Last bastion of democracy – and decency strikes back

In the next couple of days, America’s great experiment of democracy is at risk of failing. In 1776, disgusted with monarchy and fearful that the US would succumb to tyranny, our Founding Fathers set up a three-branch system of government. Today it faces its greatest challenge, the stress of which is shredding the very fabric of our society.

Executive branch: The executive branch is under a Republican right-wing President who consults no-one, listens to no-one, and calls his own top scientist Dr. Fauci “a disaster.” This is a leader who has repeatedly refused to condemn racism and even encouraged it: he said to white supremacists group (Proud Boys) in a televised debate, “Stand down and stand by!” He has lied repeatedly, accumulating according to a Washington Post tracker, over two thousand lies in public.

Legislative: After being caught red-handed using government funds to extort Ukraine’s government Mitch McConnell. The Legislature was highjacked by the Senate majority leader who quashed the vast majority of bills from the House. The Republican Senate majority represents only 48% of the US population. Therefore, the US legislature no longer represents the will of the American people.

Judicial: Attorney General William Barr made a mockery of a long drawn out corruption investigation by Mueller. In an April interview with Fox News he said that the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia were “without any basis”, and an attempt to sabotage Mr. Trump’s presidency. Thus he acted like Mr. Trump’s mouthpiece.

The judiciary has been stacked by Trump appointees with a non-secular right-wing agenda. The Supreme Court struck down Citizens United, allowing millions of dollars of anonymous donations to be pumped into the political-electoral system.

In July 2020 SCOTUS ruled to disallow votes from ‘faithless’ electoral college voters who voted their conscience against the state majority. Packed with 6 Catholic justices, SCOTUS is already broken. In a country where only 22% are of Catholic faith, this majority can threaten women’s right to their own bodies and dismantle the health insurance of 20 million of our citizens. Once revered, SCOTUS appears on the verge of losing all credibility with Amy Coney Barrett getting confirmed to the court mere days before an election.

Policemen have got away with killings of innocents (mainly black males) as police immunity continues to allow indiscriminate shootings. Black people are overwhelmingly disadvantaged in the legal system with unfair arrests and incarceration.  Without reform in policing, greater and greater civil unrest can be expected. And when hundreds if not thousands of children were forcibly separated from their parents at the border, and their parents forcibly deported, Christian faith leaders have failed to denounce such evil.

What remains among the tatters of our institutions? The free press. Freedom of expression. Thousands of hard-working journalists have struggled through the months of turmoil to bring us the facts. While Mr. Trump’s cohorts continue to parrot him, often creating their own alternate realities, the press persistently and politely puts forward statistics and interviews to hold up an unvarnished mirror. This is the last bastion of our democracy.

Is it enough to bring us back from the brink to a place of decency and honesty? Can we demand a minimum moral threshold in the person who holds our highest office? This election is so very important because it is doubtful that our democracy can survive four more years of Mr. Trump.

Yes, there is hope. The Lincoln Project has brought numerous Republicans who believe in decency and integrity to vote for Mr. Biden. Repelled by rampant cronyism, Americans may reject many Republican senators on the ballot.

Our best hope lies in ordinary Americans  – black, white, immigrant, male, female, young or old – who are noble and honest. We can be deluded, for a while. But we tend to wise up.

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