Democracy at Bay

American democracy just had what has aptly been called a near-death experience. China’s governing regime has become increasingly repressive and intolerant of dissent, choking freedom in Hong Kong and conducting massive human rights violations in treatment of minorities. India appears to be drifting toward becoming a Hindu nationalist state in which the large Muslim population is marginalized and repressed and free speech attenuated. What happened to the Enlightenment? We seem to be sliding back. Despotic rulers are stamping out democracy in many other countries as well, among them, lately in the news, Russia and Myanmar. And what happened to Arab Spring?