (2020). In views of U.S. democracy, widening partisan divides over freedom to peacefully protest. Pew Research Center. Web.
Pew Research Center. (2018). The public, the political system and American democracy. Pew Research Center. Web.
Schaeffer, K. (2022). On July Fourth, how Americans see their country and their democracy. Pew Research Center. Web.
Stuckey, M. E. (2020). “The power of the presidency to hurt”: The indecorous rhetoric of Donald J. Trump and the rhetorical norms of democracy. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 50(2), 366–391.