Our systems are not “broken.” They’re working as intended. They are DELIBERATELY UNFAIR.

People keep saying that our nation’s systems are “broken.”  That is misleading.  They are NOT “broken.”  They are WORKING AS INTENDED!  They are DELIBERATELY UNFAIR!

On issue after issue, politicians, mainstream media, and the general public keep saying that our systems are “broken.”  But if you look at how they are actually functioning — WHAT THEY ACTUALLY DO — and WHAT THEY ARE PREVENTING — and WHO HAS THE POWER and WHO BENEFITS from the status quo — you’ll see that these systems are NOT really “broken.”  They are serving the rich and the powerful and preventing the changes that ordinary people and our environment actually need.

Immigration?  Politically powerful people and businesses with racist beliefs benefit from disempowering and discriminating against immigrants, especially those without documentation.  Employers with farms, factories, restaurants, meat-packing houses, domestic servants, and other economic interests benefit by oppressing immigrant workers, especially those without documentation.  For them, our current system is NOT “broken.”  It is working just fine, as they intend it to work.

Electoral politics?  Political corruption has prevented honest democracy for nearly a century and a half.  Rich people and “political machines” and more recently giant capitalistic business corporations have rigged the system so they can dominate who gets nominated and who gets elected.  Despite attempts at “reform,” they keep inventing new ways to “game the system” and subvert honest democracy in many ways.  The current system put an extremely incompetent, extremely corrupt, extremely cruel person in the White House.  He is one of the most hated politicians in the U.S., but our current system placed him there, despite losing the popular vote.  George W. Bush, another incompetent person, also lost the popular vote but was appointed president by the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.  In many parts of the U.S. the Republican Party has been deliberately destroying honest democracy by gerrymandering, suppressing voting by people likely to vote for Democrats, refusing to accept the voters’ decisions, and so forth.  Both of the big political parties have rigged the system to prevent meaningful Third Parties from emerging.  For the political elites, our current system is NOT “broken.”   It is working just fine, as they intend it to work.

Criminal justice?  The U.S. imprisons many, many more people than any other nation on earth.  Federal and state governments impose longer sentences in more brutal prisons with ridiculously minimal attempts to rehabilitate or solve the underlying problems.  The U.S. spends far more money on the criminal “justice” system and jails and prisons than any other nation.  What do we get?  A horribly high rate of recidivism and widespread public fear of crime.  This system is horribly broken, wastes money, destroys lives, breaks up families, and fails to stop crime.  But for the people who benefit financially and politically from promoting fear and operating prisons, the current system is NOT “broken.”  It is working just fine, as they intend it to work.

Media?  A functioning democracy and a vibrant society need a population that is well informed and connected.  But during the past few decades the ownership of newspapers and magazines and TV and radio has been concentrated in fewer and fewer giant business corporations — and especially those owned by right-wing extremists.  Crucial issues are utterly ignored or treated with extreme bias (e.g., media giving equal weight to climate deniers).  Many millions of Americans live in communities dominated by right-wing media, so they end up thoroughly propagandized and unable to function in a democracy, from the local level to the national level.  Public knowledge and civic life and democracy itself all suffer horribly.  But for the right-wingers and the politicians who exploit us, the current system is NOT “broken.”  It is working just fine, as they intend it to work.

Guns?  The U.S. is an extreme outlier among the world’s nations in the amount of gun violence.  An overwhelming majority of the population demands that our state and national level governments take very serious, common-sense actions to reduce gun violence, but governments repeatedly fail to act.  The gun lobby lavishes many, many millions of dollars to elect and lobby politicians.  For those folks, the current system works just fine, as they intend it to work.

Foreign policy?  The U.S. spends much more on our military than the next several largest spending nations spend on theirs, combined.  The U.S. is by far the world’s largest producer of military weapons, and we sell or give them to many more nations than any other nation.  The U.S. has about 800 military bases in other nations — in nearly every nation on earth.  The U.S. is simultaneously waging wars — endless wars — in many more nations than the American people realize.  Since World War II the U.S. has overthrown many democracies and replaced them with military dictatorships.  The U.S. has not won a real war since World War II.  (Korea ended in stalemate, we lost in Vietnam, and we are bogged down now in many unwinnable wars.)  About half of the U.S. ‘s discretionary budget goes to the military.  For more than 70 years the U.S. has led the world in producing nuclear weapons and provoking a nuclear arms race, with no end in sight.  And yet the American people are afraid of other nations.  Congress is largely owned by the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about in January 1961.  But the military rampage continues without any success.  But for the giant corporations that make military weapons and for the bloated U.S. military and the Congress and Executive and Judicial branches that have been subservient to the military-industrial complex, the current system works just fine, as they intend it to work.

The list goes on and on!  Do not let anyone tell you that these or other systems are “broken.”  They are working just fine, as the political and economic elites intend them to work.






About GlenAnderson 1515 Articles
Since the late 1960s Glen Anderson has devoted his life to working as a volunteer for peace, nonviolence, social justice, and progressive political issues. He has worked through many existing organizations and started several. Over the years he has worked especially for such wide-ranging goals as making peace with Vietnam, eliminating nuclear weapons, converting from a military economy to a peacetime economy, abolishing the death penalty, promoting nonviolence at all levels throughout society, and helping people organize and strategize for grassroots movements to solve many kinds of problems. He writes, speaks, and conducts training workshops on a wide variety of topics. Since 1987 he has produced and hosted a one-hour cable TV interview program on many kinds of issues. Since 2017 he has blogged at https://parallaxperspectives.org He lives in Lacey near Olympia WA. You can reach him at (360) 491-9093 glen@parallaxperspectives.org