Veiled in Democracy by the Stars and Stripes
By Nelson Lau
13 Mar 2008
As an outsider looking in, the concept of democracy in the U.S is a peculiar one. In a nation that prides itself in its patriotism, pledging allegiance to the high ideals that the stars and stripes represent, the political process demonstrates a distinct lack of respect for the very essence of democracy itself.
WIth the current Democratic race for the Presidential nomination, many in the Clinton camp cry foul that the rules can not be changed midway into the game, but the fact of the matter is that these rules are, at their core, undemocratic to begin with; clearly, a process that allows a so-called elite group of super-delegates to effectively veto the collective voice of millions of people is fundamentally flawed. Granted, Obama may also have cried foul if he were in Clinton's shoes, but with the losing position that she will inevitably find herself in, by pursuing the votes of the super-delegates to win her nomination she effectively demonstrates a lack of respect for the democratic process.
And that is not even mentioning the enormously influential effects the oil and pharmaceutical industry lobby groups have over elected officials purely by virtue of the power of their money. One person one vote, or rather, one dollar one vote?
Seeing such lofty ideals of the stars and stripes through the blurry haze of rose coloured glasses may bring comfort and a feeling of moral superiority to many, but as Jasper Johns does so adeptly with "Flag" (MoMA) and invites us to look closer, the flag quickly loses its lustre, exposing the hyporcisies of an ideological system that is so often filled with empty rhetoric.