By Tony Farkas
More and more anymore, phrases like “threat to our democracy” and “destruction of our democracy” are cropping up in the national discussion, be it in debate or social media or conversations with friends of opposing political beliefs.
It should go without saying that we’re not a democracy, but a republic, in which we elect others to represent us to our government. But democracy or republic, it’s my thought that ship already has sailed, and we’re just now waking up to that.
For instance, many school board in the country have embraced the fallacy that children are able to not only determine their gender but can demand that people address them with proper pronouns, and, with the blessing of elected board members, the parents don’t have to be informed.
Parents who confront these boards are either arrested or removed from board meetings, and many districts, including districts in Texas, have enacted policies allowing the removal of people that are deemed disruptive or threatening.
It’s been posited, and now proven, that the federal government has either through intimidation or cooperation censored dissenting viewpoints that have been posted on social media platforms. Additionally, people who have only said things during the Jan. 6 temper tantrum are facing investigation.
The convictions of people in what is being described as an insurrection (by a completely coopted media) have come in with extremely high sentences, seemingly the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment, since the rioters during the summer of discontent have yet to be charged or even investigated.
District attorneys in many states have decided not to prosecute minor crimes, police departments don’t respond or don’t investigate minor crimes, and California is trying to make it a crime for shopkeepers to defend against shoplifting.
Since our leaders have determined that we’re in a climate crisis, and that the U.S. is the only country that can fix it, oil drilling permits, which were issued by the government, were stopped by executive fiat. Also, any shipment of natural gas (in its liquefied form) by rail has been ended until the government can decide if it’s safe.
The latest example comes from my former state of residence, New Mexico. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order banning the carrying of guns in public, either openly or concealed, following a shooting death of an 11-year-old boy, citing a “health emergency.”
In signing the order, she said that constitutionally guaranteed rights, as well as her oath to protect the Constitution, are “not absolute.”
It’s not the first time things like that have been said. Biden flouted rights during the COVID crisis (and is warming up that concerto again); President Obama has said that if Congress doesn’t do what he wants, he has a phone and a pen. Republicans, too, have followed that path, since that execrable Patriot Act continues to rear its ugly head, put in place under the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9-11.
The actual threat to a democracy or a republic is unilaterally dismissing law; when a leader decides that rights no longer apply; that sworn oaths are only words and not binding; that a single person’s belief is more important than the will of the constituency. These are the things the Founding Fathers fought a war against.
What we have is a republic in name only, and to cover up that fact, monsters are created that require extraordinary powers be gifted to a few. If you hear the phrase “destroy our democracy,” think about when that actually happened.