The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Democracy is not ‘just fine’

It seems some City College students think the condition of United States democracy is perfect, fine or of no concern. Think again.

From the foundation of the United States, civil rights have been ripped from the hands of the few for the benefit of many.

This country was never a utopia of free giving politicians eager to empower the masses.

It is a fact that a large portion of our country’s early economy was built on the broken backs of African-American slaves.

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The rights of workers, women and minorities have not been gifts given by politicians to people. They are rights that were routinely violated by the government and given only after many struggled, fought and died for what we now enjoy.

Modern threats to democracy and civil rights include “The Patriot Act,” a form of governmental control designed to monitor insurgent activities. Many proponents argue that if you’re not a criminal you have nothing to fear.

However, Cointelpro was a similar legislative act repealing civil rights. It was constructed in 1959 to protect Americans from communist terror.

It was disbanded in 1976 because the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations found, “The internal inspection mechanisms of the CIA and the FBI did not keep-and, in the case of the FBI, were not designed to keep-the activities of those agencies within legal bounds.”

The rush to protect “national security” was used to open a floodgate of illegal investigations, arrests and civil rights violations.

The issue of national security has historically been a primary cause for eliminating citizen’s civil rights. If national security truly meant keeping Americans safe from terrorism, these laws would be more tolerable.

But according to President Warren Harding and President Calvin Coolidge’s Secretary of State, Charles Evans Hughes, “The national interest in a capitalist society is little more than the interest of the upper class.”

It can be reasonably inferred that national security is defined by the security of national interest.

Remember that next time national security is used to sway public opinion.

Finally, we have to swallow the completely undemocratic action the United States has taken in Iraq. Whether one believes that the invasion was righteous, it was incontrovertibly defying a democratic vote.

The United States is a member of the United Nations. Yet, when democratically denied support for invading Iraq by a United Nations vote, our leaders ignored the vote and invaded anyway.

Ironically, we invaded Iraq to erect a democracy after being democratically denied the right to do it.

And in Brazil, 1964 and Chile, 1973, United States influence subverted democracy.

The policies of this country will not change through apathy or blind trust in democracy. Democracy is a living organism that requires the love, care and action of its citizens to prosper.

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