What follows is an editorial about us. Written by Jan Erskine, it made rounds among a circle of friends and family, and found its way to me. I’m reproducing it here with permission.
It’s not enough to blame President Trump or even President Trump and the GOP. We have all been complicit in undermining our Democracy.
- When we bitterly complain about our ineffectual elected leaders and then re-elect them, we add to the anger and disdain that fueled President Trump’s election.
- When we ignore the growing influence of the lobbyists and the entanglements of businesses with politicians, we give away our rights as individuals to expect those we elect to represent our interests.
- When we watch “reality tv”, we blur the lines between the real and the untrue and give rise to the news media that no longer are unbiased, or grounded in ferreting out the truth.
- When we let our state politicians redistrict to ensure that the party favorites win, we dismantle our Democracy’s foundation of one person one vote.
- When we rail against taxes without understanding how we fund essential services we undercut our nations ability to function.
- When we turn our heads while the super rich take more and more control over the election process, we disenfranchise citizens struggling to get by.
- When we disparage unions and think that we don’t need the force and protection that comes from being united, we erode hard won benefits and add to the disparity between the rich and the 99%.
- When we spread unverified facts and cruel political slogans via social media without ever thinking about the consequences, we veer further from reasoned debate and deeper into divided vitriol.
- When we allow politicians to pass laws that enable the rich to get richer and to escape retribution for causing millions to get much poorer, we ensure the downtrodden will begin to throw stones.
- When we disproportionately portray Blacks as violent law breakers who use drugs, assault and maim, be it on the news or on The Wire, we allow Whites to feel superior and justified in their hatred and mistreatment.
- When we falsely cast Hispanics as rapists and murders who stole jobs and would eventually steal our very country, we ignore the companies that need those workers or want to pay workers less.
- When we snicker that of course boys will be boys, we give rise to a culture that believes women can be sexually abused by men and their abilities and intellect denigrated.
- When we let our school systems abandon their role in educating us in how a democracy works and what our rights and responsibilities are, we erode the citizen knowledge base our country needs in order to govern itself.
In my darkest moments I think it’s too late. We’ve already turned ourselves into something that no longer can call itself a Democracy. And that we’ve all done it to ourselves. I only hope I’m wrong.
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