There are threats to our representative democracy, but that isn’t the news. There have always been threats to our representative democracy and if reasonable people make reasonable decisions we will reach reasonable solutions. The danger is the when the power of the fringe faction overwhelms the power of the reasonable mass. In our current political environment the following are the tools of the fringe faction and their use elevates the real and potential danger to democratic principals.
Gerrymandering: The purposeful drawing of political boundaries to maximize the influence of a ruling minority over an overall majority. The danger and very real effect of this practice is that the will of the majority is thwarted and the primary election becomes the de facto election. When this occurs the power of the fringe is magnified and the power of the mass is diminished. The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.
Voter Suppression: Voter suppression is disguised as a reasonable practice to prevent voter fraud. The only fraud in the voter fraud argument is that there is voter fraud. It does not exist. People who don’t have the right to vote, simply don’t vote. Heck, the people who have the right to vote... don’t vote. And there is the rub. So few people vote that preventing someone from voting is as powerful as getting someone to vote. This is especially true if a faction targets those that are unlikely to vote for faction in the first place. The most fundamental right of an American citizen is access to the ballot. Those that work contrary to this right are the most base opportunists. The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.
Unfettered Campaign Finance: The argument is that dollars = speech. That premise is false. Speech = speech. Dollars = access, influence, coercion, special consideration and media time. If we believe in the premise of one person - one vote, then that requires limits on those who individually have the resources of 100’s or even 1,000’s of people. To not do so is to abandon democracy for oligarchy. The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.
The Attack on Public Education: Key to a thriving democracy is an educated citizenry. An educated citizenry questions, thinks, considers and votes with reason and reflection. For a faction that is afraid of a growing populace that does not look like them, the last thing the faction wants is for those they deem different making mass, educated decisions at the ballot box. When a faction defunds, devalues and debases public education, the faction diminishes access and opportunities to those who most need it, and who coincidentally have the most compelling reasons to question the status quo. The solution is to oppose the practice and not to vote for its proponents.
This post is in no way a partisan attack. In fact, in the recent past, both parties have been guilty of engaging in each of the dangerous practices I have presented. Which is why I have always voted a split ticket. I don’t vote party. I vote for the smartest candidate that most consistently plays by the rules that are best for the country. And that is why the threats I have listed could fade away almost overnight. All it takes is more of the collective us not only voting, but voting with consideration and reflection.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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