While addressing the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama called for building up civil society. He said “when people are free to speak their minds and hold their leaders accountable governments are more responsive and effective.”
The story in the U.S., since the Spanish-American War (1898), has been the disconnect between the government and the will of the American people, as well as the lack of accountability for government officials who violate their office. The Obama administration is no exception, having acted unilaterally without Congressional approval, and without UN Security Council approval in bombing targets in Syria. But more importantly, as with past presidents, acting without regard for the will of the American people. This is not to say that that majority is always right, but in the words of Aristotle regarding the “whole”: “to be beautiful a living creature, and every whole made up of parts, must not only present a certain order in its arrangement of parts but also be of a certain magnitude.”
ISIS is evil, but ISIS was created by U.S. foreign policy with help from Saudi Arabia. Evil can’t be overcome with more evil, which is what a unilateral U.S. response amounts to (the U.S. strikes are a sham anyway given Saudi involvement).
After years of being deceived and disregarded, the American people are now too damaged and disconnected from truth and each other to be able to reform their government.
Mr. Obama talked about preserving democracy and keeping Americans safe. But his actions have done the opposite. By anyone’s definition of democracy (an honest person knowing the facts would have to conclude) the democracy experiment in the United States has failed — with the U.S. now acting as a barbarian on the world stage.
Photograph: Stephen Wise