What the American Response to the Queen’s Death Can Tell Us About Our Culture and How it Values Democracy

Max Spencer, Writer

Created by Zainab Lodhi

If the American media insanity around Queen Elizabeth II’s death and the proceeding events has taught me anything, it’s that most Americans, at their cores, don’t value democracy.  

           Yes, I know, this is an almost absurd statement to make given the country’s espoused core values based on the very idea of the democratic system, but I believe it’s true, and not necessarily for the reason you may think.  

Before I came to this conclusion, I asked myself, “why do we even care about British Royalty?” We based our democratic system on our discontent with the British monarchy. To answer my own question: I believe humans crave leadership, not because there’s some innate desire to rule inside us, but because pushing all the responsibility onto a single person is easier than being responsible yourself.  

           There’s a multitude of reasons nearly 40% of the country doesn’t vote –voter suppression chief among them– but also, many people just don’t care enough to participate in the democratic system. Some people say their vote doesn’t matter or will supply a slew of excuses. But those among us who can easily vote but don’t, in such times as these, when democracy is under constant threat, are simply disregarding the privilege Americans have fought and died to found and protect for 246 years.  

           So naturally, those same people who don’t want to vote usually have political views that align more closely with those of Republicans, whose values have more closely aligned with authoritarianism and autocracy. That is how Trump brought out a mass of usually inactive voters in 2016 to secure a surprising win. If they have one person ruling the entire country, then they don’t have to take up as much personal responsibility; that is the mentality. But if we as Americans want to keep our hard-earned rights and freedoms, we must vote against autocracy and protect our sacred democratic institutions.