DEMOCRACY

Democracy is a social and governmental system that allows for the people to be in charge of their own life, with restrictions, to allow for minority opinions and to protect those in the minority. There are those who say that the United States is not a democracy but a republic which is a misnomer. It is true the US is not a pure democracy in the sense that everyone has a voice in every decision, but rather it has taken the form of a representative democracy where everyone has the chance to elect a body that will represent the views and wishes of the population. This is the way it is suppose to work, in reality in this day and time we have entered into an era of identity politics, were ideology supersedes all. It could be argued that we have always been a nation of identity politics in so much as we have generally voted along party lines, those lines were laid down for us by our parents. This is not set in stone as my parents were liberal democrats and I am a conservative republican, but it fits a general pattern. Today however we have taken a broad set of party ideologies and reduced them to small very exclusive alliances. 

It is important to understand what we mean when we say democracy. Considering the ongoing political situation regarding the Presidential Election we have heard many on the left declare that what Trump is doing is trying to destroy democracy. We have heard this over and over in the last four years that everything he does is an attack on democracy. The fact is that what he is doing and the way he is doing it is purely democratic in nature. Much of what is argued and the way it is presented by the left is in fact attempts to subvert democracy at its core.

The individuals right to challenge the government is at the center of all we hold dear. When Donald J Trump feels that there has been criminal activity that has cost him the election, he has every right to say so. If he can show indicators of criminal activity, he has the right to bring them to the attention of the public and ask that it be investigated. Once an investigation is begun then evidence will be found or it will come to a point, such as the Mueller investigation, that there is no or insufficient evidence for a further criminal investigation. To deny him this right is to deny all citizens the protection of the law.

As stated, if there is sufficient circumstantial belief that there was a crime then it is incumbent on the state to investigate and to gather evidence. To say at this point that there is no evidence, so we don’t need to investigate turns the process on its head. To say that Donald Trump is destroying democracy because he is causing people to doubt the government is the opposite of what we should be teaching our children. Instead of banning books such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Adventures of Huck Finn” we should be encouraging students to read. To end the small-minded concepts that drive identity politics and group think we should reintroduce such readings as “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine and “The Federalist Papers.”  We should encourage the teachings of Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, and others to reintroduce the philosophies that drove the founding fathers to bring democratic government to the new country.

If it is true that democracy will die, not with a bang but a whimper, we must take an unbiased look at how the country is moving forward.   

Many have claimed that Trump is the archetype of authoritarian personality using populism to subvert democracy. But how does this square with the dictionary definitions of the two terms.

Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasize the idea of “the people” and often juxtapose this group against “the elite”. … Populist parties and social movements are often led by charismatic or dominant figures who present themselves as the “voice of the people”.

The authoritarian personality is a personality type characterized by a need for extreme obedience and unquestioning respect for and submission to the authority of a person external to the self, which is realized through the oppression of subordinate people.  

When Trump appeals to the people on a base level of us against them it is indeed populism. On the other hand, when he moves to reduce taxes and remove regulations, he is in fact the anti-authoritarian. When he demands that the states accept their responsibilities to their population, this again is not an authoritarian personality. While ignoring these points the left will point out that he fires people on a whim and demands loyalty from those around him is evidence of authoritarianism. It may be in the micro sense of his management style, but it does not appear to affect his leadership style.

To the point of democracy, the Washington Post changed its banner in 2016 to read “democracy dies in darkness.” It does indeed which is why we have a free press. But a free press is only effective when it is free of major bias and reports the news without editorial comment. Today we are caught in a situation were the Republicans are claiming fraud and cyber manipulation in the vote counts in several key states. Most in the mainstream media have responded to these claims as unfounded, without evidence or debunked. The truth is there are in fact convincing circumstantial evidence that something may have occurred to impact the vote count.  It maybe something significant or nothing at all, but it needs to be investigated at the very least. If there is in fact something very wrong going on that will require the results to change it will be catastrophic since instead of reporting what the claims are and what evidence has been brought to light the media has downplayed it. This will result in a major backlash in the country for those who are being told there is no evidence, and everything has been debunked. Then democracy will truly have died in darkness.

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