This post suggests that solutions to America's troubles would be to further democratic ideals. I don't agree with that at all and see that as the problem. The meritocracy, as described by Plato in Republic, is the only governing system that is a true reflection of the social nature of humans. Any other form of government is a form of social engineering and will be destined to fail.
The plot of Orwell's "Animal Farm" is quite simple. It follows the Russian Revolution from 1917 through 1944. Three pigs - Snowball (Leon Trotsky), Napoleon (Joseph Stalin), and Squealer (Vyacheslav Molotov) formulate Old Major's (Vladimir Lenin) principles into a philosophy called Animalism. The animals defeat the farmer Mr. Jones (Czar Nicholas II) in a battle, running him off the land. They rename the property Animal Farm (Soviet Union). The cart-horse Boxer (Russian working class) devotes himself to the cause with particular passion, committing his great strength to the prosperity of the farm and adopting as a personal axiom the affirmation "I will work harder." Napoleon (Stalin) and Snowball (Trotsky) increasingly argue over the future of the farm, and they begin to struggle with each other for power and influence among the other animals. After a speech, nine attack dogs (KGB) burst into the barn and chase Snowball (Trotsky) from the farm.
Napoleon (Stalin) assumes leadership of Animal Farm (Soviet Union) and declares that there will be no more meetings. From that point on, he stresses, the pigs alone will make all of the decisions for the good of every animal (Workers). Napoleon (Stalin) begins expanding his powers, rewriting history to make Snowball (Trotsky) a villain. Napoleon (Stalin) also begins to act more and more like a human being - sleeping in a bed, drinking whisky, and engaging in trade with neighboring farmers. The original Animalist principles strictly forbade such activities, but Squealer (Molotov), Napoleon's propagandist, justifies every action to the other animals, convincing them that Napoleon (Stalin) is a great leader and is making things better for everyone despite the fact that the common animals are cold, hungry, and overworked. Looking in at the party of Pigs and Farmers through the farmhouse window, the common animals can no longer tell which are the Pigs and which are the human beings.
Animal Farm" represents any human society whether it be capitalist, socialist, fascist, or communist [not democracy??? open your eyes!]. Leaders are capable of being corrupted by power within any form of government. The myopic thinking of the Pigs in "Animal Farm" will eventually destroy the farm. Orwell ends the novel with the animals watching the Pigs mingling with farmers through a window. They couldn't tell the difference between the supposed revolutionaries and those they had fought against. If he had looked into the future he would have seen that the Soviet Union would decay from the inside as the corrupt few eventually came to believe their own lies and propaganda. It collapsed 44 years later as a corrupt, bankrupt, shell of a country. The combination of myopia, greed, wickedness, ignorance and indifference are a brew that are leading the United States down the same path. As the Pigs in our society have enriched themselves, the average American has seen their real standard of living stagnate over the last 40 years. The Pigs have manipulated government inflation statistics so the masses think they are getting ahead.
The definition of democracy is: government by the people. Today, the United States is democratic in name only [sure about that? isn't that what any democracy is is destined to become, like any other form of egalitarian idealism, including communism?]. The political class, which supposedly represents the citizens, has perverted the original concept of a representative democracy. Our representatives were supposed to personally sacrifice by taking time off from their everyday professions to do what was best for the country. After performing this noble duty they would go back to their original vocations. Instead 40% of Congress is lawyers, their goal is to make a career in Washington DC and after leaving Congress they seek riches as lobbyists. Once elected, they utilize the power and money gained from the position to maintain that position permanently. This is why incumbents win elections 95% of the time. In 2004, incumbents spent $700 million to get re-elected, while challengers spent $200 million. These obscene sums of money have perverted the original intention of the Founders.
The combination of a permanent political class with an undereducated, uninterested, gullible, naïve electorate has permitted the few to wield immense power over the majority. In "Animal Farm," the working class is represented by Boxer the workhorse. He is a hard working non-thinking animal that repeats over and over that "Napoleon (Stalin) is always right". He is representative of those who believe everything that Barack Obama says is gospel. Ultimately, Boxer is sacrificed so that the Pigs can live more luxuriously. A highly educated involved electorate would be dangerous to those in power. An atrocious public education system is actually beneficial to the Pigs. There are 34 million Americans without a high school degree, constituting 15% of those over 18 years old. Another 112 million have graduated high school without progressing any further with their education. Many of these people are functionally illiterate, can't add, can't spell, don't know when World War II happened, or who is the Vice President. Only 69% of entering 9th graders in the public school system graduate high school. The graduation rates and educational achievements of minorities are dramatically worse than these numbers. Only 26% of the population has a bachelor's degree, with only 6% possessing a master's degree.
The proliferation of drugs among the poor keeps them dazed and sedated. Various welfare programs and easy credit keep them from rioting as they can "purchase" luxury cars and electronic gadgets enjoyed by the upper classes. The bad debts are picked up by the taxpayers. As a further control, those in power have put 2.3 million people in prisons, most of whom are poor and 60% who are minorities. By distracting the majority of people in the country with cable TV entertainment, the internet, Twitter, cell phones, sports, movies, and shopping malls, the Pigs who run the show are able to oppress and control the masses. The highly educated use the idiocy and naïveté of the oppressed to their advantage by using the rigged financial system to generate ever more riches for themselves. The banker gods peddled fraudulent mortgage schemes throughout the world in order to enrich themselves. When it blew up in their faces, they turned to their government co-conspirators (Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and most of Congress) to keep their riches. Their Congressional benefactors have obliged by stealing trillions from the taxpaying classes and redistributed it to the Pigs running Goldman Sachs, Citicorp, and Bank of America."