Let’s start with a definition, from Britannica. “Republic, form of government in which a state is ruled by representatives of the citizen body. Modern republics are founded on the idea that sovereignty rests with the people, though who is included and excluded from the category of the people has varied across history.”
We have to go by variously studied and analyzed versions of the oft quoted phrase of Benjamin Franklin who, on exiting the Constitutional Convention, was asked what kind of government we were to be given, monarchy or republic. Franklin’s reply was “A republic if you can keep it.”
More than two centuries later we find ourselves still trying to keep it.
As of the moment 14 states have passed bills to restrict voting, using the premise that there was some sort of adulteration of the 2020 election. There wasn’t, but this “Big Lie” has been repeated so often now that those of marginal analytical skills think it is true.
The Republican state legislatures that have passed these bills actually could care less whether there is any truth to Trump’s fable. It just gives them a hook to marry themselves to the core of white supremacists who support him.
Complicating matters is the coup talk of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. We are already dealing with an irrational group of people who consider the American Government the mortal enemy of America. And here we have a former three-star general calling for a coup on the pattern of a military junta that already has a record of voter suppression, election invalidation, the murder of protesters and genocide.
It is those of weak mind that gravitate toward authoritarian rule. There is not really much intellectual difference between the followers of ISIS, the Taliban, Nazis and white supremacists. And that is the chill that encompasses us as the voter suppression activities of these legislatures move forward. They pander to this deadly mentality.
Yesterday more than 100 scholars of democracy issued a letter warning “that our entire democracy is now at risk.” These scholars make this ominous statement, “When democracy breaks down, it typically takes many years, often decades, to reverse the downward spiral. In the process, violence and corruption typically flourish, and talent and wealth flee to more stable countries, undermining national prosperity. It is not just our venerated institutions and norms that are at risk—it is our future national standing, strength, and ability to compete globally.”
It is for this reason this article is lead by the image of the American flag upside down. This is the universally recognized symbol of distress. Spike Lee used this as the final image in his film BlacKkKlansman. And of course we are dealing with those same elements nationally—intolerance for anything but a fabricated ideal of an American that was never real.
As the scholars above noted, there is a specific remedy:
“We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary—including suspending the filibuster—in order to pass national voting and election administration standards that both guarantee the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want. Our democracy is fundamentally at stake. History will judge what we do at this moment.”
We need to push for this by any and all methods of communication. The two roadblocks to this are Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. It is time to flood these two with pressure. There’s a lot at stake.