To improve democracy, start in the right place

[Sent to the Khmer Times on May 20, 2019.]

Thank you for your May 20 article on the Cambodian government response to the US government’s interference into Cambodia’s internal affairs.

While I agree with the statements rejecting US interference, the Cambodian government has been objecting to US meddling for a long time, and the US government seems totally incapable of understanding the principles involved, no matter how often they are explained.

I would therefore like to suggest that the Cambodian government try other methods, which might awaken the US government to the fact that it is not really the world judge of everything. (I am not confident about this, because US governments over many years have shown an ability to sleep through almost anything, up to and including the end of the world.)

So, I think that the Cambodian government should propose the following measures to improve US democracy:

  • The US judicial system should stop imprisoning Chelsea Manning, who revealed numerous war crimes and other crimes committed by the US military and representatives of the US government. The US should instead nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • The US government should drop its request to extradite from Britain (so that they can assassinate him) Julian Assange, the director of Wikileaks, which distributed Chelsea Manning’s disclosures.

  • The US government should prevent the use of the death penalty anywhere within its territory.

  • The US government should pass and actually enforce laws banning all forms of racial discrimination.

  • The US government or judiciary should block the various anti-woman compulsory pregnancy laws being passed by a number of state legislatures, most of which have been gerrymandered to ensure a reactionary majority.

  • The US federal government should abolish those gerrymanders and others, like the Electoral College, which allowed Donald Trump to take office despite losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. That includes the Senate system, which gives a small minority of US voters a veto on most legislation.

There are many more changes needed to bring about democracy in the United States, but those above would be a good beginning and would allow the people of the US to start having some control over their lives, and therefore being able to change other things that need changing.

Furthermore, while the US people were proposing and implementing those and further changes, the government might find itself too busy to be telling the rest of the world how to behave.

Allen Myers

Phnom Penh

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