America likes to blow the horn of democracy everywhere in the world, letting everyone know they should look to us as a greatest example of what a democracy should be.
And yet we are not even a true democracy at all. We really should stop pretending that we are.
The simplest definition of a democracy is “a form of government in which all eligible citizens are meant to participate equally – either directly or, through elected representatives, indirectly – in the proposal, development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run.”
In theory and intent, and maybe once upon a time, that is what the United States was. But in every practical way, we are nothing of the sort. Let’s start with the fact that a very small percentage of Americans actually vote at all. Granted that is not because they do not have the right, but simply due to apathy or a sense that one vote doesn’t really matter. The truth is, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, voter turnout in the 2012 Presidential election was 57.5%, and Presidential election years are usually the years where we see the most interest in voting as opposed to midterm years. So, at best, just over half the people determine our leadership and laws.