Can America’s Democracy be saved?

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Crazy Faith Ministries

In watching the antics, practices and actions of the current administration, it is apparent that American democracy is under attack.

Just last week, in venting frustration about immigrants coming across the southern border of the United States, the president said that the country needs to get rid of its judges, as reported by The Washington Post. It has been one of the benchmarks of this administration that the president has made unilateral decisions via Twitter, letting the Congress, the American people and the world know at the same time what “he” wants to do, as noted by NYMAG.com.

This president demands loyalty, as has been the practice of autocratic leaders throughout history; he has put into key positions people who are loyal to him and not to the country, and in the United States senate, Mitch McConnell serves as the leader not of democratic principles and practices, but rather as a partisan whose only agenda is to make this country lean as far right as it can, as noted by Politico.

The Democrats are trying to exercise and practice congressional oversight, but because the Senate is still controlled by the Republicans, they are getting less traction than they might have. And even if they were to achieve some of their goals, anything that is distasteful to his president would most likely go to the US Supreme Court, which now has two Trump appointees who would most certainly write opinions that would honor his beliefs, not the needs of the people.

And then there is the church. Evangelicals have thrown support to this president, seemingly abandoning Christian principles that including taking care of “the least of these.” The Christian left is trying to interject its voice in all that is going on, but that voice is largely ignored as it has been for years. Evangelicals placed themselves in the center of all and anything religious years back, touting its self-proclaimed moral superiority which has historically supported racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia, for starters.

With federal lawmakers acting as perfect sycophants and lackeys, with a Senate which is hell-bent on being loyal to the president and to the cause of making America “right” again, and with religions which support the notion of governing the masses and not just upholding justice and fairness for a few, I wonder if this democracy can be saved. Add to the list of concerns is this president’s attacks on the press, calling it the “enemy of the people,” all the while supporting Fox News, which some believe is already state television, and the concern grows.

In the book, How Democracies Die, authors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Zieblatt write that too many Americans are in denial of what is going on. They write, “Our Constitution, our national creed of freedom and equality, our historically robust middle class, our high levels of wealth and education, and our large, diversified private sectors – all these should inoculate us from the kind of democratic breakdown that has occurred elsewhere … We sorry. American politicians now treat their rivals, as enemies, intimidate the free press, and threaten to reject the results of elections.” And that’s just for starters.

The breakdown of democracies has a trend of beginning with the people. “We the people” elect the leaders whose goal is to break democracy so that autocracy and/or oligarchy can exist. Democracies in Germany, Italy, Chile, Venezuela, Poland, Russia, Nicaragua, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Turkey have fallen, a process that began by the electorate voting them into office.

America has a problem in that this country was never meant to be a place where there would be “liberty and justice for all.” Our U.S. Constitution was placed in a cradle of white supremacy and sexism. Democracy was never intended to be fair for all people. And religion in this country was supportive of racism and sexism and more of the “isms,” meaning that the very institutions on which “we the people” depend have been a problem from the beginning. Frederick Douglass said that the Constitution was flawed from the beginning, with writers touting freedom for all while enslaving Americans. We are trying to force a circle into a square but it will never fit. The flaws of the Constitution, coupled with religion that has long been compromised by its sanction of bigotry on so many levels, has left a mass of people with a confused mindset.

All that being said, it feels like our democracy is on a slippery slope, spiraling downward while very religious and “patriotic” Americans watch helplessly. I hope that whoever runs for president in 2020 will concentrate on issues that are already badly affecting far too many Americans and not on the person named Trump. I hope that if the current president loses there will be a peaceful transfer of power, and I hope that if he loses, this country, egged on by the president, will not descend into violence.

I hope this democracy can be saved.

Rev Dr. Susan K Smith is available to preach, and give workshops or hold seminars on the issue of how religion and politics have been ineffective in destroying racism. She is working on a book on the subject at this time. To book her, visit revsuekim@sbcglobal.net or visit http://www.crazyfaithministries.org.

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