Although I have felt our Democracy, our Republic, has been failing for a long time, it has become even more evident as I have been watching the impeachment of President Trump. When the President carte blanched people not to answer lawful subpoenas and Republicans did nothing, we the people did nothing, and the courts really did nothing, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall.
However, this failing is not a sudden phenomenon. It has been a slow cancer over the past 40 or so years. Republicans have been playing an infinite game while Democrats have been playing a finite game. We all are losing because of this.
I’ve had many emotional reactions watching it unfold more intensely the past few months: sadness, disappointment, anger, rage, but mostly sadness. The sadness comes from knowing my twilight years will be harder than expected, that my children will not experience the freedoms I’ve had, and my grandchildren, for an unknown length of time, will live under an authoritarian system of government. Their experience will be more akin to Russia, China and North Korea than what our Founding Fathers and Framers of the Constitution created.
How did we get here? The following is my life experience and perspective of how we got here:
Voters becoming complacent and lazy. When voters stay home because their preferred candidate did not get on the ballot, when they decide a candidate has to be perfect to vote for him or her, when they decide the line to vote is too long, when they believe their vote doesn’t matter, when voters are fed up and want to shake things up without seeing the true character of a candidate, allowing themselves to become disenfranchised when Republicans purge voter roles rather than doing the footwork to re-register themselves (an inconvenience to be sure, wrong it is necessary of course, but not doing it also contributes), we all lose.
Smart people overlooking the obvious. People I believed to be critical thinkers—family, friends, coworkers—vote for a man accused of sexual harassment (even hearing a recording of him bragging about it), courts white supremacists, chronically lies, bullies people, calls for violence against protesters, refuses to follow norms—even when the evidence is right there if they would just do the work of being an informed voter.
Obama kowtowing to Republicans over Russian interference in the 2016 election cycle. This is the one mark against the Obama presidency that will follow him in history. He always seemed to back down to Republican threats without putting up a true fight—think Garland and “He Lies”. We needed him in these dark hours and he did not rise to the occasion.
So-called Christians believing they have the Biblical right to deem who is worthy and who is not. The rise of the televangelist and the money-mongers. Church and state are supposed to be separate, but no one has called them out on it, nor taken away their tax exempt status for entering the political fray.
Gerrymandering in an illegal way. When a district is created surgically to ensure a certain party will forever be elected within that district, that is unlawful and morally wrong.
Supreme Court Justices who allowed Citizens United, thus ensuring the 1% will have more of a say in politics—no, to control politics—shutting the people out.
The dismantling of government agencies and laws to protect us against companies/businesses writing the laws that oversee them and while both ignoring, then doing away with, anti-trust legislation.
Creating tax codes allowing companies to pay virtually no taxes, allowing the rich to pay less in taxes than the common worker, and providing opportunities for companies to store money in offshore accounts.
Believing no matter what the people do, it won’t matter. We forget there are many more of us (yes, there are more Democrats and Independents than there are registered Republicans), if we would just let our voices be heard. Posting on social media is great. However, calling your elected officials, writing letters to them, writing letters to the editor, attending protests, going to town hall meetings, and anything that takes more than a couple of seconds to do demonstrates we are watching—right now they know a large number of people are too caught up in trying to survive, which means they continue to pass laws and regulations to keep us down; let’s not let this continue.
I know I’ve not hit on everything, but you get the picture.
So as Thom Hartmann says at the end of each of his shows, “Activisim begins with you, Democracy begins with you, get out there, get active! Tag, you’re it.”