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The United States democracy conundrum

April 22, 2014

United_States_Capitol_-_west_front

 In spite of India being the largest democracy in the world, it is in fact The United States the country to which such a denomination is commonly attributed.  Democracy is viewed and exercised always standing on the premises of power of decision upon others, which can be traced back to the dominant sectors in a society. The word “democracy” has its roots in the Greek and means “power of the people”. But what is the actual opportunity of struggling individuals to exert their will on governmental actions? How far would you go as individual if you knew every truth about your government? Would you compromise your rights? The minute you are done  electing your president, you turn your back and go straight home, hoping that all your troubles will disappear over night, for you don’t know better. Three main events in the 20th century history of the United States depict this democracy conflict: knowing you are a citizen of the most powerful and influential nation against your constitutional rights to condemn it.

Under 16 days of October 1962, the world stood still at the edge of the armageddon when Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution let the soviets display nuclear missiles over the territory of the island. Fidel has just seized power and needed the Soviet Union as his ally, to the dislike of then president of the United States John F Kennedy, who regarded this a serious threat to the nation. All kind of plots against the leader were planned by the CIA, that even recruited members of the american mafia in order to assassinate Fidel, according to recently declassified material. President Kennedy had inherited a agenda created by Eisenhower, the former president, and he was determined to carry it out whatever the consequences, bringing about the Bay of Pigs battle and soon after – the Cuba Crisis. The people of the United States were unaware of the accounts. The reality that the american citizen saw on TV, was a speech on freedom and peace, demonising the Cuban Revolution. All in the name of the fight against communism. How would the common people react to this situation if they knew all alone. No body will ever know.

15 august 1975, a cruel war was ended in Vietnam soon after the capture of Saigon by the communist of the North. The United States has been involved for nearly 10 years, helping the South using massive bombing and what is known as search and destroy operations. The North Vietnamese fought back with a genuine guerrilla tactic and heroic resistance. But the main battle was won by the North not in Vietnam, but right in the backyard of the United States when they turn the public opinion against the government by showing footages of horrendous crimes committed by american soldiers. The US involvement, in the name of anti-communism, was once again, against the will of the american people who finally succeeded in forcing Richard Nixon to bring the war to the end.

15 years later, the Gulf War broke out, this time against the invasion of the Iraqi army lead by the dictator Saddam Hussein. Ignoring the opposition of the american people, president Bush approved the launch of the attack by the american troops. The operation was a success, yet the public opinion in the United States faced the dilemma of democracy vs fight for freedom and peace. Bush lost the next election.

I could choose a number of other events, but these ones has notorious relevance in my generation, specially the Cuba Crisis; which after so many years, is still knocking on my door.

Democracy is a controversial issue, specially in a young nation like the United States. These three major events in the history of America (Cuba Crisis, Vietnam War, Gulf War) exemplifies how far the borders of democracy can be extended and how close a government can get to the people whilst restricting it from the right to know and decide.

Democracy, president, congress and many other types of suprime organisation based on specific individuals have become obsoletes. The advances in technology and social conscience establish the foundation for a better and much more solid concept for government: information as almighty authority, regarding to which every citizen has equal rights to use, and the same obligation to protect.

reference:

– Democracy from Encyclopedia Britannica (http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/157129/democracy)

– Fidel Castro Declassified – History Channel Documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJpAn4J4Xns)

– The Cuban Crisis Declassified – History Channel Documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXTy688XVXc)

– Vietnam War – Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War)

– The Gulf War (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E__CW53-HuI, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46loiHjtYUI)

 

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