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posted on 12 August 2015

Voting Rights Act, 50 Years Later

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Fifty years ago last week (August 6, 1965), President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting, thus making America a true democracy (i.e. one person, one vote) for the first time, ever!

1. The Voting Rights Act

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Voting Rights Act of 1965:

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.[7][8] It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the American Civil Rights Movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections.[7] Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act resulted in the mass enfranchisement of racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Act is considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.[9]

2. American democracy

America was built as a representative republic, not a democracy (i.e. one person, one vote). For example, when George Washington was elected the first President in 1789, only 6% of the population could vote! For more, read: U.S. voting rights timeline.

Guided by some great founding principles (e.g. human equality), America finally evolved into a true democracy in 1965 (Voting Rights Act of 1965)!

How has American democracy been doing since 1965? It enjoyed a good ride on the back of America's superb capitalism (as well as America’s natural resourcefulness) until the turn of the 21st century, when the bottom fell out. Since then, America has been in a steep decline (Civil Rights Act: 50 Years Later), to the point that it has become questionable whether American democracy will even out-last Soviet communism in longevity (Longevity: American Democracy vs. Soviet Communism)!

Bottom line: Saying democracy works in America today is like saying "communism works in the USSR" in 1960. Yes, communism appeared to be working at that time, but it finally collapsed in 1991 when the Cold War ended! Today, American democracy does not even appear to be working anymore, especially when compared with China, an autocracy instead of democracy (Republic: Democracy vs. Autocracy).

The biggest mistake for many Americans (as well as non-Americans) is to mix democracy with capitalism. They should be separated, as they are independent of each other!

3. Capitalism vs. democracy

Capitalism has proven to be the best thing that has ever happened to mankind. Capitalism creates unprecedented prosperity wherever it is allowed, even in "communist China" ("Communist China", Really?)!

Democracy, on the other hand, is a failed doctrine throughout human history, without a single example of lasting success. Specifically, three points:

  1. Democracy is failing in modern Greece for the same reason it failed in ancient Greece some 2,000 years ago: debt! Many democracies in Europe will inevitably follow Greece to bankruptcy. So will America, eventually.
  2. Democracy seemed to have worked spectacularly in the West for a while, because of the West's superb capitalism, which allowed the West to afford anything and everything, even democracy.
  3. Democracy seems to be failing in the West after the turn of the 21st century for one main reason: China! China transformed itself into a new system called "state capitalism", with autocracy instead of democracy!

It was capitalism that propelled the West ahead of China about 200 years ago (America: What is China, Anyway?). It is capitalism that has lifted some 600 million Chinese out of abject poverty over the past three decades! It is "state capitalism" in China that will eventually win the head-on competition against American democracy, which destroys capitalism!

Bottom line: the image below highlights the key differences between America and China today.

4. Discussion

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 itself is sound - No racial (or gender) discrimination must be allowed in America!

Unfortunately for America, like many other laws with good intention, this law has some serious problems in detail and execution. Two examples:

  1. Voter ID: Why is an ID needed in driving but not in voting?
  2. The minimum voting age: It was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1971, thanks to the Twenty-sixth Amendment, making voting even less serious than drinking!

Still wondering why democracy does not work in America anymore? Wonder not! We have not been trying it, a failed doctrine throughout human history, with reasonable diligence, such as treating it not even as seriously as drinking or driving!

5. Closing

America, reform our political system as I have suggested (Solution for America (Version 3)), or become an also-ran, second to China!

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