For those who only retain a passing interest in the current affairs of the US, they may well be aware of a certain level of hostility that presently exists between the government and its citizens. As online and television media continue to report the closing of schools, budget cuts and a continual rise in poverty across the southern belt line of the country, it is easy to assume that the nation is currently trapped in a cycle of slow economic growth and increasing social frustration.
However, to those who keep their finger pressed firmly against the pulse of US developments, there is a growing impression that the nation is faced with one of the most challenging sets of domestic circumstance in its recent history. Given the US states efforts to integrate cultures and reduce a debilitating national deficit simultaneously, they are faced with difficult confrontations with several factions of society, each with their own concerns about the future of the country and its direction.
The Perils of Contemporary Democracy
While some of these concerns are valid, others appear to be based on ill considered or disagreeable values, and herein lies the significant battle that democracy is forced to wager on a regular basis. Each individual or section of society has an audible voice, afforded to them by the privileges of democratic rule, and this remains intact regardless of the validity or potential consequence of their assertions. With the country in a seemingly permanent state of transition, this state of affairs is likely to worsen before it begins to foster the society it desires.
It is an unfortunate consequence of democracy that its liberal nature and principles are often abused or unappreciated by its subjects, and ultimately makes the concept far more confrontational that it is designed to be. It should stand as the governing ethos of choice for any society, but over time the privileges it affords can breed unreasonable expectations and demands, leading to swathes of unnecessary protest and anarchy when legislation is passed that does not meet these requirements.
Subsequently, the longer that a country is ruled by democratic principles, so too the freedom that it affords becomes undervalued and taken for granted within society. This makes it harder for a regime to rule and maintain an equilibrium amongst its subjects, as each expects their voice to be heard and understood before the approval of new bills and legislation. As an ideal this is a wonderful concept, but it does not take into the account the vast differences of opinion and priority that subsist within a society. that promotes freedom of speech and thought.
The Economy as a Democratic Consideration
Although these issues are beyond the governments control, there are other actions of their regime that have not been blameless in cultivating the current social climate. This particularly applies to the recent global recession and its subsequent recovery, which have left a vast financial deficit for officials to reduce accordingly. While the US state and lending organizations have been criticized for their failure to head the portents of the recession in the first instance, there is also some consternation at their spending policies during periods of fiscal growth.
The premise of this is that governments tend to spend liberally during financial opulence, only to be forced to make vast reductions once they encounter economic hardship. This can be seen through the current proposals and protests throughout 10 states in the US, as public sector workers show their contempt for legislation that would reduce their benefits and impinge their collective bargaining rights. Rather than moderate spending in line with a consistent and considered budget, the government are promoting their own cycle of boom and bust by modifying their economic plans to suit the circumstances.
A Balance of Rule
This kind of reactive government is only making itself even more vulnerable to hostility, especially in an environment that empowers people and society. Although a democracy aims to please its subjects while doing its best to protect and serve their well being, it also needs to protect itself from attack by spending and managing its finances responsibly. Of course, by doing this, it is not only serving the individual regime but also preserving the core values of democratic rule.
Undoubtedly, the US will survive this difficult period and foster a successful economy while regaining the trust of their citizens, but they will be required to learn the harsh lessons of the current social upheaval. Acts of protest and disgruntlement are a price worth paying for a country that is governed democratically, and the key is for the state not to censor these but maintain a philosophy that promotes balanced and consistent policy.