If you were to ask most red-blooded Americans if they like democracy, they’d probably say, “Hell Yeah! Give me lots of it and keep it coming!” But is this true? Over decades of observing my fellow Americans and living the American way of life, I have concluded that Americans don’t really like democracy. They like saying they like democracy, but they don’t like democracy, and they don’t practice it in their daily lives. I’ll prove it simply and with good examples. It begins with the postulate that if a person likes something, they’ll keep doing it rather than avoiding it.
Hypothesis: Peanut Butter and Jelly Every Day
I went to school with a guy who ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch. He’d wash it down with Minute Maid fruit punch that he would draw into his mouth while he was chewing the PB&J. Sometimes I could see his teeth mashing the sandwich in the fruit punch. It never failed to nauseate me. After three years of eating lunch with him, I decided that he really liked PB&J sandwiches and Minute Maid fruit punch. That’s what people do when they like something: they keep doing it and doing it.
Let’s pretend American Democracy is a PB&J sandwich. How many Americans like eating it every day? How many Americas are crazy about it?
Like my friend’s eating habits, I say we can tell how much Americans like democracy by going through all the systems we absolutely need to run our society and see how many of them are organized and run like democracies. If democracy is such a great way to manage our way of life, we should see it implemented all over the place.
Are families organized like democracies? Mine wasn’t. Was yours? Did everyone have an equal say? I asked twenty-five people the same question and all answered “no.” Sure, there are progressive families that let their three-year-olds pick the restaurant for New Years Eve, but for the most part families are not democracies. The parents are in charge and the children obey orders. Among the parents there is also a pecking order, with one of the parents holding more authority than the other. So no, families are not usually structured like democracies. They are often authoritarian regimes.
Are schools organized like democracies? Schools have a school board that makes the important decisions, and while the board members are elected, often they are appointed. There is also the hierarchy of the principal, vice principal, teachers, and so on. If a student does something bad, are they sent to the principal’s office or to the janitor’s closet? (although a trip to see the janitor would probably be a more effective method of discipline. “Yeah, go see Steve. He’ll get your life back on track. And tell him to go easy on the wax in the hallway.”)
Hospitals also have a board of directors and president. In addition to the administrative hierarchy, there is sort of a caste system at play with surgeons outranking regular physicians who outrank the nurses who outrank the physician’s assistants who outrank the cafeteria staff who, of course, outrank the janitor. “Damn it, Steve, I told you to go easy on the wax. I just auditioned for Cirque du Soleil trying to get to the colonoscopy center.”
A corporation is the antithesis of a democracy. Yes, even Ben & Jerry’s.
Our government is a democracy, right?
During the 2016 election, many voters were astonished to learn that the popular vote didn’t decide the presidency. “Wait, you mean the electoral college can override the popular vote?” Yes! Surprise, dunderhead!
Churches are not democracies. Churches are pseudo-monarchist institutions that are so Byzantine they’d make the rulers of Byzantium say, “Y’all better calm down.” For more about the underlying anti-democratic workings of churches, see the next section.
Is Heaven a democracy? I think Handel described it best when he wrote, “And he shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” I don’t know if you’ve listened to the whole song, but Handel doesn’t mention a word about voting.
God — and I mean the Judeo-Christian one— is not a president; he is not a member of a heavenly congress; he is not a judge who shares power equally with eight other judges. He is a king. He is the absolute ruler of Heaven and earth, and he doesn’t share his toys with the other kids. He doesn’t seek out a vote of his angelic host before he acts, and we’ve all heard what happened to the group of angels who tried to make Heaven a little more democratic. Why do we insist that people — Christian Americans, who make up 70% of the American population — want a system of government that they themselves consider vastly inferior to the monarchy that God has put in place?
So what exactly do Americans love about democracy? And how would they know? They never practice it!
As I have shown, none of our major institutions are run like democracies, and Heaven itself, which is where everyone wants to go and live forever, is a goddamn kingdom. Even the United States government is not really a democracy. It’s a sort of, kind of democracy. It’s close enough to keep the populace thinking that they’re living in a democracy, but not quite enough to put important decision making in the hands of the masses. A trip to your local Walmart might make you think that’s a blessing.
And what about Jesus? I hate to get specific to one religion, but it’s related to a question I’ve been pondering. Jesus is supposed to return some day, remember? But before he does, suppose the United States finally succeeds in spreading democracy to every country on earth. Then, one week later, Jesus comes down and declares himself king. What will Americans do? You know what they’ll do. They’ll say, “Democracy who?”