“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”–Edmund Burke
“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens…You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very … there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control.” –Donald Trump, September 24, 2020.
Last night in response to this statement, Congressman Adam Schiff called on all Republicans who are currently part of the Administration to put country over party and resign. He declared: “There is no question he [Trump] means exactly what he said. And people fail to take it seriously at our national peril. This is a moment that I would say to any Republican of good conscience working in the administration — it is time for you to resign,”
Legendary newscaster Dan Rather on his Facebook page said:
“There is no more time for silence. There is no more time for choosing party over country. There is no more time for weighing the lesser of two evils. All women and men of conscience must speak or they are complicit in America lurching towards a dangerous cliff of autocracy and chaos.
This is a moment of reckoning unlike any I have seen in my lifetime.”
So what happens in the next few days and weeks mean the most. Will Republicans in Congress finally break with Trump if they believe that he both threatens democracy AND threatens their ability to be re-elected? Will Trump’s followers even think this is a bad thing? Do Americans actually think that democracy is important?
A Harvard study published in The Journal of Democracy in 2017 found that more than a quarter of U.S. millennials felt that free elections are not important. This might help explain why voting levels by young people are so abysmally low. Perhaps they have taken living in a democracy for granted and not felt a need to protect it. Perhaps the hallmark for the way of life of so much of America is actually consumerism and that civil society is far down the list of priorities or even awareness.
For me, the importance of living in a democracy is paramount. The hallmark of a democracy is (confidence in) free and fair elections and a peaceful transition of power. This has been the norm for the U.S. (with the exception of Bush v. Gore which certainly seemed to me that the election was undercut by the Supreme Court). So, the only thing that I can do at this juncture is everything I personally can to get out the vote. When I created The Autocrat’s Playbook in 2018, I did it as a call to action for what I saw happening to our country. But, can I say that I imagined that it could actually be this bad?