March 15, 2007 - Issue 221
American Democracy: A Legacy Of Hypocrisy And Deceit
By Larry Pinkney
It has been accurately said that, "America Is Like A Melting Pot - The People At The Bottom Get Burned And The Scum Floats To The Top." Perhaps, nothing is more indicative of this in the 21st century than the insipid manner in which the institutions of white America continue to reinvent the myth pertaining to America's birth and concomitant democracy.
The fact of the matter is that the expression 'American democracy' is in itself a contradiction in terms, for had there been American democracy on this continent the United States of America, would never have come into existence. To deny this fact is to deny the obvious.
Despite white America's ongoing collective denial of the obvious, the foundation of the United States of America is genocide, brutal and massive slavery, and most notably deceit; all of which are the antithesis to any serious or real application of democracy. The Ku Klux Klan, White Citizens Councils, John Birch Society, Neo-Nazis and Minute Men are not some mere antidemocratic American aberrations; they are in fact integral to the perpetuation of America itself. Likewise, the American infliction of human suffering at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo for example, is not American aberration; it is part and parcel of the American norm - an ongoing, perpetual cycle of deceit and torture - all in the name of a nebulous, nonexistent democracy. This is but a reflection of the physical and cultural pillage and decimation by white America of the indigenous so-called "Indian" peoples and the slavery, lynchings, and the current 21st century slave plantations in America known as "prisons"; where more Black, Brown, and Red - men, women, and children are incarcerated than anywhere else on earth.
An open secret that America has always known is that democracy for the few, is no democracy at all. In the 21st century, as the trappings of America's decaying, greedy corporate capitalist system begin to negatively impact even some white Americans, it remains to be seen as to how many more John Brown's, Frank Little's, or Viola Liuzzio's might yet come to fruition. Yet, one thing is crystal clear: America's powerful sometimes blatant - sometimes subliminal - message to whites continues to be, 'Even if you're poor, getting poorer, have very little formal education, and no health insurance - at least you're white!' While the age old de facto message to Black folks remains, 'Lighten up and think white by ridiculing, emasculating, and distancing yourself from the Black liberation struggle, or die!' In this context, the word 'democracy,' as used by American politicians, pundits in the US news media, and its many institutions, is nothing more than a cruel and demeaning hoax. For Black people and other people of color, such 'democracy' is cultural - and ultimately physical - genocide.
Often used catch phrases such as 'the national American conscience' are absurd, as America has never had a conscience, national or otherwise. To grasp how utterly ridiculous and contradictory the very notion of 'American Democracy' is, a brief historical look at what makes America - America, is in order.
The name 'America' is a misnomer and was derived from the European Amerigo Vespucci; as such is an affront to the legacy of millions of indigenous peoples whose home and land this was, long before the coming of the deceitful and land grabbing Europeans. Moreover, the indigenous peoples of what are now commonly known as the continents of North and South 'America,' already had their own names for this land that they cherished and respected, well prior to the disastrous arrival en mass of Europeans, whose God approvingly smiled upon their subsequent systematic decimation of the Red peoples and the brutal enslavement and dehumanization of Black people - all in the name of the 'Manifest Destiny,' and democracy. To reiterate: Democracy for the few is no democracy at all. As Black slave rebellions were bloodily and ruthlessly suppressed in 'the America's,' many white men and women slave holders were enjoying their 'democracy', as were, to a lesser degree, even those whites who weren't direct human property owners, but nonetheless enjoying precious color privilege, which continues unabated in the 21st century, to the enormous detriment of Black and other people of color.
Only euphemistically can the United States of America be accurately described as a democracy, and euphemism has little to do with reality. America is not a democracy. It is a nation of endless hypocrisies.
America's hypocrisy and deceit is today visible on every level of existence, both nationally and internationally, from assassinating Black American leaders and then hypocritically placing their images on US postage stamps (as if America honored and respected them) - to having historically directly or indirectly invaded Mexico, Cuba, Vietnam, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, and an endless list of other nations around the world, to the present where America foments coups and unending blood shed, all in the name of a 'democracy' which America itself does not have or practice within its own stolen borders.
Without the virulent arsenal of hypocrisy and deceit there would be no United States of America. America's actual nonexistent democracy, like Frankenstein's monster has been transformed into somehow having supposedly become the self-touted bastion of democracy. It is a nation that has engaged in genocide and slavery but stubbornly refuses to pay reparations to its Black victims or their descendants. Even European nations paid reparations to each other for their atrocities, albeit often with the loot of the ill gotten gain from the colonialism and ongoing neocolonialism - most notably of and from the African continent. The United States of America however, which was built upon, and exists due to, the slave labor, dehumanization, and mass murders of Black people, remains in the 21st century in racist and stalwart refusal to pay reparations to the Black victims of its so-called 'democracy.' As Dr. Robert L. Brock, the father of the contemporary Black reparations movement in the United States stated, "Blacks touched the United States by being brought here without a passport, immigration papers and consent. But they were brought over the ocean, which is admiralty law. Admiralty law is international law. Blacks' rights lie in international law." [Reference ABA Journal / The Lawyers Magazine, November, 2000, article entitled, 'Repairing The Past.'] The US contempt for human rights and international law did not begin with Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. It can be traced to the African holocaust consisting of at least 100 million deaths of Black slaves and millions more who labored under the most despicable and dehumanizing form of slavery ever devised - that which resulted in the building of the United States of America. Any real democracy would have long ago equitably addressed the matter of reparations, instead of ignoring this carnage and its affects, and proceeding to incarcerate at ever increasing stunning proportions the descendants of those who built this nation.
Black people know only too well that corporate greed, racism and capitalism do not serve our interests or those of humanity as a whole, nor are they in any fashion representative of real democracy. Moreover, now is not the time to become ensnared by the dangerous and meaningless rhetoric of politicians who claim to be, among other things, the "offspring" of the civil rights movement and/or the Black liberation struggle - but who in fact are the opportunistic beneficiaries of it. Now is however the time, especially for Black America, to redefine its role and to seriously and consciously shape an independent Black political thought which translates into independent Black political, economic, and social action for the 21st century. At stake in this is our very survival and that of the planet.
Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.