Just imagine, that Plato will resurrect from his tomb in Athens, to ask his fellow Athenians about the best democratic state to live in. And they show him the path to the United States. He will get there, only to find out that the commander in chief of their armed forces is the President. Or Aristotle will have the chance to live for five more years on earth, to witness how apathy and tolerance have become the last virtues of this civilization. Let us also imagine how Hitler will feel when he resurrects to see young American men carrying his banners and shouting his slogans in the streets of Charlottesville, Ferguson, and so on claiming to be losing their country to aliens? Or what will be the response of Karl Marx, when he gets the chance to witness how his tenets have torn Sub-Saharan Africans apart, all in the name of freedom and democracy? And I don’t how many books on democracy, could have been written by Henry Kissinger if he happened to focus on American mass politics. I am not sure, either that the American founding fathers could have still wished to maintain the same articles in their constitution for this meltdown politics.
And witnessing how people gather in an ultra-modern fashioned chamber, speaking and debating issues on debts and borrowing in a bizarre language to the people they claim to represent; Locke’s treatise on African government could have been, if not provocative, surpass all polemical accounts ever written in history. Or maybe Cato’s resurrection could be better; because it would be refreshing for us to know how mere elections were able to characterize a democratic feature in the Roman republic. Even if he can explain, which I doubt. He wouldn’t be able to read and analyze all the works of Montesquieu, Locke, and Hobbes to understand how separation of powers, in a constitutional republic, can be forged into checks and balances as a tool for an ideal democracy will within the blink of an eye, turn into a vast imperial government with endless gruesome ambitions abroad.
Because he, the Cato himself, couldn’t live to witness how Caesar turned Rome into a vast empire in the hearts of a strong and well-fortified republic.
Ancient Athens, the beacon of ancient democracy will never like the United States; being the beacon of modern democracy. But imperial Rome will see the United States as one of their own; both in monuments and mechanisms of governance. They will have lots of memories to share after seeing Capitoline Hill and feel more comfortable with ideas and propositions being drawn and executed in the Oval Office and the two legislative houses. So, if all these notions and the thought of it are true, then the concept of democracy and its governance must be revisited.
Democracy, at heart, isn’t suffering from nostalgia, neither is it hoping for a pristine past. It is still waiting for politicians to stop making it appear in disguise. The constant propensities and its usage as an iron curtain for imperial ambitions have rendered it exhaustive both in theory and practice. Almost as if democracy is a binding principle, any reverberation of an ideal government, since the end of the Cold War has touched and felt the maxims of democracy. Yet, such strict adherence had failed to yield the results it dreamt of. And as if the woes of the world and the blood-soaked politics in the 20th century were coming to an end, the third wave of democratization exaggerated and coined by Samuel Huntington was preached as an end to a holy crusade. The resonance of this myth was able to exhaust all the inks in the pens of Fukuyama as he couldn’t hold on by saying it is the end of history. Only to be caught under Trump’s uprising 26 years later, in a book he sub-titled; the demand for dignity and the politics of resentment.
Torn between hypocritical prestige and complacent political doctrines, the United States, whether they will still claim to be the beacon of democracy or not will be determined by unimaginable ends of their ultra-polarized and division-prone politics. The Ancient Athenians, shouldn’t be put in the hays of democracy, neither should they be the benchmark for it. Just like the United States, they neither had proof for it nor were able to prevent the spoils of it. Democracy, in the lands where slave and women suppression had been championed, has failed to preserve its values to any government that gets stuck by mass politics and imperial ambitions. In the 1960s they tried to escape the true fate of a republic, but constant Vietnam war protests and the civil rights acts propelled them to repeat the history of the roman republic. Now they want to run away from democratic turmoil. They are being caught up in the history of their cultural and ethnic integration.
The ambivalence of populism and identity politics and the paradoxes of constitutional republics and parliamentary democracies cannot escape the plaques of the democracy given by the United States as a thanksgiving token for the end of the Cold War. All the nations, swayed by this mythical concept of democracy from Washington must prepare to dine on the same table with the United States for the sweet meals of racial resentments and nationalist-populist upheavals. If the third wave of democratization was a messianic type of governance, and every nation who borked them was demonized and blacklisted from the catalogs of peaceful nations, then those who led the crusade must tell us why a sitting president will lead an insurrection to the heart of their government. Those crusaders must explain to us; what Hitler’s Nazism and Mussolini’s Fascism are doing in their domestic politics.
The ambivalence of populism and identity politics and the paradoxes of constitutional republics and parliamentary democracies cannot escape the plaques of the democracy given by the United States as a thanksgiving token for the end of the Cold War.
The question shouldn’t be about how the United States began and ended up like this. It should be about how the spoils and the woes of democracy can independently be dealt by nations who first didn’t know much about it.
As the world gets too globalized, China has given us a gist on how a population of more than 1.4 billion people can develop and build a nation without democracy. Of course, China’s communist-style economy and politics are too early to be vindicated. But America’s resonated democracy, from what has been transpired over the few years is too late for a probe. A democracy that couldn’t prevent Brexit. A democracy that couldn’t prevent Trump from going to the Oval office. A democracy that couldn’t save Africa from slavery, hunger, poverty, and colonial oppression. A democracy that couldn’t bury Nazism and Fascism in the graves of Hitler and Mussolini. A democracy which couldn’t handle White nationalist and supremacy uprisings, Black lives Matter protests, and Antifa brutalities. How can this democracy be trusted? Or we should continue theorizing and thinking about it in abstract? In the first place, why are we still pondering ourselves with a single type of government, whose ideal practice has never been realized, and the theorizations of it have always been done by slave owners and those who never thought of women’s emancipation?
Of course, China’s communist-style economy and politics are too early to be vindicated. But America’s resonated democracy, from what has been transpired over the few years is too late for a probe.
If racial resentment and identity politics will continue to plague American politics, if Europe will continue to lament on cultural identities and immigration for Brexit to be vindicated, then China’s politics and culture, will attain proper attention. It is true that democracy is burning, but what are the fuels of it? Deep capitalism and neo-liberal economic policies have segregated the Western world in an anxious and suspicious manner more than ever before. Through political demagoguery, racial resentment, melting pots of cultural and religious integration are incited like angry zombies. In the United States, few chaos and murderous acts contain more racial upheavals. Poverty and hunger are eating up the social endeavors of the Black people in Africa. Their anger and feeling of oppression have precipitated in their socio-economic lives more than that of the anti-colonial era. These fuels are energized across all self-acclaimed democratic states.
Let change the government is the same old story while the problems get worse. Because the institutions of it have no ideas to amass solutions. In America, everyone is having an ideology (liberal or conservative. Socialist or capitalist). In Europe, everyone is having a unique culture and religion. In Africa, everyone belongs to a distinct tribe. So, we all have something to prove; we are our own benchmarks. Hence, collective thought and ideas from philosophical conceptions seem useless to our discourse. Social media and websites have intensively fumed this segregation. Everyone is oriented to his or her own search preferences through systematic algorithms. We are strongly inclined to like-minded values without any hesitation for resisting opposing views. Mass politics and segregated politics are done with ease. Partisan-based politics can be done both in reality and virtual. Riots and chaos are mostly orchestrated through social media groups, with resentful videos and raged messages.
Democracy, even in its ideal state; destroys itself. And yet nations are satisfied and were too confident in the pseudos’ and quasi’s of it. Apart from Africa, any nation that joined the third wave of democratization must prepare to suffer the woes of it. In the case of Africa, their colonial missions were incomplete, total freedom wasn’t attained, the self-government they chattered was quickly shunned and destroyed. Hence, they will suffer, both within the melting pots of democracy and another wave of liberation; this time from their own leaders.
The enemies of democracy are our besties, and the friends of it have been shunned and buried. This is our portion of history and the share of our politics. Democracy is yet another immature being and a fuelless machine. Are we matured and fueled enough to make it work? Or our side of immaturity makes it more stupid? We shall, in any case, be judged by history.
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