The following letter was sent to the Post-Crescent on April 14, 2008. It was published in the April 20 edition:
President Bush has said that promoting democracy will be “a focus of American policy for decades to come.” But if his Iraq policy is any indication, he either doesn’t know what democracy is or has intentionally made the term meaningless. And he isn’t alone — our government has been paying lip service to democracy while undermining it for decades.
Through the CIA and underground funding, America has rigged elections, assassinated democratic leaders that disagreed with American policy and has made every effort to suppress the chattering masses (read: the voting majority). Henry Kissinger stands out as being particularly repulsed by the thought of democracy. After electing the populist Salvador Allende in 1973, Kissinger said of Chile that “its people are irresponsible”. Allende was quickly overthrown (coincidentally September 11).
True democracy is anti-occupation, anti-empire and anti-capitalist. Bush has announced that we will leave Iraq, supposedly sovereign, when they ask us. Despite the majority of Iraqis wishing us out — voiced in both words and violence — we remain. Yet another instance of promoting democracy by completely crushing it.
We are taught to believe America is the greatest democracy, yet our economy, tax breaks and bailouts are skewed in favor of the wealthy minority. Michael Parenti points out that “the historic purpose of democratic government has been just the reverse, to protect the poor from the rich.” The Greeks saw democracy as when “popular forces mobilize against the power of plutocracy,” not when the rabble is silenced to uphold the power of the few.
When Bush says “democracy” what he really means is the status quo. Our government’s true feelings are laid bare when we call democracy what it is: democracy is socialism and socialism is democracy.