Do you like democracy? It’s said to be very popular in the United States (not with everyone.) Each person has an equal share in determining our collective fate: A wild, half-forgotten idea to keep in mind as yet another terrifying election season swings into full gear.
There’s a ton of people out there claiming they love and are trying to protect democracy while simultaneously denying, refuting, or belittling other people’s right to exercise their share of power, and at the exact moment when that right is in real danger.
I’m not talking only about the most obvious anti-democratic malefactors, such as billionaire recent-Republican Michael Bloomberg, who is making himself busy drowning everybody else’s voices out in the Niagara-level din of a zillion misleading TV commercials. Maybe, any day now, Obama will speak out against his likeness being used for this purpose. The Republicans, also, are up to their well-known cheatin’ ways via gerrymandering, voter suppression, messing with the census and so on.
Not one of these garbagios wants each person’s voice to count equally, so they should all be kicked out of public life.
In addition to these, however, there are many putative Democrats who are openly hostile to those who don’t agree with them or support their choice of candidate, making all kinds of demands of their fellow citizens. Note that it’s one thing to specify, as Ryan Cooper and Will Menaker have, whom they will or will not vote for themselves. It’s a whole other thing to attack others for exercising their rights.
In its current incarnation democracy is far from perfect, obviously. Still, though. What there is is worth preserving.
Democracy means trust, and an inalienable belief in the intrinsic value of each person’s dignity and rights. Try to persuade, hell yes. Going after the lies and hypocrisy of politicians? Good, wholesome fun. But also: what if we were to trust one another to choose, as democratic values enjoin us to do? The most important campaign is protecting and honoring everyone’s freedom to choose.