For many years the propaganda machinery in the United States has promoted the illusion that we promote freedom, democracy and human rights. Many of us have allowed ourselves to accept that delusion without question. In actuality, our political leadership has regularly demonstrated that it is quite reluctant to expand our freedoms, our democracy and our human rights.

Actually, more often than not, haven't this administration and many members of Congress been attempting to suppress our rights? If you carefully examine our system of government on the national as well as on the local level, won't you find that it's been slowly devolving into a quasi-fascist state that increasingly hides behind a facade of totalitarian democracy? To a substantial extent, hasn't the democratic system been badly undermined by the corrupting influence of corporate money and power?

Our elected representatives usually represent those special interests that provide the bulk of their campaign finances far more than they represent their constituents. Shouldn't this be obvious to anyone who carefully examines our current system of governance and objectively engages in critical thinking?

To a great extent, isn't this due to the arrogance of power of what President Eisenhower referred to as "the military-industrial complex"? Hasn't the integration of the military-industrial complex with the neoconservative ideologues that they fund resulted in at least two wars of aggression? Obviously, the most recent example of this well-manipulated policy resulted in an unwarranted war of aggression against Iraq.

Can the ideologues and special interests that promoted this war be unaware of the fact that democratic systems cannot be imposed from without? Are they unaware of the fact that war as an extension of national policy is never cost-effective? Why have they failed to learn that there has never been a policy involving wars of aggression that has not eventually resulted in the destruction of the national state — or do they care?

In terms of hegemonic influences, war as an extension of national policy pales in consideration of the ongoing drive for international economic dominance. Indeed, the ever-increasingly trade-based interdependent globalized society that is now fully emerging as the hallmark of a newer and more rational hegemony creates far more global wealth than any policy of war.

Shouldn't it be obvious to any thoughtful person that under present and historical conditioning the tribal and cultural rivalry among and within the Iraqi tribes, communities and religious sects will continue to prevent their assimilation into a cohesive national democratic state? Doesn't this apply as well to the cultural configurations that exist in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other autocratic states and quasi-theocratic cultures? Aren't the Taliban and al-Qaida promoting their unique beliefs in an attempt to re-establish their unique apparition of the onetime status quo in their tribal communities and regressive cultures?

Democracy must evolve and grow through continuous intellectual development and cultural progress. A democratic society must be constantly nurtured and allowed to develop and grow from within.

If democratic governance is to progress, shouldn't we be removing its unrealistic ideology-based constraints? Why aren't we eliminating the corrupting influences of the special interests that are a cause of our distrust of government? Shouldn't we be actively expanding our participation in self-governance to help reverse our alienation from what should always be legitimate representative government?

If we are to promote democracy abroad, shouldn't it be by providing an ethical and moral example that others can emulate?

Abraham Moses Genen lives in Monroe.