The end of the ongoing American democratic experiment has been predicted many times.
French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in 1831 and wrote the classic book Democracy in America, predicted that the United States would end in tyranny, in a regime similar to that from which the American colonies were liberated.
His view was not validated. That does not mean, however, that the Kassandras have stopped prophesying
Nevertheless, no one can deny that the country is now going through one of its toughest trials, which is shaking it at home and tarnishing its image abroad.
These days are reminiscent of the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, when there was no coronavirus, but when multiple murders of the country's leaders had taken place: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Bobby Kennedy – to name a few.
Today, America is struggling on three major fronts: a new one, the coronavirus, and two old ones, racism and great economic inequality.
America’s failure to deal with the coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, has shocked society.
America was accustomed to leading other countries. It was an example for others to follow and emulate. Now it feels exposed by not having the necessary goods for the protection of hospital staff or sufficient Intensive Care Units, or places for the corpses.
And while the country is slowly opening up, it is facing a deep economic crisis that has left 41 million unemployed – so far – as well as the brutal murder of George Floyd by a police officer. These events, once combined, have made the whole situation unbearable.
The great blight of economic inequality must also be added to this analysis. It has reached its peak in recent years and marginalizes large masses of people – white and black – and has begun to threaten the middle classes.
This, combined with the message sent by the country's leadership, that it is not interested, that it does not understand, that it does not feel its peoples’ pain, and that it does not bear any responsibility, has led to the outburst of anger that we now see.
The President of the country, instead of addressing a sermon to the American people, to reassure them, to sympathize with them, to offer solutions to the problems, is silent – or even worse, he insults them and urges the authorities to attack them.
In fact, according to the New York Times, his bodyguards prompted him to flee on Friday night to the shelter (bunker) in the basement of the White House, which is designed for use during war and terrorist attacks.
On a deeper level, America continues to fight for a "more perfect Union" and to stand for the declaration that "all men are created equal." But right now, America is fighting for her soul.
America is not perfect, but she fights the good fight – and that counts immensely.
Well-meaning people judge America more strictly than other countries because there is a basis for it. Because we expect more from her.
What can anyone expect, for example, from China? Look at what it is doing in Hong Kong. Is anyone surprised? I do not think so.