What is America? A Republic? A Democracy? An Oligarchy? A Plutocracy? A Theocracy?

The Electoral College, gerrymandering, photo IDs and other voter suppression tactics are just some of the practices that keep America from being a democracy.
01/06/2015 02:29 pm ET Updated Mar 08, 2015

I'm not sure what America's form of government is anymore but, it is definitely not a democracy. A Democracy provides every legal citizen of a certain age with the free and equal right to participate in a system of government that elects representatives of the people by the majority of the people, who promise to do the will of the people.

The Electoral College, gerrymandering, photo IDs and other voter suppression tactics are just some of the practices that keep America from being a democracy. In Bush vs. Gore, the Supreme Court gave the election to Bush even though Gore received more than a half million more popular votes. When the person receiving the most votes isn't the winner of the election, then that country is not a democracy.

A Republic is a form of government in which power resides with the people, and the government is ruled by elected leaders who govern according to laws designed to help citizens. If we believe this definition, then we are not a Republic because our elected leaders no longer rule by law or by what their constituents want. Instead, our officials rule by the wishes of corporations and billionaires.

An Oligarchy is a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes. Some American politicians seem to want this form of government. After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United, the United States became a country where money replaced free speech and corporations replaced people. Today, average people have less rights and less control over their government. While big corporations and wealthy donors, along with Wall Street, are free to influence elections, write legislation and destroy our country for their own selfish and greedy interests.

America appears to be headed in the direction of Plutocracy. This form of government believes a society should be ruled by its wealthiest members. The Supreme Court has allowed a flood of money to buy our elections, rather than the will of the people. Income inequality is growing, the middle class is disappearing, and Republicans continue to block raising the minimum wage for hard working Americans. Women don't make equal pay for equal work, and CEOs make insane compensation, while workers are pushed for greater productivity for less money. The rich are getting richer, while the poor are barely living paycheck to paycheck.

A Theocracy is a government ruled by or subject to religious authority. If those on the conservative right get their way, they will destroy the very foundation our ancestors died for. Our country was based on freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. But the recent Hobby Lobby case has blurred those lines. The Koch Brothers and others are funding local elections to school boards in order to establish a creationism curriculum vs. an evolution or scientific explanation. They want their religious beliefs to be the basis for our laws and government.

Socialism is an economic concept that advocates public ownership of all resources. The Republicans have accused President Obama of creating a socialist society. But by definition, that is false. Even the Affordable Care Act is not government owned, and is supported by independent insurance companies that are publically owned by shareholders, not the government. The government doesn't own the resources in this country, private enterprises do. The government does play a role in our society by providing security (police, fire, military), infrastructure (roads and bridges), and education (pre-k thru 12th grade) for all children but, that is not socialism. It is just governing effectively and doing the job they were elected to do. In the last few Congressional sessions our elected officials failed to do their job and pass any meaningful legislation, but they didn't fail to collect their government-issued paychecks.

A Welfare state is a concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. While we are not a welfare state, many Americans feel a strong obligation to help the less fortunate with needed assistance such as food stamps, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Many of these programs have been funded by the recipients. The majority of those receiving these benefits are disabled, veterans, the elderly, and the very poor, many of whom work one or more jobs but, still can't afford necessities and medical care.

How can Americans continue to fight to spread democracy around the world, when much of the Republican agenda is taking freedom away from our own citizens?

I believe America needs to focus on uniting and reclaiming its own democratic form of government, before they impose "American ideology" on others.