An American Democracy
At a critical time in American history, the nation is teetering on a ledge. It has been quite some time since its most sacred values and norms have come under assault. Institutions such as the press are told that its topical reporting is fake. The intelligence community is questioned for its legitimacy. The White House attacks other coequal branches, the bicameral legislature and the judiciary. Sometimes, it seems as if the nation has stepped back into a time of gloom and partiality.
Since January 21, 2017, Americans have consistently taken to the streets to protest a tyrannical individual that is considered a leader of the free world. The legislative body is in gridlock, despite the Republican Party having majorities in all three branches of government. The party is unwilling to pass comprehensive bipartisan bills that reflect the interest of the majority of Americans.
For the past year, there have been late night tweets and deleted ones, rants about global leaders and their anatomy, slurred speech and a medical report, failures and false starts, the media going down rabbit holes to chase irrelevant and meritless stories; and an ongoing inquiry of election conspiracy by a foreign power. Furthermore, the immigrant community is in a constant state of distress and psychological terror.
The nation’s political culture is being reshaped. What was once considered as normal is abnormal. What was once considered as consensual is nonconsensual. And, what was once considered tolerant is intolerant. The mass media and those that sit in high places are constructing our political knowledge and attitudes as if we are robots, inanimate beings. What is public opinion anymore? Which network stands on the side of investigation and neutrality? The media is a key institution in a civil society and a liberal democracy.
If citizens do not pay closer attention, they can become programmed to dysfunction! If citizens do not pay closer attention, the laws can change and feel like Jim Crow segregation has been resurrected. If citizens do not pay closer attention, immoral judgement can divide a nation along racial, geographical, and economic lines. If citizens do not pay closer attention, the current sociopolitical realities may be difficult to maintain and be lost.
The question must be raised, “How are Americans to live together while experiencing change and revolution?” Philosopher John Locke expressed that the legislature had limitations on its usage of power: (a) rule of law must apply to all; rich and poor; (b) laws are not arbitrary and oppressive, but for the good of the people; (c) not to raise taxes without the consent of their constituents; and (d) not to transfer its law making power to anyone else; whereas, executive power may be perilous and uncertain. Based on Locke’s statements, the United States is out of step with its values. An oligarchy is in place. Executive orders are oppressing religious and minority groups. An unsupported tax hike is going to be implemented in 2019. In addition, the chief executive is running roughshod.
The integrity of American democracy has to be aligned to the increasing diversity of its 327 million people. Red states and blue states alike believe that trust and efficacy have to be restored in the bureaucracy and the highest level of government. Political participation has to grow, not just during presidential election seasons. Transparency has to permeate. Women and minorities have to be fully integrated and proportionally represented in each level of government. Good governance has to rain down like water and greatness like a mighty stream. An American Democracy.