Is the United States Really a Democracy?
Here are some things to consider when thinking about democracy, the United States, and the world we live in. Every day over 20,000 people die from starvation (a statistic from the UN). Meanwhile, one third of people in the U.S. fight obesity. Along the same lines, every minute 30 children die of hunger and inadequate healthcare, while the world spends millions of dollars on war. In the U.S., the government continues to spend close to a trillion dollars each year on the military budget, even though the U.S. has been the most heavily armed country in the world and the world’s biggest weapons dealer for years!
Is this a democracy? Is this what we vote for? Do we really have a voice? And, who really controls the elections in a so-called democratic country?
Where does democracy come in with regard to who owns resources, the treasures of the earth? In some unreleased lyrics I have written I explain, “In a system where food, water, and land has a price/One day they’ll charge you just to breathe the air in your life/It’s the price of not fightin the elite/we gettin beat/it’s our water, our food, our land, our street/they tell us they own it – then they tell us to vote/but takin action in the street and not votin’s my hope/on the whole we never vote – or get to take a poll/on the force they used to take resources they stole.”
In other words the question is, who voted on who got the right to own water, food, and land and who can profit off it while everyone else pays? Don’t these resources come from the earth and belong to all the earth’s people and not just multinational corporations like Nestle, Deer Park, Hershey, and others that get insanely rich from them? (By the way, the five major labels in hip hop – yes there are only five major labels – are all owned by multinational corporations, which, if you think about it, explains a lot about mainstream hip hop.)
Many people are currently putting all of their faith in Obama, but Obama has not changed the grim reality we have faced for hundreds of years. He has also continued the war in Afghanistan that Bush began. On top of that, he is now heading the administration that is dropping bombs on Pakistan (with drones), which have killed many innocent civilians. While he represents a blow to the face of bigotry, he has not changed poverty and other crucial issues in the U.S. When you get to the root of it, it’s not about Bush or Obama, because the president is not the sole force running the country. In actuality, the president is the face of a government and a system. In this system, one percent of the world’s people own two thirds of the world’s resources.
On that note, where does democracy figure into U.S. elections? When only two parties are allowed to debate on television, is this a democracy? When money is the primary way of getting peopleís attention for a campaign, does that constitute a system worthy of being called a democracy? Cynthia McKinney was a fantastic candidate who spoke of these types of critical truths, yet she was virtually silenced by the corporate media and the two corporate parties.
What all of this exemplifies is the reason that people like Cynthia McKinney (and myself) say, “Power to the People!” We oppose the current system of power held by the one percent of people known as the greedy ruling class elite. It also represents just how much this one percent do not want equality. The connection at the root of this is that riches are maintained for a few by keeping many impoverished. Again, why should they own resources that are from the earth and belong to the earthís people?
The mainstream politicians have clearly demonstrated they don’t represent the people, because we want equality and justice, and they refuse to give us this. In a democracy, the elected government is supposed to represent the people’s interests. If they don’t, and the people really want a democracy and a real say over what happens in this world, then we have to fight for it. We need to think not just about elections, but about other efforts such as organizing and taking part in direct actions like the freedom rides, sit ins, strikes for the eight hour workday, union organizing, people like Harriet Tubman, economic boycotts, building occupations, walkouts, etc. In other words, we need to make our voices heard in whatever way possible. I know a lot of people and organizations putting the work in to make our voices heard. In fact, I listed a lot of them and their contact information (including the Green Party) inside my latest CD “Tha People’s Music.”
Furthermore, charity is not the answer to our problems either. Dr. King said “Philanthropy is admirable but it is problematic when it doesn’t address the root causes that make philanthropy necessary.” Charity is too often a band-aid for gaping wounds.
Additionally, religion is too often an ìopiate (sedative) for the masses.î Dr. King was not one to just “leave it all up to God,” either and he said, “Any religion that professes to be concerned with the souls of men and is not concerned with the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a dry-as-dust religion.”
The type of efforts we need require dedication, sacrifice, and patience. We can’t ever give up or be satisfied with relinquishing our power to the elite. That is not a democracy. When people speak of democracy let them know about what this concept really means. We can’t be fooled by what the politicians and mainstream media tell us about democracy in the world. Whatever you do in the struggle for a better system make your voice heard! As Fredrick Douglas said, “Without struggle there is no progress.” Voting and having blind faith in what we are told since we are children in the United States about democracy are not going to help those 20,000 people dying each day from hunger.
Tha Truth is a New Jersey Green and a raptivist (rapper/activist). His latest CD is called ìTha Peopleís Music.î He performed at the 2009 Green Party Annual Meeting in North Carolina and did a lot of work in NJ to help get Cynthia McKinney on the ballot. To listen to Tha Truthís music or for more information visit his website www.thatruthmusic.com