We make the mistake of assuming that all our leaders and lawmakers love democracy, that democracy is their ideal. But some of them don’t believe in it at all. They harbor a belief — which they know they can never express publicly — that democracy doesn’t work because “the little people” don’t deserve a say. The world is only for the powerful and the wealthy who are “blessed by God.” Only they should have the privilege of making the rules.
It comes from white-privileged elitism and also partly from some strands of religious belief. (The wealthy are blessed by God, while poverty is God’s punishment.)
How do we see this? We see this in areas where local and state governments do everything in their power to make voting harder in less affluent and minority communities and easier in affluent and majority communities. Closing polling locations in poor cities and counties, asking for more and more forms of ID which the poor don’t have in abundance as the wealthy do, and so on.
We also see it in a disturbing strain of authoritarianism growing in the US today. The idea of the “leader principle,” espoused by Hitler and the Nazis, that all power should flow from one leader, who is above all other laws and considerations.
We also see it in what happened on January 6.
But here’s an uncomfortable truth: many of our nation’s founding fathers, while they had a hatred of authoritarian rule, also had an antipathy to democracy. Hence the electoral college and other obstacles placed in the way of what they euphemistically called “mob rule.” (In other words, poor people having an equal say as the rich.)
If you think I’m engaging in blasphemy, open a history book and see how our founding fathers put down rebellions after gaining our independence from Great Britain.
For those who say, “We’re a republic, not a democracy,” I reply that a republic is merely one form of democracy, just like Ford is one make of an automobile. Even as the powerful hold aloft the ideals of our republic — freedom and self-determination, some of them hate the foundations of a republic, which is, at heart, democracy.