America as a democracy struggles intensely. Elected members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives have created an allegiance to a extremist group still claiming the Republican label but essentially a political party divided within itself. The dominant remnant of this group proclaims an extreme right agenda and follows a leader with no relationship or understanding of the needs of the general populace. The traditional party line of minimal size government and lower taxation is relegated to a slogan.
The Republican agenda in Congress has deteriorated to doing nothing. During the term of President Trump although controlling both houses of Congress succeeded only in a most significant tax reduction. The wealthy were given a large gift with a short term bone for the middle class. This group did also approve three Supreme Court justices of questionable ability with the most conservative legal views. Does any of that actually improve our quality of life or address the needs of working people?
Perhaps this destructive dynamic is occurring not only throughout the 50 states but has extended its tentacles throughout Europe. The issues that need to have priority are climate change, health, refugees clamoring at all our borders, cost of living for all, peace in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Asian continent for starters. Our focus gravitates to vaccinations, masks due to the corona virus erroneously referred to as freedom deprivation and the ill conceived supremacy of the white race.
Democracy can flourish or die based upon the perceptions of people. When our perceptions are driven by fear, essentially fear of the unknown, we suffer the greatest risk. Here in the United States we fear immigrants taking our jobs, jobs most Americans would not choose to do. We fear African-Americans even though we may not know many or live in parts of the country that are overwhelmingly populated by caucasians. Organized labor has brought better jobs, pay, benefits and working conditions to thousands but we continue to be anti-union. Meanwhile corporations and higher paid white collar workers maintain memberships in organizations that fight to protect their income. These same groups work to insure that wages and benefits for workers are controlled. Opposition to unemployment benefits is a high priority but less so to public social benefits such as food stamp type programs. Those keep the clamor more tempered and acceptance of lower pay by workers as tolerable.
Much of the right wing, particularly the more extreme, claim a connection with a god. Many in the Western World cling to Christianity as a rationale for what in many instances is anything but Christ-like behavior. There are others who acknowledge Christianity as a part of their lives and do spiritually attempt to follow the teachings of Christ. We see a similar dichotomy in other religions and their adherents such as Islam for one. This portends the greatest threat to Democracy when these distorted beliefs are incorporated into civil law and imposes religious beliefs on all even non-believers.
Have we reached the place of no return? Are our nations veering full speed into authoritarianism or even anarchy? If we tamp on the brakes will we slow down? Many of us accept as a given that which we hear or read. Do we believe it or is it simply easier to agree with it? We may even know it is incorrect and most assuredly false but acceptance necessitates much less effort than thinking. The Age of Enlightenment has long past. The age of thinking for ourselves must begin. Leaders are elected to hold public office and to act in our best interest. None are elected to think for us. If we choose to think for ourselves, perhaps we may actually find leaders who want to defend and perpetuate our Democracy.