The United States of America was configured by its founders as a constitutional republic, not a democracy as is commonly misconstrued. A true democracy--from the Greek demos/people and kratos/ power--is a government literally by the people via direct action. It has proven impractical as discovered by the ancient Athenians much to their dismay.
Our constitutional republic intersperses autonomous elected representatives and an executive who can take independent action but are accountable to the populace via elections. They are generally supposed to represent their constituents' wishes. A Supreme Court is supposed to keep everyone honest. Legislative autonomy is further constrained in theory by a system of checks and balances in the form of the three independent branches of government and a selection process designed to incorporate philosophical diversity.
Aye, there's the rub.
Largely as the result of a media-complicit campaign of unprecedented and, in my opinion, largely unfair vilification of the previous Republican administration, combined with an incredible display of voter gullibility, practically any semblance of philosophical diversity presently has been lost in the two elected branches of government. This is a danger not sufficiently appreciated by our founders, who constitutionally protected the press which in those days was fiercely independent and mistrustful of government in general, regardless of who was in power. The prospect of a mainstream media overwhelmingly partisan to one political philosophy was not anticipated.
Although my personal political philosophy is essentially conservative in the belief that past is prologue, it really matters little which ideology--liberal or conservative--is ascendant. Having said that, liberal ideologues do tend more to be elitist. They often consider their ideas to be superior to others, to the exclusion and sometimes vehement suppression of dissent. There often is an "end justifies the means" mentality on the left, which is a truly dangerous concept.
A government where a single militant ideology is in control of all elements of the legislative process, which is presently the case, effectively negates a key element of the checks and balances our founders built into the system. The current incredibly manipulative and underhanded process by which government-run health care legislation is being uni-partisanly rammed down our throats is a classic case in point.
As Lord Acton observed well over a century ago, power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What we are seeing in the political train wreck that is Washington today is nothing less than the legislative destruction of the very nature of our nation, which was forged through centuries of sometimes painful and costly trial and error, certainly not perfect but equally certainly not rotten to the core requiring Phoenixian destruction and re-creation. Incremental change, a cardinal principle built into our system from the beginning, is in the process of being discarded in favor of wholesale reconstruction in blind disregard of the blood, sweat and tears expended in the historical structuring of our society.
The extreme left-wing ideologues presently in control are not content with simply fixing and fine-tuning deficiencies--real or perceived--in a time-tested socio-economic system that is responsible for creating unprecedented prosperity and liberty in the most successful society on earth. Our present political regime is in the frantic pursuit of asserting unprecedented control over nearly every aspect of our lives. We are indeed in the grip of a true elitocracy--an autocratic government of elitist ideologues who consider their ideas superior to all others, especially to those of the unwashed masses--us.
Some have argued that our system is broken. Unlikely as that may be given the lot of the great majority of citizens and our status as the dominant world power, whatever defects may exist do not justify throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
In my view, from a historical perspective our way of life, incorporating at least some degree of personal freedom, and our national security and perhaps our very survival are in deep peril. Absolute power is indeed in the process of irretrievably corrupting this precious land of ours.
As the grateful son of desperately poor immigrants who came here searching for a better life and finding it, I fear greatly for this grand and noble experiment we call the U.S.A. It is to weep.