What’s Happening To Our Country? Fewer Republicans Believe Living in American Democracy is Important
As I do most mornings, I start my day by reviewing various internet news sites to prepare for what will be dozens of conversations about issues with people throughout our 8th District. Most days, these conversations center on a few major topics: healthcare, education, the economy and government programs that provide a safety net for families, senior citizens, veterans and the truly needed. Sure, occasionally, there are times when purely partisan issues are brought up and I don’t shy away from sharing my frank opinions about these issues.
In recent days, and again this morning, the hard news of the day is taking a back seat to discussions of civility, ignoring the increasing threat to our American democracy being brought about by increasing partisan divisions. I’d rather focus less on who was being thrown out of another Washington restaurant overnight, or yet another video of someone being verbally assaulted because of their race or ethnicity, and focus more on the larger issue: our American democracy appears to be broken.
On the very day the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the President’s travel ban, a new poll commissioned by George W. Bush and Joe Biden reported that half of Americans think the United States is in “real danger of becoming a non-democratic, authoritarian country.” A majority, 55 percent, see democracy as “weak” – and 68 percent believe it is “getting weaker.” Eight in 10 Americans say they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the condition of democracy here. You can read the report here: https://www.democracyprojectreport.org/report
I’m deeply worried about the health of our democracy and the crisis in confidence to repair the damage brought about by Donald Trump’s polarizing approach to the presidency. I signed a civility pledge when I began my campaign and I’ve honored that pledge even in the face of daily tweets and speeches from the President and his supporters that sometimes cause me to shake my head in disbelief. I’ve respectfully asked my Republican opponent to distance himself from the President's comments. Instead, he stands with the President. This blind submission is not what we need to fix America.
Part of the responsibility for Americans declining optimism in our country is directly tied to money and its influence on our elected representatives. In the new poll, 8 in 10 Americans think “the influence of money in politics” is getting worse, rather than better. Three in 4 Americans think that “the laws enacted by our national government these days mostly reflect what powerful special interests and their lobbyists want.” One of the people who participated in the poll had it right, saying:. “Greed and power are so dangerous. It’s so rampant right now. Whoever has the most money is going to be the most powerful.”
In the very first days of my campaign I said if you were looking for the candidate who could raise the most amount of money that wasn’t going to be me. I did say that I would listen carefully to the issues that were central in people’s lives and offer my honest opinions and intentions to work diligently to approve legislation to make real and positive change.
But, each day we’re reminded that negative influences are preventing any unified leadership. Even when it comes to the future of our country. According to the Bush-Biden survey, Americans overwhelmingly still support the concept of democracy and believe it’s important to keep the system we’ve inherited. That’s in contrast to the years before World War II, when many people got caught under the spell of communism and fascism. Asked to rank the importance of living in a democracy on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being “absolutely important,” 60 percent picked 10 in the new poll. Overall, 84 percent picked a number between six and 10. Among Democrats, it was 92 percent. Among Republicans, it was 81 percent. Why do Republicans rank the importance so low?
I agree with former President Bush when he says “The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand.” We have a crisis in leadership, with enough blame to be shared by members of both major political parties. While we watch reports of the latest administration official being thrown out of a restaurant or theater, or another video assault on some minority – or even the evolving tragedy of forced separation - the real work of dismantling our public institutions continues in the halls of Congress and the Supreme Court.
There’s still six weeks remaining in this primary election season. My fight to bring about necessary changes to stop the assault on our freedoms by Donald Trump and his Republican Party is not nearing its end. With your ongoing help and support, our fight to preserve this American democracy is moving forward…..stronger than ever.