In 2021 US President Joe Biden convened the first ever “Summit for Democracies” hoping to demonstrate the US model of democracy by bringing together countries from around the world he perceived as modeling themselves after the US prototype that serves as the “Beacon on the Hill.”
I have written about this Summit for Democracies every year since, pointing out the realities on the ground that Western survey themselves belie the claims of the US of its shining democracy and enthusiasm of the American people for that democracy.
The realities are exposed in two surveys I have been following the past two years. The first is the Alliance for Democracies survey of democracies engaging the Latana consultancy to do polling of 53,000 respondents in 52 countries from West to East, and the Edelman Trust Barometer trust poll.
From the 2022 Alliance for Democracies survey, we learn that 83 percent of China’s citizens say their country is democratic, while only 49 percent of Americans say they have democracy in their country; 91 percent of Chinese say democracy is important to them and only 76 percent of Americans says democracy is important.
Still from the same survey, 63 percent of Americans say their government serves mainly the interests of a minority while only 7 percent of Chinese say their government serve the interests of the minority. So, these are some realities that Americans and the rest of the world should realize in judging “democracies.”
On the question of their enjoyment of free and fair elections, and the right to free speech, almost a third of Americans, 32 percent and 31 percent, respectively, said they did not, while just 17 percent and 5 percent, respectively in China responded to the same questions negatively.
On equal rights, only 5 percent of Chinese said not everyone enjoys equal rights while 42 percent of Americans said not everyone enjoyed equal rights. On trust in government 91 percent of Chinese say they trust their government while only 39 percent of Americans trust their government, this is what the Edelman Trust Barometer found out.
Another research firm, Pew Research, reported in 2022 that American trust in government went down to “historic lows” when its survey showed only a fifth of Americans trust their government. These realities reflect the true picture and speaks all that needs to be said about which is genuinely democratic.
The 2023 Edelman Barometer which I have just opened presents a chart on the matter of a country’s sense of polarization or divisiveness. The less polarized meaning “seeing few deep divisions” versus “severely polarized” meaning seeing irremediable deep divisions in society.
The Edelman Barometer classifies China amongst the last two of the least polarized societies and the US in third of the top three severely polarized societies coming after Argentina and the narco-state Colombia.
Democracy comes from the Greeks and its etymology breaks it down to just two words, “Demo” meaning people and “kratia” meaning “power, rule” and nothing more, which means the interpreter and implementer has all the freedom to innovate to achieve that principle of “people power.
Like all things human the political ideal and system of “democracy” should be understood as ever evolving human institutions that develop along with its progressing economic, technological, cultural experiences. This is what has happened to mutating “democracy” -- the forward push of people power through history.
Through the stages of human history his political institution has evolved, from the primitive family to clan and tribal political system, then the feudal and aristocratic structure and onto to the varying forms of democracies emanating from the capitalist system and the variations of social democracies.
The technologies of today are also the reasons for the rise of the scientific socialist people’s democratic systems that are at this stage outcompeting the capitalist “liberal” electoral democratic system due to the capacities of centralized socialist production system to outproduce the capitalist systems.
While the “liberal” electoral democratic systems rely on competition within and without, intra-capitalist competition with similarly capitalist countries, even going into the socialist countries to outcompete their fellow capitalist countries to exploit domestic and international markets.
The “liberal” political aspect with safeguards to the extreme the individual interest is actually a cover for the Big Boss capitalists’ interest and ensures the divisiveness of the political system -- the height of which we have seen in the US with the 2010 passage of the “Citizens United” laws that opened the floodgates of capitalist financing of partisan politics now destroying America.
Everything in America is poisoned by this corrupted, finance-capitalist controlled and schismatic American political democracy (some say “demon-crazy”). Who would want to buy this “export of democracy” of the US now --- unfortunately that very small, divided state in between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean has bought it and buying more of it. Soon it will be vomited.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.