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Political Hotfire

The Practice of Democracy in America: A Choice or Tradition?  

 Jones Mallay joins the conversation

The nature of democracy is such that it should be practiced on the basis of choice rather than on the basis of force. It can be recalled that a former Republican Speaker Paul Ryan once remarked: “The United States is the oldest democracy in the world.” PolitiFact upheld Ryan’s claims to be true. The Athenians should have all cause to be annoyed at PolitiFact and former Speaker Ryan’s assertions. In 507 B.C., the Athenian leader Cleisthenes introduced a system of political reforms that he called “demokratia”, or “rule by the people,” a form of governance that quickly spread around the world by those who claimed to be lovers of democracy. Should former Speaker Ryan and PolitiFact be known as modern liars?  

The dawn of American democracy didn’t come in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution didn’t go into effect until 1788 when the U.S. Constitution was in progress during the American Revolution, also called the U.S. War of Independence between 1775 and 1783, which fought against imperial rule. But the governing book of the Constitution tells Americans that July 4, 1776, was the beginning of American democracy. Granted that 1776 was the magic day means that U.S. democracy is 246 years old in 2022. Former President Lincoln once remarked, “The government of the people by the people” sounds interesting, but how many American believe this to be true?  

Americans should know that democracy was birthed in 1700 to replace imperialism, which was one of the byproducts of the U.S. war, slavery included. It appears that democracy in the 1700s was mandatory to remove all imperial forms of governance by giving power to the people to decide who led them. However, 246-year on, democracy is becoming a matter of choice rather than a tradition to keep especially when reading from Former President Trump’s anti-democratic playbook in which he cried foul about the elections’ characteristics as being stolen. A claim supported by his thousands of silent supporters, including the Republican Party, the second ruling party in the U.S., which is worrisome.  

The American democracy at 246 years has not undergone political assessments to determine its strengths and weaknesses since 1776; therefore, no American knows its impediments, except when former President Trump’s challenged the electioneering aspect of the U.S. democratic process which signals that democracy is no longer a tradition to protect, but a choice one has to make to either defend democracy or reform it. Democracy has multiple segments. One such segment is the one that involves putting leaders in power through an election process by casting their ballots into a box or voting machines, but how guaranteed are these processes?  

An election is the segment of democracy that contains enormous weaknesses. It can be manipulated and tempered. The undermining of election process cannot be brushed aside, Judges taking sides with a supposed winning candidate in an election is likely, especially when election results end up at the Supreme Court, changing of elections results cannot be downplayed, the tampering with voting machines can be possible, the changing of election results are also likely in democracy from my African experience.  

Former President Trump’s classification of the outcome of the 2017 elections as stolen elections did provoke the January 6 riots in which Trump’s followers (The Republican Party, Trump’s die-hard silent supporters, and well-wishers) soon developed a terrible mindset that the elections were indeed stolen. Trump’s actions undermine US 246-year-old democracy. Nonetheless, tampering with elections is a regular practice in democracy, especially in Africa.  

Trump’s action is an indication that democracy is now a matter of choice rather than a tradition to protect. Africa has been in systemic political turmoil since independence in the late 60s due to stolen elections and the manipulations of democracy in one’s favor, which often result in civil wars, ethnic cleansing, or countless military couple. History has shown that anti-democratic forces often outweighed the forces of democracy, especially in Africa.  

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The troops of anti-democracy usually prefer power through abnormal processes, such as stolen elections, military takeovers, or coup d’état. Democrats represent the democratic forces in America. Can they triumph over former President Trump’s anti-democratic forces? They need a mindset that democracy is manipulating the form of governance, voting can sometimes be fraudulent, and elections are not guaranteed. Democrats’ impeachment of Trump and their investigation of the January 6 rioting are all legitimate democratic processes.  

Still, Trump, The Republic Party, silent supporters, and Trump well-wishers see all democratic moves as witch-hunts or anti-democratic moves against him. The end of the 246-year-old democracy under Republican Rule is 100% likely when they take over the House and Senate.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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