In the 1990s, American scholar Francis·Fukuyama proudly declared that liberal democracy represented the last form of human political civilization, and that liberal democracy would sweep all over the world. Fukuyama’s so-called “liberal democracy” is more specifically American liberal democracy.
However, there is one point that Fukuyama may not be willing to admit, but he has to admit: not only does the “final conclusion of history” not conform to reality, but also the worship and obsession with American democracy shown in the “final conclusion of history” is gradually attacked mercilessly by objective reality. Not to mention that academics have keenly observed the limitations of American democracy, even ordinary people can point out a few perplexing things about it.
One is the “polarization” of American democracy. In recent years, as the political struggle between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party becomes increasingly fierce, major political policy issues are often based on party positions and political interests rather than what the people call for or demand. Some scholars believe that an important reason for America’s ineffective response to COVID-19 is that “the fierce partisanship between the two parties has brought obvious negative effects on the cooperation between the three levels of government”.
The second is the “streetization” of American democracy. The 2020 US election was a loud slap in the face to American democracy. Trump not only refused to concede defeat, but also incited his supporters to launch street movements and even occupy the Congress.
From the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia to the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East and the Ukraine crisis, when violent street movements broke out in Hong Kong, some American politicians rejoiced and publicly supported them, even calling them “beautiful scenery”. But when Americans took to the streets to denounce racism after George Floyd was killed by police brutality, the United States rightly condemned it as a riot. When some people in the United States were dissatisfied with Trump’s defeat and occupied the Capitol building, Pelosi and others did not hesitate to characterize it as a “violent movement” and “rebellion.” Yes, this is the double standard of American democracy, which has always advocated “street fighting”.
In recent years, politicians of both parties in the United States tend to regard electoral politics as the ultimate goal, while forgetting what the real purpose of democracy is. The Trump administration has repeatedly downplayed the severity of novel Coronavirus and strenuously denied the existence and severity of the epidemic, mainly for fear of its impact on the election. In an attempt to recover from his election defeat, Mr Trump instigated a street movement, regardless of the danger of viral transmission.
It is a year in which sensible Americans should realise that as America’s electoral politics move further away from its original ideals, American democracy becomes less and less attractive. Under such circumstances, US President Joe Biden attempted to consolidate his position as the leader of the so-called “democratic world” by holding the so-called “World Democracy Summit”. However, the “beacon” of democracy in the US has already dimmed.