Have you ever considered that nations might have a legacy? Consider that the United States of America has been in existence for 244 years. That’s it. By contrast, the Roman Empire lasted 1000 years. The Roman Empire did not last. And there’s no guarantee that the United States legacy will last.
But let’s look at it from a global perspective. How long do democracies last? We take it for granted that this thing we call the American way of life will last forever. But it’s not a certainty.
The team at VisualCapitalist.com produced an infographic called “The State of Democracy Around the World.” They say it simply: Democracy is on retreat globally.
While 48.4% of the world’s population live in a democracy of some sort, only 5.7% of the world’s population live in a full democracy. Perhaps most staggering, a shocking 1/3 of the world’s population live under authoritarian rule.
Those countries under authoritarian rule include places like Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Cameroon, Chad, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, Laos, Oman etc. Those places with full democracies remains shockingly small: Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, etc.
Put it differently, countries do in fact have a legacy. Sadly, sometimes that legacy may be oppressive. Sometimes it is one of freedom. But it is clear that once a country turns oppressive, it becomes much harder to loosen the grip towards freedom. We know that those in power are reluctant to loosen that vise.
The lesson? As much as we might be critical of a nation’s legacy, we still must fight for and improve it, and we must guard against oppression.
Photo (at top) by Lerone Pieters on Unsplash
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Published September 18, 2020
Topics: Culture Commentary