By Erin Rodewald // July 3, 2017
(This article originally appeared at Philos Project)
Tomorrow, America will celebrate its 241st birthday. As in years past, July 4 festivities across the nation will stir our collective sense of patriotism. There will be parades and marching bands. Spectacular fireworks will light up the night sky from New York to Los Angeles. In towns and cities across the land, Old Glory will wave and remind us that because we are steeped in a tradition of democracy, we remain a country where all men are created equal – that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But the contentious political climate in America circa 2017, combined with an apparent upsurge in popularity of autocrats abroad – Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt, to name a few – has many observers wondering if the American experiment has timed out. Could this generation be witness to the worldwide decline of democracy?
In her new book Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice abjures the skeptics and dispels the myth that democracy is in retreat. On the contrary, she argued that democracy – while inherently flawed and always imperfect – remains the best means to promote peace and ensure human freedom, dignity and progress around the world.