By Robert Raven
I’ve long had a replica of the Declaration of Independence, but it recently broke in two. Our democracy is likewise broken. The former president and his supporters refuse to accept their loss in a free and fair election, and violently tried to overthrow the results.
America’s democracy has evolved from a few wealthy and white Founding Fathers to include all adult citizens today. Our nation’s demographics are changing, with minorities gaining political power. Sadly, the GOP is trying to turn the clock back a century. Voter suppression disenfranchises people of color, and laws are again being passed in the same states that had racist Jim Crow laws. Democracy is in danger from enemies foreign and domestic. But most Americans want to go forward, not backwards.
We must quickly create a true democracy that truly represents the “Will of the People.”
It will take a non-violent tsunami of People Power to overcome Jim Crow 2.0 and save our democracy. Sonoma County had more than a 90% voter turnout, which could be the goal nationally. All elections should allow voting by mail, and be run and counted by non-partisan civil servants with a paper trail for recounts. Automatic registration of adult citizens, a national election day holiday and rank choice voting would raise participation.
Our political system has, from the beginning, been dominated by business interests, from Hamilton to the Gilded Age to today’s corporate lobbyists. Money has always corrupted our political system, and most political systems. Large contributions influence politicians to pass laws that benefit their major donors rather than the majority. Corrupt Congress fully funds the military industrial complex and subsidizes Big Oil and Big Ag, but then underfunds schools and the programs that help millions of struggling Americans.
This corruption has led to endless wars that suck up half of our tax dollars, while fossil fuels are causing climate calamities. Investors make money by driving all of us towards the dystopian cliff of nuclear war and ecosystem, food and societal collapse. Look up!
The next evolution of our democracy should be to ban non-citizens such as corporations and PACs from funding our political system. Registered voters could contribute, within financial limits and with disclosures. Only citizens would participate in a true republic.
This might be utopian, but so was the idea of a democracy in 1776. Our democracy has come a long way since then, and we now have a Black woman VP and Latinx senators.
Get involved in any way you can! Become an advocate on local, state, national or global issues. People should speak up for nature or if they see an injustice. Organize with others, run for office and vote like democracy—and maybe our lives—depend on it.
Robert Raven lives in Petaluma. His website is everythingismc2.org.