American Democracy is gravely at risk, along with western democracies across Europe. The forces or entities that are working together to destroy democracy, to me, are shocking and almost unbelievable. Who would ever think that the Russian dictatorship and the greedy world oligarchs bent on destroying democracy across the world would be supported by the President of the United States, the American upper classes blinded by greed, the American lower classes succumbing to Trump’s lies, Christian evangelicals supporting racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ rights, the NRA and complicit Republicans? Why is this happening?
Putin wants to dismantle western democracies because they hold him accountable to human rights and international law, including the rule of law, equal rights, free speech, decency and respect, free secret ballot elections, universal suffrage, separation of powers, civil rights and liberties, political freedom for all, an uncodified social contract, limits on the authority of government and an independent judiciary. Holding him accountable to these ideals keeps him and his oligarchs from the massive amounts of wealth they have stolen from the people of Russia and stashed in democratic countries.
Putin is using computer hacking and social media to undermine democracy from within by dividing us through lies. Trump is doing Putin’s bidding from the Whitehouse by lying to the American people and by denouncing our NATO alliances. Trump only has two motivations in life, self-aggrandizement and money (including Russian money). He has no loyalty to the Constitution of the United States, democratic principles or the American people. He ran for the presidency because he thought it would be good for his brand. He uses people’s economic struggles to promote racism, sexism and anti-immigrant sentiment, even hatred, instead of finding legitimate avenues for Americans to find work that pays livable wages.
Two Trump supporters at a rally were photographed wearing pro-Russia T-shirts that said they would rather “be pro-Russia then a liberal. ” I find it outrageous that they would rather live under the rule of a murderous dictator who denies his citizens basic rights and kills those who oppose him, then in our democratic nation that guarantees individual rights. I believe they are attracted to the power of an autocrat and the fact that Russia is now a white, Christian, male dominant, anti-gay and anti-immigrant nation and that it is easy for an autocrat to do away with those who don’t fit this limited view. What they are not taking into account is that they too will no longer be free. They will be under the dominance of the autocrat as he wields unchecked power and takes the wealth of the country for himself and his lackeys. Sadly, these pro-Russia sentiments are also embraced by white supremacists who are now empowered by the American president.
Some evangelical Christians have been insulted by how mainstream media sometimes depicts Christians in unflattering ways. As a result, they have turned to right-wing media for their news where they are taught to fear immigrants, minorities, feminists, muslims and the LGBTQ community, and to distrust the mainstream media and the government that upholds civil, equal and human rights for all, seemingly unwittingly, upholding white supremacists views. They have become one of the forces supporting those who are deconstructing American democracy. (See Notes on Christianity below for further information)
The wealthy, the NRA and the complicit Republicans are under the spell of Russian money and power and the tax cuts for the wealthy provided by the Trump administration. They have lost sight of real American values guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. They can only see the now, not the future. They are supporting a new world order, ruled by the oligarchs. They have forgotten that liberal democracies oppose monarchies and that government exists to serve the people.
Hopefully, it is not too late for us to save our democracy. Greed needs to be seen for what it is, stealing from all citizens. Lies need to be uncovered by truth. Cyber security needs to be a national priority and campaign finance needs to be changed so that all Americans are truly represented in government not just the wealthiest. I can’t believe an American president is accepting of a murderous dictator, and that the congress of the United States is seemingly looking the other way.
Notes on Christianity: As a Christian, I am particularly perplexed by the racism and intolerance being spewed by some Christians and the support of a President who promotes such hatred. As an aside, according to pewforum.org, 52% of Liberals are Christian. What follows is what I have discovered about some Christians. Pro-Trump evangelical Christians (80% of white evangelicals reported voting for Trump) voted for Trump for his anti-liberal and anti-mainstream media rhetoric. Some Christians see mainstream media as biased against Christianity because mainstream news is religiously neutral and some fictional shows, on occasion, depict Christians in a bad or comical light, as they do with other religions and practices. In The Loudest Voice in the Room, Gabriel Sherman writes that journalist are liberals because they write “…unflattering stories about Christians.” Feeling insulted by mainstream media evangelical Christians turn to right-wing media where they are taught to fear immigrants, minorities, feminists, muslims and the LGBTQ community, and to distrust the government that upholds civil, equal and human rights for all.
Sadly, according to Keeping the Faith by Commentary qz.com in the article titled For Irreligious Evangelicals, Christianity is About Politics – Not God (11/7/2017), “…evangelical is now associated with prejudice and intolerance. In the era of Trump, ‘evangelical’ has come to connote not a good news message of grace, but ‘cultural conservatism.'”
Furthermore, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, evangelical views have changed. In 2011 30% of evangelicals “…agreed that a politician’s personal life had no bearing on their public performance,” while in 2017 “…70% said they would be willing to separate the public from the personal.” Consequently, “…the results suggest that many self-described evangelicals no longer embrace a spirit of humility, sexual fidelity, and care for those who Jesus called ‘the least of these.'” And it allows them to support Trump in spite of his lies and infidelities. Rather, “God is invoked to justify preserving the social order.” (Their idea of what the American social order should be, white, straight, male dominant and Christian).
The article continues, “It’s no secret that many self-described evangelicals are actually not religiously engaged. During the Republican primaries, Donald Trump’s base was substantially non-church going evangelicals. And these non attendees were also more likely to agree with racist and anti muslim views.” It is a shame that ” …in today’s polarized culture, ‘evangelicals’ have come to be associated with Trump-supporters and intolerance,” the result of ” …the cultural right’s takeover of evangelicalism. ” Moreover, the far-right is using the Christian faith as a foundation to promote “…white nationalism, anti-Islam, anti-gay, anti-immigrant and anti-feminist views.” Christianity is being demeaned by these “non-attendees” but, true Christian values, according to christianbiblereference.org, include to worship only God not things, wealth or power, to respect all people, to be humble, honest, moral, and generous with both time and money, to practice what you preach, to not be self-righteous or judgmental, to not hold a grudge, and to forgive others. Fortunately, Ed Cairns of the University of Ulster’s Peace and Conflict research Group stated that ” …the more that people went to church, the less prejudice they showed.”