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  • Writer's pictureAditya Gupta

Musings on Democracy and the Economy: Part 1

I spent the better half of last night reading an engrossing John Grisham on a rogue lawyer in police-state America where corruption and brutality defined the judiciary and law enforcement. Coincidentally, Roe VS Wade was overturned by the extremely right-leaning American Supreme Court. This unsightly coincidence made me think about the state of democracy in today’s world and what the future holds for us. The conclusion was extraordinarily frightening and eye-opening.

I will be frank that being an Indian citizen, the Roe VS Wade decision has little to no effect on either the state of my living or those of my fellow citizens. But, even though the decision of the American Supreme Court applies only within American borders, it will have global implications. Not only does it stand to deepen the political and social turmoil in the largest economy, but it also stands to make our fight for greater global democracy more vulnerable and lonely. The decision of the Supreme Court has effectively stated that even a democracy like America is no better than the African nations. I actually believe that is not true. Instead, what’s true is that it has made America much worse than even the Sub-African nations because those nations are at least making a dedicated effort to improve democracy by, for example, improving abortion rights for women.

America was born out of a desire for freedom amongst a section of Britishers who settled in the Americas to escape the constraints of the conservative British laws and society. While, yes, what ensued with slavery and the oppression of blacks was not in the spirit of democracy, the country did, in time, become a representative of democracy as was initially envisioned. The country matured with age, and with that maturity came the respect and power to influence good in this world. There is no heir apparent to America's role in the world presently. It is the protector of Europe, the home to Silicon Valley, and the birthplace of modern capitalism. Up until last week, it was also a representative of democracy. No country can match either of these attributes because no one government wields the influence, strength, or money America does. China was on track to achieve all three, but recent political and socio-economic missteps have hurt their chances. Even then, we shouldn’t underestimate China as they have a way of springing back. They certainly have the strength and somewhat of an influence to make this comeback. But, let’s not worry too much about China for now. There is far bigger fish to fry.

Democracy as we know it is under more threat than ever. With Trump’s flavour of political extremism overruling the sensibilities of the Republican party, we can expect an astonishingly polarised American people and legislature to lead the way forward for the country we all rely on. Abortion rights are the start of a long battle with democracy which the Republicans intend to make all about their religious and conspiracy sensibilities. Still, I don’t care about that as much as I care about the message such political activity will send worldwide. With Russia intent on the destruction of democracy in Ukraine and China’s in Hong Kong and Taiwan, we need a democratic and undivided America to protect the vulnerable people. Europe has little military might of its own and far too many mounting problems at home to worry about battles across Asia and Africa. Asia doesn’t have anyone with military capabilities strong enough to go head to head with Russia or China. The last thing we need right now in such trying times is an America that is walking down the disastrous path laid down by Trump in his term in office. He hailed the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe VS Wade, did not condemn the Ruso-Ukraine war, and continues to influence large swaths of his party to make decisions that violate the very tenets of democracy.

I hope the country wakes up to the threat Trump poses to the American people and the world. We cannot see Trump or his cronies in office after Biden because he would only promote more mayhem like the Ukraine war, decisions like the one to overrule Roe VS Wade, and actions that undo Biden’s work of regaining America’s lost power and influence globally, especially in the crucial continents of Asia and Africa. The world is too socio-economically, politically, and geopolitically fragile to withstand the decoupling of America from the world. This is precisely what Trump had endeavoured throughout his term in office: to promote an America First, America Most and America Darkest vision for the country. We cannot have an America that only thinks about itself and not about the world at large.

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