All of us in America know the general outlines of democracy.
Unfortunately, I think we’ve either forgotten key elements of democracy, or we are now ignoring them or even letting others worry about preserving our democracy.
That is the first element of democracy. Nobody else can build our democracy or save our democracy except all of us. Democracy requires the active participation of all of us – voting as a sacred duty. Equal access to the polls for all voters. We now see that Rightwing Radicals in Secretary of State offices and legislatures are doing all they can to restrict voting by Democratic base voters despite no evidence of voter fraud.
Secondly, democracy requires freedom of speech and association and freedom to petition government for redress of grievances. In previous blogs, we’ve shown how the US Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United has effectively increased the political volume of corporations and diminished the political volume of the rest of us.
Democracy requires equal access to the government. Equal access has been under assault for years and that assault is accelerating.
Democracy requires a government that is accountable to its people, its electorate while protecting minority rights. With two wars off the books and budget, and bank and corporate bailouts that made those who created the depression whole while practically ignoring struggling homeowners is not how a democracy works.
A democracy should not have its elections funded by the Radical Rightwing.
Every democracy requires a strong and vibrant workers movement. Repeated Financial Elite and government assaults on unions have greatly weakened our workers’ movement to the point where we are not an adequate counterweight to the power of the Financial Elite.
This is not by any stretch a complete catalogue of democratic elements. But ALL these elements are critical to a vibrant democracy. Unfortunately, our country has lost all these elements.
The most important question for all of us is: If we are losing the primary elements of democracy, what are we left with?
Only all of us together can answer that. Please get my book Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing to see what you can do to save and energize America’s democracy.
We will continue to discuss this critical topic in this space and the key issues that should drive the voting of folks like you and me.
Stewart Acuff is America’s best-known and foremost labor organizer. He is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work, coauthored by Dr. Richard Levins.Tags: acuff, democracy, Playing BIgger Than You Are, Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, stewart acuff