Indictments. Convictions. Sentencings. Headline stories abound with ongoing full-frontal assaults on the fabric of the USA’s constitutional order, nee “disorder.”
Constitutional scholars are opining about the threats to democracy and why that is so detrimental.
Most folk admit that the USA is an experiment- often defined as the longest-lasting modern democracy recorded in history.
We are learning more about how some ancient societies in disparate areas around the world, may have had better-organized governing structures than ours. Specifically, when we look at the UBUNTU principles practiced in parts of southern Africa, we learn that a peaceful and egalitarian society existed for thousands of years before ours. Across the African continent, tribalism is a time-honored form of governing. There are also examples of earlierso-called primitive democracies, found throughout Mesopotamia, and there were ‘republics’ in India. Ours is loosely based on the GrecoRoman governance model, considered the forerunner of our western form of democracy.
In crafting our constitution, we borrowed liberally from the French revolutionary spirit of “Egalite”! “Liberte”! “Fraternite”!
The USA has developed laws built on a long litany of principles that work best when the common man’s needs are placed above those of the privileged few-the foundation of a democracy. Other forms of governance are proven failures: absolute monarchies, communism, dictatorships, and others.
So, what about our democracy being threatened?
Dissent and protests are part of the DNA of America. Remember the heralded Boston Tea Party? We celebrate such time-honored traditions as labor organizing, women’s suffragist rights, civil rights protests, and a long list of other forms of movements against tyrannical government- all healthy responses of the common people ‘checking’ the balance of power.
What’s different today?
For one, we’ve become a dumbed down society.
So much of the accurate history of this country, and the study of other working democracies, has been eliminated from the public schools. Where are the classes in civics?
Discourse about what matters most has reduced us to being either a republican or a democrat, a liberal or conservative, or some subset of those classifications. We are forced to pick a side; discouraged from having any real “argument” about merits. It’s either one or the other, never tolerating any “shading’ by various points of view.
Second, the marketplace for exchanging ideas has become a dangerous place.
January 6 has joined the Civil War as a new placeholder in the history books for insurrection.
Unfortunately, there are very real violent ongoing threats made for holding and espousing contrary positions.
For instance, upholding the constitution and the laws of the nation is risky behavior; inviting promises of murder. Direct threats against Fanni Willis for prosecuting violators of the Georgia election laws are not a one off. Don’t forget that Michigan Gov. Whitmer was a target for murder after she defended the results of the 2020 election- that the democrat candidate won in her State.
These are just a few examples.
When I listen to the nightly news and the pundits opine about the loss of democracy, I hear a lament about the loss of power, always about power, held by a few. I’m searching for more commentary with solutions against the tide of the violent; and how to defend the rights of the common citizen.
I don’t buy conspiracy theories about some wizard behind a curtain pulling the levers of big brother government. I don’t believe that anyone, or any cabal, has weaponized the justice system.
No, I believe we have cannibalized our own democracy; eating it up from the inside out. Now left with a shell- fragile, brittle, and susceptible to crumbling, we have failed to recognize that our system has been weakened and dismantled by our own hand, from ignorance, cowardice, hatred of the “other;” doubling down on our narrow points of views, picking sides, etc.
But then again, we get what we deserve.
And that’s why we must become students of the continuous outtakes of democratic principles, and why we must vote. Vote, Vote. Toniwg1@gmail.com