Bertha Cooper

Think About It: Is democracy worth saving?

The American public needs to decide if their democracy is worth saving; although, perhaps with a needed overhaul to better withstand attempted coup d’états.

Best to decide before we lose it. Democracy is at risk. We hear loud voices setting the stage for becoming a country governed by a vengeful old white man as the decision-maker in all things related to our freedoms and diversity.

The Republican party is sowing the seeds of distrust in the most basic mechanisms that support a government of the people, for the people and by the people.

Concurrently, the Republican party is actively and openly attempting to gut the key mechanism that makes a democracy, that is fair and free elections by all eligible voters. The gutting they are designing that, should they be successful, will have far reaching impacts on our freedoms, especially those of people already struggling for equality of opportunity.

I doubt Republicans would admit an intention to gut democracy. At least they haven’t yet. What they are doing is trying to get the electorate to believe that a grand election fraud occurred that was so secret and subversive no one can find any evidence of it.

In case anyone missed them, here are recent examples. Although we are reminded daily that Trump and the Republicans are knowingly spreading the lies that the 2020 election was corrupt because if it wasn’t, Trump would have won.

Those who were elected to hold federal office in 2020 have yet to explain why they are not victims of the same fraud. Perhaps, it because they know there are nearly 19,500 incorporated towns, cities and villages and more than 3,000 counties in the United States.

We can hope that someday in a moment of clarity and free of self-interest, they might recognize the absurdity of orchestrated election corruption occurring in more than 22,500 election entities.

Another example is the Republican design and implementation of restricted voting opportunities intended to prevent the above fake election fraud. States with Republican majority legislators and governors are targeting populations known to favor Democratic candidates and passing laws to reduce the likelihood of them voting due to obstacles such as reducing voting sites and hours and prohibiting mail-in ballots.

Trump and Republicans have realized they can’t win if everyone who’s eligible votes. They can’t win unless they employ the above tactics and more. They seem to believe it’s the only way to gain and keep power, power of the kind that rules the country regardless of or in spite of the will of the majority of voting Americans. Think about the manipulation of precedence in selecting Supreme Court Justices or ignoring laws with precedence such as a woman’s right to control her reproductive choices.

Trump and the Republicans have defined their enemy … and it is democracy.

Wounded democracy

“I need democracy to protect me from those who apparently don’t believe in it.”

This quote came from an entirely unscientific survey I took of a few friends asking the question, “Why do we need democracy?”

The feeling of this person sums up the fear many of us have if the right to vote is made more difficult and election results can be overturned by a state legislature or governor or bureaucrat pressured by no less than his/her state senator or the president of the United States.

The alternative, that is an authoritarian form of government dressed up to look like a democracy, similar to the one in Russia, is in the making. Fortunately, Trump is no Putin.

He did us a great service when he exposed democracy’s weaknesses, when he refused to recognize the balance of power written into the Constitution. He bent the will of federal agencies to meet his political ends; the worst example being the denial of science and public health in controlling the spread of deadly COVID-19.

Trump crashed through cultural norms that supported the function of a governing democracy and used the courts as a weapon in his defense.

We can reach no other conclusion than democracy is dependent on people in power who want to continue to support the country as a democracy. Supporting free and fair elections and voters enabled to exercise the right to vote is a demonstration of that support.

Trump and Republicans are putting in all out effort to turn a wounded democracy, wounded by Trump, into a pretend democracy in which they will never lose an election.

Should we try to save democracy and many of the freedoms we have such as having our vote count, having a voice in decisions that impact us, having a free press, however adversarial, and setting the stage for all children to succeed?

Damn right, we should and loudly with vigor and purpose. Call out Trump and Republicans for undermining, if not yet overthrowing democracy of/for/by the people.

Bertha Cooper, a featured columnist in the Sequim Gazette, spent her career years in health care administration, program development and consultation. Cooper and her husband have lived in Sequim more than 20 years. Reach her at columnists@sequimgazette.com.

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