Do we have a democracy in the US, or a plutocracy? Or somewhere in between? Or something completely different? How much does money really influence American politics?

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I will respond later in further detail but my father came to the U.S. as an immigrant and is very successful. Iranians in general are very successful - they have education and wisdom and don't give themselves self-defeating excuses. The only thing holding our country back from prosperity is our culture that doesn't put enough value on education (hence we are lacking in the science and math departments) and illegal immigration which threatens America's future sovereignty and demographic makeup. Otherwise - America is a great country in which people from all over the world (even with our down-economy) could only wish to live in.
So your father came to the US as an educated immigrant - many here in the US receive what could hardly be called an education, especially when they grow up in the impoverished areas of our country. It is one thing to come here already in possession of much of what you will need to succeed, and quite another thing to try to claw your way up from the ghetto. I resent your attitude that calling attention to the actual plight of the poor in this country is giving "self-defeating excuses". How else does one address a problem without first putting a name to it? Do you think that everyone here has exactly the same chance of success as anyone else? Likely your father arrived with the help of some family members as well - many here haven't got the support of a stable family environment, but then you would call drawing attention to this fact "giving excuses"? One could extend the same line of reasoning to the countries you compare the US to - why don't they just quit their "bitching and moaning" and fight for their freedom, if they think they have got it so bad? I look forward to hearing your further comments, so long as they are made with respect. Otherwise, I will have no problem simply deleting offensive responses from this discussion.
He received an education here in the United States. America has great opportunities for education if one dedicates themselves - the problem is, that people are too infested into the reality show culture rather than valuing education and science. The problem is not one of money, it is one of culture.
Whose point are you proving, Sassan K?  Too infested, what does that mean?  Do you mean "invested"?  You may also have meant, "..if one dedicates" HIMSELF.
I meant "infested" - we are too infested into the reality show culture. It means what the word means:
infest
verb be present in large numbers, typically so as to cause damage or disease.
   overrun in large numbers, swarm in or about in a troublesome manner; invade, harass
Synonyms: parasite, parasitize

Basically, to take over and destroy in a vile and negative way.

And I meant "themselves" as I was speaking of citizens of a nation. This isn't grammar school. Nice try to divert the issue by attacking the messenger in an irrelevant manner.
Your point was that a person has an opportunity for a good education, if he wants one, in the U.S.  My point is that we may think we are well educated when, in fact, many of us can't speak, and write our own language.   And, yes, grammar does matter.  It allows us to express our thoughts clearly.  Math, and Science are not the only subjects American students require.
Not to mention that schools in poorer neighborhoods are not the same quality ans in the richer neighborhoods.
You're right, Susan. In a rich neighborhood, if the school lacks something, the parents pitch right in with fundraisers and private donations, and they volunteer in the classrooms, and really have a lot of information as well as resources to contribute, because they have the money AND the education. In a poor neighborhood, the parents don't have the resources to even buy their kid a pencil or a notebook, and don't have the time or background to volunteer to help in class. However, they DO care. I taught in both kinds of schools and the difference, even in the same school district, was appalling.
Also, if you think the only thing holding this country back is the undervaluing of education and illigal immigration, then you are not only exposing your ignorance of American politics and the realities of our socioeconomic dynamics, but you are also conveniently glossing over the many actual arguments made in this very discussion of the problems we face. You might actually want to address those arguments as a part of this discussion. It is called "The US: Democracy, or Plutocracy?" Have you got any responses to the arguments made by the many responders who have argued that what we have got is more a plutocracy than an actual democracy?
Everything else will fix itself naturally. Capitalism as an economic system is the most sound and solid system that affords the most number of people the greatest opportunity. Any other economic system simply doesn't equate with the track record of success than capitalism has had. You will always have poor people and we can help them to a degree - but people do need to take personal responsibility and stop giving themselves self-defeating mindsets.
Yeah, Capitalism would have prevented the economic crisis we had.  Oh, wait, Capitalism caused the economic crisis.  Must be nice to live in a black and white world.  I am going on two years unemployed and I resent the implication that I am somehow the cause by being lazy and caring more about Dancing with the Stars then my own future.

It is a sad reality but the problem was with the wrong regulations in the wrong places without oversight. The problem wasn't capitalism. And as I have said, if we were educated enough as a people (I am not talking about you) we would be able to fill the high-tech jobs that are going unfulfilled as we don't have enough qualified candidates to fill those positions.

In addition, despite our problems, we still have one of the greatest economies in the world. We simply have higher expectations than rest of the world which is not necessarily a bad thing.

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