In general, we see three major immanent threats to democracy in America today:
1. Plutocracy, sometimes referred to as Oligarchy, is government ruled by the rich for personal gain.
America has always struggled with this threat, but never to the extent that we have now. There are people in this country who believe that money gives them the right to rule–it is part of their addiction to power.
With the 5-4 supreme court ruling, Citizens United, which allows unlimited amounts of money to flow anonymously to politicians, the wealthy are getting the democracy they pay for–and we have no right to even know about it.
2. The curtailing of voting rights.
In recent elections minorities were being purged from voter registration rolls in Republican controlled states. Historically, this has been a tactic used in the South to keep African Americans from voting. Now, it is being used in order to ensure a Republican victory this November.
They are claiming that it is to prevent voter fraud, although they haven’t proven such a thing even exists.
3. Apathy is a lack of interest or concern.
Even though voting is a bare minimum in participatory democracy, many of us won’t even do this. It is often a result of cynicism and pessimism, culminating in an attitude which says “Why bother? – nothing is going to make any difference”. When you don’t care, you quit paying attention; not paying attention is the moral equivalent of turning your back on democracy.
This may be an understandable response given our current political climate, but it is still one of the gravest threats to democracy.
Self-defeating behavior is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we think that we can’t make a difference then we won’t because we won’t try.
To give up on voting is to give up on democracy itself.
If we tie these three threats together, which we should because they are, we will see that this doesn’t bode well for the future of Democracy in America. If we feel that we cannot stand up to the corrupting power of big money in politics and we do nothing about people who are denied their right to vote, and we don’t even bother to get involved at all, we might as well surrender our democracy–which is what many seem to have done already.
This election will be a major turning point in the history of our democracy.
Which means that we need to do something more than merely get out and vote.