Democracy should be controversial – Press Telegram

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We continue to read headlines that American democracy is supposedly in danger. “American democracy is under threat,” the Economist worries. “Midterm elections could weaken democracy ahead of 2024 presidential race.”

Not really. Democracy must be crazy. People who expect a peaceful election are looking in the wrong place.

First of all, America is actually not a pure democracy, but a republic that uses democratic elements. In a pure democracy, 51% of voters could strip you of the right to read this article and me of the right to write it. In our republic, this right and others are enshrined in the Bill of Rights, which is difficult to change.

Other elements of the Constitution also make attacks on our rights more difficult, including the Senate and the often-hated Electoral College, both of which guarantee power to even small states; and the Supreme Court, which is not elected and should be the main guarantor of our rights.

Moreover, under the American republic, the center of democracy is actually collapsed at the state and local levels. As our country becomes more and more diverse, how else can we bridge fundamental differences? Why should Texas be governed by the customs of California, and vice versa?

When the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision was overturned in June, Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, worried: “The court’s decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion will trigger a flurry of new state laws that limit reproductive options. rights”.

But isn’t that democracy? And where exactly was this “right” in the US Constitution? It’s nowhere. If Proposition 1 is likely to pass on November 8 in California, abortion rights will be enshrined in the California Constitution. Why is there not enough of this distinguished lawyer?

And if that’s not enough, should we force his view on abortion not only on all 50 states, but on the rest of the world? Should we invade Saudi Arabia and Pakistan because they don’t guarantee “reproductive rights”?

American democracy was actually pretty wild. In the election of 1800, supporters of President Adams and Vice-President Thomas Jefferson hurled such vile epithets at each other that I cannot write them here. In 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr killed former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

In 1856, the pro-slavery US Democratic Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina entered the Senate chamber and beat the anti-slavery Massachusetts Republican Senator Charles Sumner unconscious with a metal-tipped cane. It was a harbinger of the Civil War that broke out five years later, killing about 850,000 Americans out of a population of 30 million. But the war preserved the union and ended slavery.

Fast forward to what I remember, the 1960s were a time of mass unrest with many riots including the Watts riots of 1965 and countless protests against the Vietnam War.

After that, things were pretty quiet until the election of Donald Trump in 2016. The old mass media – three television channels, one or two local newspapers – directed the debate into narrow areas. People were on the same page. We had “chill” conversations about the TV show everyone was watching last night.

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