The irony inherent in democracy

The irony inherent in democracy"Democracy is being killed democratically."



The travails that the U.S. has undergone under almost four years of Donald Trump’s presidency are manifestations of the irony that is inherent in the democratic form of government. Essentially, the irony is that a pseudo-democrat like the 45th president of the U.S. is able to try to destroy his country’s democracy with the use of democratic means.

The events that have transpired in the U.S. since the November 3, 2020 general election and especially the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by Mr. Trump’s supporters are highly illustrative of how democratic means can be used to destroy a democracy. The guarantee of “like, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” provided to every American by the U.S. Constitution ensured that Donald Trump’s supporters, with the Constitutional guarantee of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, could travel to America’s capital and rowdily express their support for the incumbent Chief Executive. 

The freedoms and libertarian presumptions in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights and that basic law’s First Amendment - freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly for redress of grievances, freedom of the press, freedom from arbitrary arrest and presumption of innocence - made it possible for Donald Trump and his rabid supporters to propagate the blatant rigged-election lie, to travel to Washington D.C., to assemble boisterously and subsequently to storm the citadel of American democracy, kill and hurt people and create enormous damage to government prosperity. If the government were able to arbitrarily - without justifiable reason - deny the people these freedoms and libertarian presumptions, the citizenry would not be able utter things critical of the government, travel to join protests, and distribute literature of an oppositionist character, the assault in the U.S. Capitol almost certainly would not take place.

Here lies the irony that I spoke about at the start of this piece. What the world has seen during Donald Trump’s years in the White House, and in particular on January 6, is a four-year-long attempt on the life of American democracy with the use of the means provided by the democratic system of government - in effect, democracy being killed democratically.

This irony is not to be found in the non-democratic system of government. In that system the autocrat or dictator the Dear Leader or The Chairman - are under no pressure to observe democratic and legal niceties. They simply stifle dissent, ban protest assemblies, order critical literature destroyed and arrest and imprison individuals they deem to be oppositionists. 

Dictators and autocrats don’t have to deal with the irony that democratic leaders have to confront: legal prohibitions, human rights laws and Constitutional amendments. North Korea’s Dear Leader Kim Jong-un and China’s Chairman Xi Jinping doubtless have been laughing at twice-impeached Donald Trump behind his back.

The great British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill famously declared “Democracy is the worst possible form of government, except that all the other forms are worse.” It is known that he was not referring to inherent vulnerability to being killed with the use of its own means. But he might as well have been referring to it.

Topics: Donald Trump , U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights , Xi Jinping , Kim Jong Un
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