Ah, America, land of the free, land of sweet liberty, land of equal opportunity, as well as fair justice and equality for all. That, of course, is the America, that this land is supposed to represent, of which, thousands upon thousands have given their last dying breath to fight so nobly for those very ideals, but the reality is that America isn't free, and it sure doesn't have nor is it a government by the people, for the people, and of the people.
The thing about wealth, power, and status, is that those that have it, will not often voluntarily relinquish it; and further that those that have it, believe they are deserving of it, for they see themselves as somehow, clearly superior to and above the common man, and therefore will do all that they can to see that their status quo, remains unassailable, and will utilize all things, fair and foul, to better their own situation, at the expense of most everyone else.
It certainly is not happenstance that a small elite class effectively rules this country, for in order to do so, takes concentrated effort, concentrated wealth, and concentrated power applied in an unrelenting, firm, but relatively benign manner so that the masses will not even consider revolting against their masters. That is to say, the first principle is that the military-police-technological-industrial arm of the state must be in lockstep with one another, recognizing that by all working together that they can collectively reap vast benefits from the richest nation that the world has ever witnessed, which provides them with all the accouterments of the good life, without being at risk of losing it to anyone or any other nation-state.
The next step, is to make sure that the masses, are always up in arms and very fearful about something or other, either domestically and/or internationally that appears to be a very real and present danger to their way of life and viability, that thereby necessitates an outrageously strong military-police state, with invasive agencies that know everything about them, so that they can therefore lie down safely at night, believing that all is well. For this type of security, millions will sell their souls, just to be considered to be safe. As for those that seem more reluctant to get onboard with all the intrusive domestic surveillance, or bogus wars such as the "war on drugs", or complain too vociferously about poverty, fairness, income inequality, and lack of opportunity, these people will be selectively rounded up and imprisoned, or marginalized in a way that they will have no impact or influence.
While it might not seem conceivable for the average America to actually believe that this isn't a democracy, and that this isn't a representative government, in fit, form, and function; the proof that it is not, is clearly demonstrated by the fact, that as reported by the washingtonpost.com, "the top 1 percent of households own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined." This means for a very privileged 1 percent of this country, they effectively are matched by 90 percent of this country in wealth; or stated in another way, 90 percent of this country are subservient to the 1 percent of this country that run it; and the other nine percent directly or indirectly serve that 1 percent in order to live their own very good lives.
In a true democracy, 90 percent of the people, could never be effectively run over and controlled by 1 percent; but here it is, in black and white, of which that is the reality of the situation, and when and if, that 90 percent truly wakes up, there will be blood on the streets and mansions in flaming ruins.