Montly conversation experiment #16

Status of our democracy

By TOM KAPPNER
Posted 1/18/22

Our democratic political system is under profound threat.

Democracy requires a political culture based on the shared agreement that everyone has equal rights, that no one’s rights have more …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Montly conversation experiment #16

Status of our democracy

Posted

Our democratic political system is under profound threat.

Democracy requires a political culture based on the shared agreement that everyone has equal rights, that no one’s rights have more legal weight than everyone else’s.

This has been problematic from the very beginning of our national history. The Declaration of Independence affirmed our profound equality, but the Constitution originally sanctioned the practice that defined kidnapped Africans as property owned by slaveholders. And equal political rights were confined to White Anglo Saxon men “of substance” (i.e. property owners).

Our history has involved a continual, often brutally violent, struggle to extend democratic rights. Every new immigrant group sparked a desperate violent resistance to extend democratic rights to the newcomers by many of those who had previously gained them.

But over time, people of good will prevailed to make our democracy stronger. Democratic rights were extended from property owners to all white men, to each new immigrant group, to Germans, to the Irish, to the Italians, to the Eastern Europeans and Jews, to women through the suffragette movement in the 20th century, to African Americans in the 1960s. And now we are witnessing a desperate attempt to turn back the clock.

Once again all people of good will must rise to the occasion. All of us must do whatever is within our collective power to resist this retrograde attempt to undo our glorious national heritage. Indeed we should be prepared to fight for the extension of democratic rights to all residents, whether legal citizens or not.  

Tom Kappner is a resident of Kenoza Lake, NY.

This month’s Monthly Conversation Experiment prompt is the “State of Democracy.” We are soliciting short reflections, artwork, photos and poetry that reflect your feelings and opinions around this monthly prompt in an attempt to explore important issues in our community and our nation. We’re looking for a diversity of opinion through a variety of mediums.

Be a part of the conversation. Send your contributions to editor@riverreporter.com.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here