American democracy is under siege. A confluence of factors has created a “perfect storm” that seriously challenges our form of government as never before.
So what is the greatest threat to our system of government? Is it income inequality, social injustice, voter suppression, religious fundamentalism, terrorist threats, gun violence or could it be Citizens United?
No. While the above forces are all tugging at the fabric of our democracy, the greatest threat is something more basic: cynicism.
I’m talking about the kind of cynicism that leads many Americans to believe participating in our representative form of government is meaningless. It’s the often heard, “What does my vote matter anyway; all politicians are corrupt.” The sad fact is that many otherwise intelligent individuals are simply turning off and tuning out.
Conservatives from the time of Reagan have hammered the message that government is bad; that government is the problem, not the solution. Through their obstructionism, which has prevented government from performing its role in promoting the public good, conservatives have turned Reagan’s mantra into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our government is bad. It does not work.
It is actually understandable why many Americans feel hopeless given our current political climate. But voting and being engaged in the governance of our country are the bedrocks of a participatory democracy. When people stop caring, they quit paying attention. Not paying attention is the moral equivalent of turning your back on America, on democracy.
Conservatives are shrewd. They’ve had a game plan for years and are executing it to a tee. By getting voters to be disgusted with their government and to believe all politicians are the same, they get the result they want: control of our nation by their rich and powerful overlords.
Wake up people. Enough with the cynicism and pessimism. Become an informed citizen … and vote!