We have heard of the fall of the Roman Empire, the decline of Egyptian civilization, and many more such historical collapses. At the same time, however, few ever thought that they would live to see a serious threat to the survival of the USA as a living experiment with pluralistic democracy.
Perhaps that attitude stems from America’s saturation with arrogant white supremacist thinking. Generations of Americans have been raised to believe that America was not only unique, but above the laws of history because of its whiteness. They have been raised to think of themselves as the saviors of the world. At the same time, it is ironic that this same concept – white supremacy – is also responsible for the internal condition that is threatening the survival of American democracy.
Yes, the stubbornness of white supremacist thinking today propels the battle for the very survival of genuine pluralistic democracy. There is a political battle on many fronts and it exists because white supremacists feel that in the absence of a white hegemony, America will lose its greatness and its destined future of political, economic, social, and military dominance. At the same time, others have come to realize that it is because of the multi-racial, multi-cultural contributions to its political, economic, social, and military development that America has become strong and prosperous and can only survive as such. Because of these contradictory beliefs then, a battle royale is on.
In reality, the battle has been on from the beginning of the European take over of this continent from the Native Americans in the 1600s. Last week’s news merely highlighted several examples of the state of the battle today and how critical it has become. Those items include (a) the continuing acceptance and spreading of the big lie that the recent presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump; (b) the continuing push by Republican legislatures to suppress the vote of Black and other likely Democratic voters, even to the point of overturning election results; (c) the use of the Senate filibuster rule to prevent the passage of new federal voting rights legislation; (d) the assent of the Supreme Court in the winnowing-away at the voting rights of Black and other voters who are supportive of pluralistic democracy; and (e) the refusal of congressional Republicans to even investigate the clear attacks on the building, the persons, and the concepts upholding the principles of American democracy.
Adolph Hitler most famously stated that the bigger the lie and the more widely and often it is told, the more likely are people to believe it. This helps one understand the Trump lie about the election being stolen. Many people hear it over and over again. Often, they view only one source of news, so they believe. This means that it becomes necessary to provide them with other news sources, even ones on the personal level. Messaging is important, especially on the personal and rational level. Although not all persons will be convinced, citizens must become involved in spreading the truth, informing other citizens, and calling Republican leaders to account for their spreading of lies. The current Republican agenda advances the destruction of genuine democracy.
Individual legislators and the state legislatures as bodies must be pressured to halt and/or change their voter suppression and election reversal efforts. The battle is national but must be waged on the local fronts. The suppression laws must be challenged in court and the responsible legislators must be removed. Unless these laws are destroyed, there can be no such thing as democracy in this country.
The Senate filibuster rule must be killed, by any means necessary. It is undemocratic and is used in such a way as to help destroy American democracy. With it in place, nothing progressive will be accomplished. Without it, Congress can pass and the president can sign new, expanded voting rights protection laws, which can supersede state laws and give the Supreme Court a new basis on which to deal with voting rights cases. Getting rid of the Senate filibuster rule can also make it easier to expand the Supreme Court to include more democratic-minded judges. Both outcomes would help preserve and advance democracy as has long been dreamed of by many American citizens.
Finally, Congress must continue its investigation into the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Once that investigation is over, the guilty parties, possibly including congresspersons, must be exposed and punished, and reforms put in place to strengthen the chances for democracy surviving and thriving. Additionally, other such investigations may need to be conducted, so that more of the American people can learn the full truth about the threat and be motivated to do whatever is necessary to pull the country back from the brink, enabling it to continue the march toward becoming a truly multi-racial, multi-cultural democracy.
There is nothing inevitable about America escaping the laws of politics that destroy democratic rule. Citizens must come to realize that nobody can save America from a fall or descent into racist authoritarianism or tyranny but them. There is not much time left for these realities to sink-in and bear fruit.