Independence week: Is Democracy Dead?
Since the latest Supreme Court Decisions, this question is occurring more often in the press. We are clearly in a new era of our democratic journey. We aren’t dead yet, but we are ill. For the longest time, there were a large number of moderates in the Senate and Congress that were able to bring both extremes together. But they are gone now and cooperation seems a thing of the past. But first, let’s define the term democracy.
The Cambridge English dictionary defines democracy as “the belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines democracy as “ a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”
As you look at these definitions carefully you see certain phrases that remind you of what the founders of the United States had in mind.
- “Freedom and equality between people.”
- “Power is held by the people themselves.”
- “Elected representative government.”
- “Free elections.”
Arguably none of these exist in the US today to the extent they were envisioned.
Everyone should be free and equal before the government
Clearly, we have a long way to go before this is achieved. Our governmental bodies violate this concept on a regular basis. For example, the January 6th invasion of the capital is only one example. Some are put in prison and others that are just as guilty remain free.
Power is held by the people themselves
This is again a dream that has yet to become the reality that was envisioned. We live in a world where money equals power and so many people are effectively disenfranchised. We have created a country where we are categorized and divided along many lines.
Elected representative Government
We hold elections to decide who our representatives will be, but history tells us that once they get into office their main purpose is to stay in office rather than listen to the will of the people.
This has been the year when we have seen states gerrymandering their voter boundaries to ensure one party has the most votes in that area. We have seen it made more difficult to vote for the poor, infirm, and elderly in many states, thus skewing the results of the “free” elections.
It is time for “We The People” to make ourselves heard and get our country back on track.