By Ethan Percival
American democracy is a sacred thing. We, as Americans, have a right that unfortunately, many do not: the right to vote. For centuries, millions of Americans have elected who they see best to run the country. As of late, our democracy has been under attack by those who desperately wish to hold onto their power.
It’s no secret American politics are a hot-mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. Over the last decades, both Democratic and Republican parties have become increasingly resistant to passing legislation or policy presented by the other party. Sometimes that resistance is good, as it stops unjust bills from becoming law, but not when Congress is unable to pass needed legislation quickly or at all.
This congressional deadlock has been caused by the increasing polarization in both parties. As a result of this polarization, it is only possible to pass the most watered down, ineffective pieces of legislation.
However, for many, a much more worrying prospect had been taking hold in our country: the Republican Party’s increasingly volatile actions. Over the last few months Republicans and conservatives in Congress have taken extreme measures to achieve what they see as right. In June, a conservative super-majority in the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade which nationally protected women’s right to have an abortion. Worst still, some states have banned all abortions, with little to no exceptions for rape victims and cases where the fetus endangers the mother’s life.
Additionally, in states such as Florida, Republicans have began constricting LGBTQIA+ rights, from the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” which prohibited schools from having classroom discussions on LGBT issues from Kindergarten to 3rd grade and, most recently, banning gender affirming care to transgender minors. There is no excuse for the cruelty these laws inflict upon people who identify as LGBTQIA+.
In 19 states, the Right is resorting to suppressing voting rights in an attempt in order to hold on to their power. In states such as Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, Republicans have introduced measures to restrict mail in ballots. The effect of those restrictions is as clear as day in the Texas Primary Election of 2022, where 12.4% of mail in ballots were thrown out, compared to the 0.8% rejection rate in the 2020 Election.
The worst of these voting restrictions could come in the form of a Supreme Court case called Moore V. Harper. This court case, if adopted, could allow only state legislatures to decide the rules of elections, and rig them. In other terms allow the controlling party to cement their power further.
Now, I will acknowledge that being a Republican or Conservative is by no means a bad thing, our democracy is built upon the ideal that people will have differing opinions. In fact, there are a great many Republicans who see the damaging effect such extremism will have and has had on our democracy. But it is an unfortunate truth that they are in the minority within their own party. They are even being voted out of office for simply standing up for what is right and telling the truth.
We can’t allow our “American Experiment” to fail like this, to fall because of hate and ignorance, to fall because of violence and greed. I know so many are losing their faith in our country, but all hope is not lost. As Charlie Chaplin once said, “don’t give yourselves to brutes!” If you truly want change, then, if you can vote, VOTE! It is the most important thing you can do to stop the downward spiral of our country. Vote for people who you know will do what is right for the American people and for American democracy.