America’s Broken Democracy

❝ US President Donald Trump’s ravings against the 2015 Paris climate agreement are partly a product of his ignorance and narcissism. Yet they represent something more. They are a reflection of the deep corruption of the US political system, which, according to one recent assessment, is no longer a “full democracy.” American politics has become a game of powerful corporate interests: tax cuts for the rich, deregulation for mega-polluters, and war and global warming for the rest of the world.

❝ Six of the G7 countries worked overtime last week to bring Trump around on climate change, but Trump resisted. European and Japanese leaders are accustomed to treating the US as an ally on key issues. With Trump in power, it is a habit they are rethinking.

But the problem goes beyond Trump. Those of us living in the United States know first-hand that America’s democratic institutions have deteriorated markedly over the last several decades, beginning perhaps as far back as the 1960s, when Americans began to lose confidence in their political institutions. US politics have become increasingly corrupt, cynical, and detached from public opinion. Trump is but a symptom, albeit a shocking and dangerous one, of this deeper political malaise…

❝ …From Trump’s perspective, the highlights of his recent trip abroad were signing a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, berating other NATO members for their supposedly insufficient military spending, and rejecting the pleas of US allies to continue in the fight global warming. Congressional Republicans broadly cheer these frightening policies…

❝ The rest of the world urgently needs to understand America for what it has now become. Behind the formal structures of a once-functioning democracy is a political system run by corporate interests with the cynical aims of cutting taxes on the rich, selling weapons, and polluting with impunity. In Trump, they have found a shameless frontman and TV personality who will do their bidding.

RTFA. Sooner or later, the body of Americans still committed to democracy, free expression and honesty in government will stand up and support politicians who meet their standards. I can’t say the Democratic Party satisfies that ambition anymore now than last year. Individual Democrats and Independents, of course. Here in New Mexico progressive grassroots activism took control of the state legislature away from a Republican Party as dedicated to and controlled by fossil fuel dollar$ as any in the country.

We may be in last place in many social categories by virtue of the poverty inherited from decades of 2-party incompetence. We will continue to demonstrate independence – supporting individual politicians with the courage to reject corporate politics business-as-usual.

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