I want to first start this off by saying that this post isn’t about minority races or ethnic groups, this about the very small portion of Americans who control vast amounts of wealth and political power. This blog post is based on Chapter XV in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.
America, since it’s creation, has been a safe haven for equal rights and liberties among it’s people. Citizens of America have been guaranteed the unalienable rights such as Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Declaration of Independence and these Rights were eventually guaranteed in the Constitution for every citizen in our country. Obviously there is still concern in the nation over social oppression of minority groups and women however every citizen of the United States at this moment has the right to vote and impact the direction of the government. Even with the equal voting rights provided to all Citizens, there has been a concern over Tyranny of the Majority since the inception of the U.S. Constitution. In Tocqueville’s writings, Tyranny of the Majority is described as, “that the interests of the many are to be preferred to those of the few.” In a pure democracy, I could see this being the case since the majority always wins out just by sheer numbers alone but with the American democracy, our representatives are supposed to look out for the well being of all Americans. I’d argue that American democracy in practice should be an ultimate defense against tyranny of any kind, yet there is clear evidence that there is tyranny in America…
What do today’s American’s and historians view as majority within America? The correct answer demographically would be white Americans (very evenly split on gender). Anyone with some knowledge of the U.S. population could have guessed this so what’s the point? Well let’s look deeper, what would be the political majority within America? The answer would be white men but once again this isn’t surprising (but it is unfortunate from a social standpoint). The 115th Congress of the U.S. consists of approximately 20% minorities and women while the rest fall into the aforementioned category of white men. From an outsider looking in, there is clear evidence that America is run by white American’s, mostly men and one could argue that this is tyrannical in nature. While all signs point towards a racial majority ruling America, I’d argue money and those who have it are the biggest culprits of tyrannical oppression within America.
Here is a long passage from Tocqueville that does not hold up in today’s America, “When an individual or a party is wronged in the United States, to whom can he apply for redress? If to public opinion, public opinion constitutes the majority; if to the legislature, it represents the majority and implicitly obeys it; if to the executive power, it is appointed by the majority and serves as a passive tool in its hands. The public force consists of the majority under arms; the jury is the majority invested with the right of hearing judicial cases; and in certain states even the judges are elected by the majority. However iniquitous or absurd the measure of which you complain, you must submit to it as well as you can.” The bold text from the quote assumes that the majority always wins out when they all vote a certain way. Majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton and yet she lost, majority of Americans are political moderates yet majority of the legislative branch have politically extreme ideology, and majority of Americans do not support the current president, however he still is declaring executive orders that are going seemingly unchecked through the courts and legislative branch. A minority of Americans essentially controls the political agenda of the whole country, with career politicians at the tops of both major parties dictating how OUR representatives should vote. Whenever other politicians (whistle blowers or moderate congressmen and women) call out this behavior, those with money fund campaigns to oust potential threats to party ideology and replace these spots with more obedient politicians. It’s a vicious cycle of those with money funding those with power to make sure the rich minority is represented over the general population of the U.S. Until the day where groups like the NRA have less impact on gun control then 60% of Americans who support more gun legislation, or large corporations no longer have authority over climate change legislation which 70% of Americans believe is a problem, then America will continue to be oppressed by a small, but vastly powerful minority.
Quotes from book
Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America
Congress Demographics source
Climate Change info
Gun Control infor