Thursday, August 3, 2023

#215 / Are We Up To Democracy?


I trust we all know who is pictured above. That's former president Donald Trump. Among other things, our former president can now be identified as the defendant in a lawsuit brought in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, charging him with at least three major crimes. 

The fact that a Grand Jury of twenty-three persons chose to indict our former president was yesterday's major news item. Essentially, our former president is accused of violating various federal laws, in an effort to subvert the 2020 presidential election, and to retain the powers of the presidency despite the fact that he lost the 2020 presidential election to our current president, Joe Biden.

While we know who is pictured above, what we don't know, yet, is whether we are "up to democracy." Are we? That is the question now facing the nation, according to Jon Meacham, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer. Meacham holds the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Chair in the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, where he also co-chairs the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & Democracy.

Meacham's question (Are We Up To Democracy?) is quoted in an article by Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan's article appeared in yesterday's edition of The Washington Post. It was headlined, "Trump has been indicted before. Historians say this time is different."

Anyone wanting to read the indictment in its entirety can find a complete (and annotated) copy by clicking this link. A friend of mine, having read it before I did, sent the indictment to me, and called it "truly harrowing." Having now read the indictment myself, I agree with his evaluation. 

"Harrowing" means "acutely distressing or painful," and the actions that are outlined in the indictment are definitely both distressing and painful. Of course, the truth of the allegations against our former president must be proven in court, but a reading of the indictment is rather convincing. One does not get the impression that the prosecution has conjured up a story that is unsupported by the facts. It does appear that the most important elected official in the nation attempted, systematically and unrelentingly, to undermine the results of a democratic election, to remain in power no matter what.

What is most worrisome, for all those who prize democracy, is not, however, what has happened in the past. That is being dealt with. What worries people, what led to Meacham's question, is what might happen in the future. 

Our former president, having failed to subvert and overturn the election he lost in 2020, is now seeking the presidency again, in our upcoming presidential election, in 2024. No rational person, seeing how our former presendent acted when he lost last time, can do anything other than assume that he would make a similar attempt this time around, if he were to lose again.

Are we up to democracy? I actually think we are. Let's not spook ourselves out. We should be telling ourselves that - of course - we are "up to democracy." We know how to do it. We have been doing it for almost 250 years. 

In 2024, let's do it again!

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