American Democracy: a Real Democracy or Hidden Oligarchy?

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American Democracy:
A Real Democracy or Hidden Oligarchy?

The United States was founded with the intent that class distinction and rigid social structure were the things left behind in the old world. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness were the basis that created the American dream from the very beginning. The state where people face promise of political democracy, wide range of civil liberties, opportunity for economic prosperity, and equality between each and every citizen. “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” was the belief that led the Founding fathers away from oligarchy and self-managing systems. But today, the politically powerful and wealthy dominate our society, economy, and government. The powerful minority or the social class has never been more distinct and disturbing in the American society than it is now. The nation is divided not only by partisan politics, culture, race, religion, and age, it is divided by what we do or what we have – or do not have. Political, business, and academic elites have embraced the vision of the world that supersedes our mere nation with the only goal of making money and power, erasing the middle class, and crating a proletariat deprived of economic opportunity, fair wages, and voice in Washington D.C. But is that a true state of democracy that United States of America has built on or it’s just a façade that induces passive acceptance of the elite rule? The media, education system, campaign industry, and government leaders constantly shape the American politics changing it to a form, far more different than the democratic theory, a form also known as oligarchy.

"Rule by the people"
Democracy is a complicated concept. It is not just a structure of government, or electoral politics, democracy is “politics with purpose” (Oakes, pg. 491). The people should have input on how their government is run and their rights of “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” should be protected by the government. William E. Hudson in his American Democracy in Peril gives four models providing definitions of democratic politics. Protective, Developmental, Pluralist, and Participatory democracies are connected with the main idea of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”. It appears that one of the biggest challenges that democracy faces is that no one can agree on what it means and what conclusions and concepts can be drawn from these four models. They are historically involved to establish and maintain democratic regimes. However, there is no authoritative blueprint for how democracy can be achieved. Perhaps, all models assume that democracy means popular rule or government based on popular sovereignty and subject to popular control. According to William Hudson, the American democracy can be considered to be the Pluralist model among the four. Americans are mistaken to equate governmental separation of powers to democracy. In the last couple of years the separation between branches of the government, particularly between Congress and Presidency, has decreased the capacity of Americans to control their government. The authors of the constitution erected barriers that overcome the “antimajoritarian bias” (pg.34, Hudson), but nowadays, as Philip Greens says in his Rethinking Democratic Theory: The American Case, the majority rule produced perpetually stalemated government that cannot be controlled by the people. As a Pluralist model of democracy, the American politics have changed through the time of 17 and 18th centuries. How much power should the church influence on the state? Where is the balance between personal freedom and interests of the state? How much regulation of religion should government impose? Is that a democracy or Americans are still embroiled in the same controversies that have raged from the earliest days of the Holy Roman Empire and have no longer power over the decisions taken that lead their lives. In the United States,...
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