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"Nothing so sharpens one's appreciation for democracy as bearing witness to its demolition." This is a quote from The New Yorker in a series entitled "The Future of Democracy." For me this is poignantly true. With America's democracy continuously in decline and under threat I realize just how much I care about our country and what it stands for.

It’s been many decades since we’ve had democracy by the people, for the people and of the people. We all know that most of our national political representatives are bought and paid for by wealthy, powerful people, corporations and special interest groups. It was not intended to be this way and many have cautioned us about this very situation. President Dwight Eisenhower warned of the corrupting influence of the “military-industrial complex” in his Farewell Address to the nation in 1961.

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. The notion of democracy, and what that meant, was transmitted to me through history lessons at school and conversations among adults at home. I “got” that America was somehow special because we had a unique form of government that was a model for other nations. Our democracy was something to be revered, respected and treasured.

As the years went by I, and probably most of us, clung to the idea that we had a democracy rather than reckoning with the reality. We assumed democracy by, for and of the people would just run itself as long as we voted. Showing up at the polls seemed to be our only job. But little by little we began to see that people's voices and needs had been taken over by the power of money. Nowadays politicians are spending more and more of their time fundraising from big donors and doing their bidding once elected rather than legislating. Honesty, integrity and service to the common good are no longer the highest values held by politicians.

It’s been a rude awakening and a harsh wake up call to realize we don’t have the democracy we thought we did. You might be asking yourself, “You mean, we can’t assume that politicians will do the right thing for the benefit of all? That personal power and greed trumps (sorry) fairness, justice and well-being of all life?”

Okay. We’re awake. Now what? We must do whatever it takes to retake our democracy. For example, here in New Mexico we have a terrific group of folks doing just that. Check out Retake Our Democracy. We are local but with big picture ideas that apply to all who want to take back our power and assume responsibility for our democracy. We have to engage and participate if we want to have a world that works for all.

As Frances Moore Lappe´ says: "We can't address the climate crisis
without fixing our democracy."
That applies to every other social and health problem we have.


Here's the song parody of "American Pie," "Don't Let Democracy Die."


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