There is an active, widespread and well funded effort to defeat democracy in America. This is an open conspiracy against the values and principles upon which the nation was founded and has evolved over the last 238 years toward more democracy.
Some of the more extreme supporters of this effort even deny, openly, that we are a democracy. They cite the fact that we are a republic first, with an elected president who retains, minimally, some of the powers of a king. They believe "the founders", who have been turned into holy like figures in their imaginations, did not intend a democracy, therefore, they say, we aren't one.
Gov. Perry of Texas even advocated one of their pet proposals, the elimination of the direct election of US senators. Instead, they want to go back to having the state legislatures appoint senators. That way, senators would be charged with representing the interests of the state governments, not the people of the state. Expect more along these lines.
This cabal has devoted itself to an excessive study of the Constitution, looking for "proof" that every progressive development of the last 100 to 200 yrs. is wrong. One loud adherent from this Talmud like study of the Constitution is Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who was taught as a child to memorize the document with religious devotion. Those who knew Cruz when he attended college say he brought jet powered right wing attitudes with him from the start.**
It should be noted that questioning democracy itself pre-dates the writing of the Constitution. There were many in attendance at the Convention who questioned democracy and as a result we have an Electoral College and, originally, US Senators were not elected directly by the people. The development of our democracy for the last 238 years has been toward making it more robust and more participatory. (Full, national voting rights for women, blacks and everyone over 18, instead of 21) Reversing that long direction would make things much more comfortable for the mega-rich, international megacorps and the defense/homeland security establishment. There would be little or no challenge to these powers.
Seen in this light, the effort to limit access to voting with ID cards and by closing down voting precincts in some states completes a picture of hostility toward democracy. The gerrymandering of House districts (arranging districts to suit a political party), which has been done by both political parties, enabled the Republicans to retain control of the House in 2012 even though they lost, by a total of more than one million votes, the “popular” vote. Gerrymandering is an insult to democracy and should be stopped forever.
If, as indicated by various studies, the right wing party of America falls more and more into a permanent minority, the effort to defeat democracy will grow and gradually emerge from a shadow campaign. If you can’t win at the ballot box, then you want to try something else. This has been spoken of openly in Virginia, where the right finds itself increasingly left behind. One Republican legislator in southern Virginia, calling for changes in the system, lamented the fact that his party regularly gets outvoted in northern Virginia. When almost everything went their way, there was no protest.
Our democracy is not safe and it has not even been secured. In fact, the forces are mounting to "put the people in their place" and allow oligarchical rule of the U.S.
Doug Terry, 7.11.14
This commentary is an expansion of one offered on the NY Times online.