People gather near the Capitol building during a right-wing rally in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 18, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
BEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) — A recent Monmouth University Poll shows that nearly nine in 10 Americans believe the United States is on the wrong track. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? The overwhelming majority of the people from the world’s most developed country are losing faith in their government and the future of their country.
However, one should not be too surprised. The alarm bell has been ringing for quite some time, warning the only hegemon on Earth that it must make some changes. Unfortunately, the disturbing signs of political polarization, party rivalry, gun violence and racial discrimination have been sluggishly and constantly ignored by the U.S. government.
They should have foreseen it last year when the smoke and flames engulfed Capitol Hill, when the only way Democrats and Republicans could communicate was through violence. False information and inflammatory speeches pervaded the not-so-United States, tearing the already fragmented society apart.
File photo taken on Jan. 6, 2021 shows Capitol Police reacting to the protesters’ invasion at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via Xinhua)
A year after the Capitol attack, the social rift has not yet healed. President Joe Biden delivered his sharpest speech since taking office, slamming former President Donald Trump for his “lack of courage.” Trump immediately held a “Save America” rally, calling Biden “fraudulent” and saying “we will never concede.” The FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month once again made the former president appear in headlines all over the world and led to strife between the two sides, which many believe is another brutal sequel of Democrats weaponizing the bureaucracy against Republicans. As Trump said “I will continue to fight for the Great American People,” we could only expect the American people to face endless party-wrangling and political chaos ahead of the 2024 election.
According to an Axios-Momentive poll, 57 percent of respondents agree that events similar to Capitol riots are likely to occur in the next few years. A growing number of Americans believe that violence will be a prominent feature of American politics. No wonder former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the biggest threat facing America is neither Russia, nor the global pandemic nor a rising China; it is “extreme political partisanship” in Washington, D.C.
They should have foreseen it in the past several months when families wept for their sweethearts who passed away in shootings, when the eyes of girls and women blazed with fury as they lost the right to control their own bodies. Gun violence and abortion are considered to be closely linked with the health, safety and living standards of the American people, especially women and children, but politicians use such issues as life and death as bargaining chips for partisan and personal interests.
People gather during a rally decrying rising gun violence while urging politicians to take action in Washington, D.C., the United States, June 11, 2022. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
Although gun violence in the United States has spiraled out of control, American politicians are still making money from guns. The National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress, especially after mass shootings, to sway legislation and elections. And politicians, in turn, pay them back with votes.
Even the Justices who swear to “administer justice without respect to persons” have betrayed Justitia and turned into followers of politics. As nearly 60 percent of Americans say they disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The Supreme Court has shed all pretenses, telling the world that it has never represented the “Equal Justice Under Law,” nor has it fulfilled the promise it made to the American people, and that it is but a tool to defend the benefits of the two parties through American-style democracy.
They should have foreseen it since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic when the vulnerable struggled to stay alive, when the only thing politicians could do was to blame peers across the aisle and find a foreign scapegoat to pass the buck. The United States has the most medical resources in the world, but it has had more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths, equivalent to the population of Delaware, Rhode Island or Montana.
U.S. national flags fly at half-staff at the Washington Monument to mourn 1 million American lives lost to COVID-19 in Washington, D.C., the United States, on May 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
For many U.S. politicians, the lives of minorities do not matter. The COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths among American Indians were 1.6 times, 3.1 times, and 2.1 times those among whites respectively. And the figures for African Americans were 1.1 times, 2.4 times, and 1.7 times those for whites.
The lives of the elderly do not matter. As of this February, three-quarters of the COVID-19 deaths in the country were among people aged 65 and over, and 93 percent were people aged 50 and over.
The lives of the young do not matter. More than 250,000 children have been orphaned by COVID-19 in the United States. For every two COVID-19 deaths, one child loses a caregiver. What else can we expect from a country that disregards the lives and welfare of its own people?
In its history, the United States has survived one crisis after another. For some, recent challenges and crises will fade away eventually just as before and they will be living the American dream again. However, for many others, the American dream turns out to be an illusion because parties no longer represent the people and American democracy no longer works for people.
(The author is a commentator on international affairs, writing regularly for CGTN, Global Times, Xinhua News Agency, etc. He can be reached at [email protected])
(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)