In countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and many others, one man or group of men (it’s always men, never women) control the people, their actions & behaviours. But in a democracy, a true democracy, it is the voice of the majority that determines the laws of the land. The United States was founded as a Democratic Republic, which is somewhat different than a pure democracy. In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected. In a democratic republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority as well as those of the majority.
Today in the United States, it is the will of the minority that is trampling all over the rights of the majority. The majority of people (60%) in the U.S. are for stricter gun regulations, yet there is no movement in this direction. The majority of people (54%, with only 28% wishing to overturn it, with 18% who don’t care one way or the other) are in favour of maintaining Roe v Wade, supporting women’s rights, yet the Supreme Court is fully poised to overturn Roe. The majority of the people (66%) in this country support Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ program to help people who were financially affected by the pandemic, yet Congress trashed it. 70% of all voters were in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last year, yet Congress also trashed both of those. So … we can only conclude that the minority is dominating the majority and that is NOT in keeping with ANY form of democratic principles!
A few weeks ago, I reblogged Brosephus’ post titled America Is Dead. At the time, I qualified my view of it, saying that I still had hope for this nation to rebound and that I would continue fighting with renewed resolve to restore the rights and will of the people – the majority of the people. But yet again, I am discouraged, for it seems that the people in this nation today are so divided that there is no longer a UNITED States of America, but that we should change the name to the DIVIDED States of America. In truth, it is almost as if there are two completely separate sub-species of humans living here. We laud Abraham Lincoln for ending the Civil War, for bringing the nation back under one umbrella, but today we are as divided as we were in the 19th century.
Our friend Keith, who is among the most reasonable men I know, suggests we do more to open the lines of communications between the two sides, initiating dialogue, calmly asking those with opinions different from our own why they think as they do, and finding common ground, areas where we can compromise. I agree with Keith’s premise, but is there so much as a square inch of common ground remaining these days? It seems to me that the common ground was the first casualty of the great divide. My concern is that there will be many more casualties of that great divide in the future.
Every day it seems that more and more schools and communities are banning certain books, even classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, or To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. WHY? I first heard the claim that such books made white children ‘feel bad’ about how Blacks were treated back in the day, but of late, it is said that the books are being banned because they make Black children feel bad about themselves. Either one is naught but an excuse for the reality which is that white supremacists do not want the next generation to be taught about the racism that has been a part of this country since before its founding. Do they honestly think the children won’t learn about it anyway? Isn’t it far better to have a compassionate teacher explain what happened, why it was wrong, and how we have worked throughout the past century to rectify it? How can you simply cut a piece of history out of the history books? How will they explain what Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Malcom X and others were fighting for when those who are children today reach high school and college? So, I argue that books cannot be banned in schools and libraries, except perhaps books like Fifty Shades of Grey.
But my voice is not heard, more books are being banned daily, and if I were independently wealthy, I would mail a copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman to every child under the age of 12 in the nation. Maus is a nonfiction graphic novel that depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, yet the book is banned in a number of places. Are we also, in addition to trying to erase our racist past, trying to erase the Holocaust, or anti-Semitism, or even World War II??? Are people really so narrow-minded that they believe our children won’t learn these things, one way or another. And even more to the point, do they seek a return to those things such as extreme racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and violence against any who don’t fit into their own views? For that is exactly where we are headed if we hide the reality of the past from the next generation. It’s almost as if some have looked at the steps forward of the past 50-70 years and decided it was too much, that they wanted a ‘reset’ button to take them … take us all … back to the 1950s, the days of Happy Days television show, the days of segregated diners, segregated schools, and school prayer forced upon every child.
America’s claim to fame has been that it was a nation of immigrants, a diverse nation, but today it seems we want to erase that, to become a homogeneous country where everyone thinks, looks, and acts exactly the same. How terrible, how boring, and how surreal that would be.
Those who wish for more, rather than fewer civil rights, who wish to keep Roe, Obergefell, Brown, and other Court rulings that have given rights to those who were once without, are not trying to force their way on others. For example, and I’ve said this many times, if you don’t believe that abortion is right, then you are free not to have an abortion! If you do not like same-sex marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex! Nobody, but nobody is forcing anyone to have an abortion or marry someone of their same gender. But it is those with narrow minds and shallow views who would force the rest of us into their very small, dark box. I don’t wish to live in that small, dark, terrible box, nor would I wish it on anyone else.
I thought we were better than this. Obviously, I was wrong.