Dave Roitman: ‘We can do plenty to defend democracy’

  • Kelly Coffey, owner of Strong Coffey Personal Training, walks with Anne McCabe, through Northampton on Friday, November 6, 2020. It was Coffey's 41st birthday, " what better way to celebrate than ushering democracy back into the neighborhood," said Coffey.

Published: 11/18/2020 4:09:13 PM

What’s stirring in me are two painful lessons from this election. First, that close to half of our electorate voted for Trump. Second is that our democracy has been significantly eroded. My fear is that unless we work smart, hard and together to heal our nation and fix the structural and normative problems that beset our democracy — well, I’m not placing any bets on the next electoral crisis, or against the rise of a more skillful demagogue.

What would working smart, hard and together look like? In the short term, let’s stay focused and calm until the inauguration, even amidst the tweets, lawsuits and likely racket from Proud Boys and others. We can do plenty to defend democracy. Enter protecttheresults.com into your browser, then your zip code, and you’ll see what’s happening where you live. After Jan. 20, it means making much more progress, and faster, dealing with racism — the racism that’s in our systems but also in our minds and hearts. And it means passing, and then making real, the democracy reforms already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in H.R.1 and those proposed by leading democracy thinkers, i.e. restoring and strengthening the Voting Rights Act, overturning the Citizens United decision and ending gerrymandering — just for starters.

At the heart of this work will be our understanding of the roots nourishing the Trump base. I believe that one of these roots is the deep fear that “I’m losing the status that came with being born white; what am I left with and what’s next?” And if this is true, how do I relate to a person who might feel this way as a brother or sister, rather than labeling them as “deplorable”? So let’s all do what we can to be, as Astra Taylor so wisely said, midwives to the ongoing rebirth of democracy. And that will take grit, savvy and plenty of compassion.

Dave Roitman

Florence




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