I sometimes naively think that democracy is always moving forward into a better future rather than trying to preserve the status quo or even bring back the past. Of course that feeling was quickly sapped from me on November 8 when the rural hinterland voters came out in massive numbers for a Trump presidency. It seems that they are just too afraid of what the future holds so want someone who will bring back the good old days and make America Great Again. To me America has always been great so there was no “bringing back” needed but of course my neighbors have a different opinion about that.
Having the feeling of being ignored and fearful of a unknowable future is nothing new to our country but it saddens to see it so prominent in the 21st century. I had hoped that we had finally conquered that fear but that just isn’t the case. What can be done to appease the fear of those in rural areas? That is the major question of our times it seems.
Democracy depends on an informed and active electorate and that just didn’t happen this time around. It is now known that the minority turnout at this election was the lowest in twenty years and that fact helped lead us to where we are today with a totally unprepared narcissist ready to take over the Oval Office. A narcissist who actually cares very little for anyone except himself.
If people don’t stay informed or worse fail to do the duty by voting in a democracy then things can quickly spiral out of control. I know that many red States have done almost everything possible to suppress the minority vote but that should be more the reason for them to come out in even greater numbers. One of the most frustrating things for me is when I spend so much energy talking about diversity and minority rights and then discover that those I am trying to help don’t even help themselves by voting! If they don’t bother to help themselves then why should I? That question is tugging at me lately. Our form of democracy has proven to be very flexible but that does not mean that it can’t break very quickly.
Now that the GOP pretty much controls everything it will be interesting to see the response to the possible coming changes.
- How will those hinterland seniors react to Mr. Ryan finally being able to privatize Medicare and replacing it with a voucher system?
- How will parents react when they discover that educating their kids is no longer a priority of the nation?
- How will fiscal conservatives react when the deficits balloon beyond anything imaginable?
- How will all of us react when the results of billionaires who will now run the country both fiscally and politically when they make laws primarily for their own gain?
Will our system be able to absorb the backlash and wait for the pendulum to swing back to the center again? That is an open ended question that will likely have an answer in the coming years. Nothing is a done deal when it comes to a fragile democracy.