A Threat to Our Democracy

A Threat to Our Democracy

On a fourth grade field trip to the historic triangle of Virginia—Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg—I purchased in the gift shop a copy of the Declaration of Independence printed on parchment paper. For my young eyes it looked like a real historic document even though it was just a copy. What intrigued me most about it from my classroom studies was the notion that all people are created equal. That was important to me. As a country boy growing up with very modest means I wanted to believe that I could be a leader in my community or state just as those men who signed the Declaration were.

I framed my copy of the Declaration in a much-too-small frame that I had painted with the silver paint from my making plastic models. It hung on the wall in my bedroom for the almost decade I was still living at home. It and the ideas it inspired were part of my dedicating nearly a half century of my life to public service.

I believe all persons are created equal with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe “we the people” in our constitution has a very real meaning. I believe in democracy. Those are the reasons I have become increasingly concerned over the last few years about real threats to our democracy and why the speech President Biden made to the Nation last week resonated with me so much.

If you did not hear the President’s speech, I recommend you take the time to listen to it at https://www.cbsnews.com/philadelphia/video/watch-president-bidens-full-speech-at-independence-hall/

The President said that “equality and democracy are under assault. We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise.” He went on to say that “we must be honest with each other and with ourselves. Too much of what’s happening in our country is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundation of our Republic.” He made it clear that he is not talking about all or even a majority of Republicans but rather those who are election deniers and insurrectionists.

Once we acknowledge the threats we face, I believe and the President said that we can overcome them:

“But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can, we are not powerless in the face of these threats. We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy. There are far more Americans… who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it. And folks, it’s within our power, it’s in our hands, yours and mine, to stop the assault on American democracy.”

The words of the Declaration set a course for our future. Our history has been one of expanding opportunities and inclusion. We cannot let anyone at the state or national levels close the door of democracy. Together, we can overcome the threats to our democracy. Election day is coming up soon. Vote in your congressional district and consider helping candidates outside your district who are needed  to end the threat to our democracy.