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Democracy in Decline

Updated: May 9, 2022

America’s democracy, its position as a world leader and its values are under attack by our own governmental leaders and our adversaries — namely Russia, North Korea, Iran and China. When you consider the events and challenges that have taken place since January 2016, the world wonders what Americans stand for. Actions taken by President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republican Congressional members have been emulated by Republican lawmakers in North Carolina, as evidenced by the N.C. House vote taken to override the budget veto of Gov. Roy Cooper.

On Sept. 11, a day for honoring those who fell that fateful day in 2001, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) misled House Democrats and the press by telling them the House would not hold a vote at the morning session. Unfortunately, they did hold the vote while most of the Democrats were away honoring the fallen of 9/11. The Washington Post accurately said, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Kudos to Rep. Deb Butler (D-Brunswick, New Hanover), who would not yield her voice in speaking out against this attack on fairness and democracy.

This is not democracy as “we the people” have believed as stated in our U.S. Constitution. The N.C. Republicans have learned well from their party leader, Trump, who has made lying and misdirection a common practice. We expect more from the our president. The Washington Post reports that President Trump has over 12,000 recorded lies and falsehoods. Not only has the president misspoken thousands of times, his actions have challenged the decency and democracy he has sworn to protect by acting in the interest of himself, his political voting base and his family.

Here is a sampling of some of the president’s actions:

  • Claiming the media is “the enemy of the people.”

  • Trump and McConnell refuse legislation to protect our citizens from gun assaults by not tackling the issue of background checks, which 83% of gun owners support.

  • Trump advocating for Russia against the will of the democratic nations of the G7 and blaming an American president for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and occupation of Crimea.

  • Trump ignores the missile tests of Kim Jong Un of North Korea.

  • Trump ignores the deficit and we find out the Republicans are not truly financial conservatives.

  • Trump enriched himself with the almost 300 days at his clubs at the expense of the American public.

  • The President appears to not recognize Puerto Rico as an American territory.

  • Trump is fighting through the courts to keep his federal taxes from the view of the American public, despite the audit claim which does not prevent disclosure.

  • Trump’s continued waffling and obedience to the NRA on background checks to stop the gun violence and carnage in the nation.

  • Trumps embrace of white nationalism.

  • Taking away citizenship of children born out of country for military personnel.

  • Potential witness tampering in the Manafort trial.

  • Separating children from their parents, some whom may never reunite.

  • Placing limits on immigration based on who will likely use public benefits.

  • Ethical violations with Attorney General William Barr paying the Trump hotel in DC over $30,000 for his Christmas party.

  • Demeaning and hijacking Colin Kaepernick’s legal protest of police killings of unarmed black men, with a bogus claim of disrespecting the military.

  • Trump’s support of Vladimir Putin over U.S. government intelligence experts.

The question for us as Americans is: Are we the beacon of hope? Or are we the bullies of the world? Are we the people who turn our backs to children; to immigrants who seek political asylum from tyranny in their home countries, which the Supreme Court has voted to support. We can impact this president over the remainder of his term by going to the polls and electing legislators who will provide the oversight that the Constitution requires. The upcoming state legislature and gubernatorial elections in some states this year and in North Carolina next year will affect redistricting after the 2020 Census. This will have a tremendous impact on the near-term future of the nation in shaping the political balance of Congress.

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks the United States 25th on the Democracy Index and is listed as a “flawed” democracy. North Korea comes in with a score of “0”, yet our president continues to support its brutal dictator. The Democracy Index reports that U.S. deterioration in the functioning government category is primarily due to political polarization and weakening of public confidence in institutions. The report states that Trump has tapped into partisan tensions in an effort to rally his conservative political and voter base around the sensitive issues of immigration and security. Basically, stoking fears with the American electorate.

What are we as Americans going to do to protect our state, the republic and the future of our children?

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