The dead are piling up in America – but fools still worship its broken constitution

The US political system is a disgrace, its election model is bust, and the government fails its people.

How Stephen Paddock orchestrated the Las Vegas massacreIBTimes US

Mocking, hating, scorning, baiting, and despising Donald Trump is a popular, global sport. Enough already. It's easy to pick on the boorish brute in the White House. We all do it. It makes us feel smart.

Turn away from the man and instead look at the nation that formed him, the most powerful and most dystopian in the developed world. The mass killing and wounding of citizens in Las Vegas will not be the last.

Nothing is learnt. Nothing changes.

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For this is America, proud and perfect in every way. Its sales pitch is insistent, urgent, resounding: this is the land where dreams come true, where the poor and wretched become billionaires, where the constitution is sacrosanct and protects everyone. Sweet lies, myths and delusions, irresistible, like double choc cookie bars. People guzzle them and are satiated.

I was on Sky News just after the horrific killings by Stephen Paddock. On with me was a young male British journalist, a libertarian, who adulates the US constitution. Weapon ownership, to him, was a democratic entitlement bestowed by the Founding Fathers. We argued. Of course we did.

Millions of such acolytes in the UK have been captured and captivated by the great American legends, most of which cannot bear scrutiny. The Second Amendment – the right to bear arms – as set out in 1791 was specifically to "provide protection from bloodthirsty heathen red savages".

The law gave white men permission to kill native Americans and also slaves. The right to bear arms does not extend to black man. They are shot by police if suspected of having any weapon. Officers are never held to account for these shootings. Most Americans don't give a damn. Not surprisingly, perhaps.

Somewhere in white collective memory, dead black souls don't matter. In time, gun crime became an established, indeed routine activity. Approximately 12,000 Americans are murdered every year. Seven children or teens die on an average day.

People carry a peson at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.David Becker/Getty Images

The Second Amendment has been turned into a catechism by the rich and unbeatable National Rifle Association (NRA) and also right-wing republicans who will do anything to stop gun control laws. Few Americans know that Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers, believed that to remain relevant, constitutions should expire after 19 years. After that, he warned, forms of tyranny set in.

The constitution was a remarkable document for its time. But it did not give 'negroes' or women the vote or equality. The Fourteenth Amendment (1868) gives equal protection of law to all. This has never happened in reality. Black men are more likely to be arrested, sentenced and sentenced longer than white men. Hispanics and other minorities face the same injustices. Shockingly high numbers of them are in prison. They do not get proper legal representation.

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The Founding Fathers were unconcerned about those in low socioeconomic classes too. History, again, leaves its stain. Poverty in the US is now widespread. According to a report on CNN, the country has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the world; Latvia is the worst.

A doctor I know well, the daughter of Bosnian refugees, works with the poorest of families and she tells me she has seen several unnatural deaths of infants in homes where mums have nothing to give their kids.

They say this is one nation, under one flag, different but all American. That too is a fantasy. Over the past 15 years, I have been to New Orleans, New York, Pittsburgh, Colorado, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington. Boston, Newark, Atlanta, St Louis and Oklahoma. All those places, including New York, were racially and economically segregated places. In Atalanta, in a hotel I danced with a black Briton, a fellow conference delegate. It was as if we had broken apartheid laws. People left the dance floor. The singer could not sing on for a while.

The US President Donald TrumpRHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

The US political system is a disgrace. The election model is bust. Economically and socially US governments fail millions of their own people. Men, women and children are too wretched to dream of better lives. Injustice and inequality are the definers of this rabidly capitalist superpower. People are dying in shocking numbers. Many, many more are killed by insane, paranoid foreign interventions.

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Harvard law professor Sanford Levinson says the unsayable: "The constitution is insufficiently democratic in a country that professes to be democratic and significantly dysfunctional in terms of the government we receive."

Trump won because he reflected that dysfunctionality and dissolution perfectly. He loves guns, money, wars, fame, fights. He hates 'foreigners', civil rights, equality laws, strong women, checks and balances, rules, decorum. Just the man for a broken country which gets off on swagger and bombast.

My doctor friend is moving to Bosnia: "It's enough. I cannot stay here. A big house and car is not enough. Anger and violence everywhere. It is not human. The future doesn't look good. No, it looks calamitous."


Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a journalist, columnist, broadcaster and author. Follow @y_alibhai


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