In the past, I’ve encouraged citizens on Presidents’ Day to take the opportunity to participate in government and make their voices heard. The goal? To help make government work more effectively.
That message is even more critically important now.
Although Joe Biden was elected president in 2020, the far right is still at it, working every day to do away with government structure and programs, as we have known them for more than 200 years.
Republican governors and legislatures are proposing and passing laws to make it more difficult for Democrats and people of color to vote. Republicans are also fighting against covid regulations, blocking important bills in Congress, and spreading hate.
For details on the attack by Republicans against democracy, take a look at the Vox article “The Republican Revolt Against Democracy. Explained in 13 Charts.”
It’s sobering reading. It says: “The Republican Party is the biggest threat to American democracy today. It is a radical, obstructionist faction that has become hostile to the most basic democratic norm: that the other side should get to wield power when it wins elections.”
Among the 13 charts are those that show Trump’s supporters have embraced anti-democratic ideas, Republicans are embracing violence, the Republican turn against democracy begins with race, and the crucial impact of the right-wing media.
On Presidents’ Day 2020, make a plan to figure out how to be involved to protect democracy. Become involved. Find out what your local and state governments are doing. This is particularly true of school boards, since the right is working on taking them over. Contact your members of Congress and state legislatures to let them know your views. Testify at public hearings. Join good government groups.
Some organizations working for effective government are the League of Women Voters, Public Citizen, the Environmental Working Group, AARP, and Common Cause. Take part in their action programs.
We're living in troubling times with many dangers to our democracy. Please stand up for democracy. Informed, active citizens are our only hope.
In addition, think about your consumer interests. Citizens also need to be involved in government to counter-balance the huge present of corporations in the marketplace.
On my blog, I’ve written about dozens of settlements where corporations have had to pay billions of dollars for wrongdoing: Volkswagen, Western Union, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Bank of America, AT&T, and JPMorgan Chase, to name a few.
Consumers have power, but they need to use it. Be an informed, alert consumer. Join a local co-op. If your community doesn’t have one, start one. Use your wallet to exercise your consumer power. Make purchases of products from companies that reflect your political, ethical, and environmental views. Boycott companies who have questionable consumer and environmental practices.
Support groups that work in the public interest. Some are Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Action, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center, the National Consumers League, the National Fair Housing Alliance, Public Citizen, Tzedek DC, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Good luck to us all.