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Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport


By Arthur I. Blaustein

Catch! The Future of Democracy is In Your Hands November 3. Screen Shot 2020-08-13 at 17.1.50

With the 2020 presidential election rapidly approaching, Election Stress Disorder or ESD is at the highest levels in all of history.

And this time Americans have to be worried about the very future of democracy itself.

They fear that that the Trump administration has trampled the traditional democratic values of equality, fairness, justice, and opportunity based on the public good and replaced it with cynicism, greed, and selfishness motivated by personal power and private gain.

And they are also deeply troubled that Mr. Trump has an alarming ignorance of and an utter contempt for The US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the rule of law.

Right now, Republicans in Congress continue to make same excuses they made to justify the abdication of their Constitutional obligation during the Impeachment process.

They kept saying, “We have an election soon, let the people decide,” while they also undermine voting rights and election security to the maximum extent possible.

Well, that election happens on Nov. 3. And this election is going to determine the future of democracy as the stakes are very high.

That’s why it is critically important for each and every one of us get involved. We can contribute energy, time, money, or all three. We can help people register to vote and we can help them get their vote in safely so it can be counted.

We can make a difference. The tragic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the skyrocketing loss of jobs is forcing millions of us to get serious and confront the crucial issues.

Don’t sit this election out. Don’t be complacent. The results of the November 3 election will directly affect you, your whole family and the nation in ways that you never imagined.

Think about what matters to you the most. Pay attention to the choices before you. Learn what you can.

It’s worth the effort as the stakes are high!

Here is a list of 25 issues that you can consider. They are not in any order of importance. But each one can be critically important to you and millions of other people.

1. Decent Jobs at Livable Wages

2. Affordable Health Care

3. Global Warming

4. Public Education and Student Debt

5. Women’s Right to Choose

6. Medicare, Child Care and Medicaid

7. Voter Suppression and The U.S. Post Office

8. Campaign Finance Reform

9. The Supreme Court and Federal Judges

10. Sexual Abuse and Equal Justice

11. Separation of Church and State

12. Increasing Poverty, Hunger Eviction, and Homelessness

13. Assault Weapons on the Street

14. Social Security

15. Consumer Protection and Affordable Housing

16. Immigration Reform and a Path to Citizenship for the “Dreamers”

17. Preemptive War and National Security

18. National Health (Pandemic) and Disaster Preparedness

19. Maldistribution of Wealth and Economic Justice

20. Fair and Progressive Tax Reform

21. Basic Research in Science, Health, and Technology

22. Renewable Energy and a Sustainable Environment

23. NPR, NET (Sesame Street, et al.), the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities

24. Cronyism, Lying, Corruption, Manipulation, and Incompetence in Government

25. Infrastructure Development (Mass Transit, the Energy Grid, Schools, Hospitals, Bridges, Roads and Airports)

Wake up everyone and make a difference. This may be the last chance we get. Vote. Your life really does depend on it.

Professor Arthur I. Blaustein is the author of the book Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport. He is recently retired from teaching Community Development, Politics, and Public Policy at the University of California. He served on the Board of the National Endowment for the Humanities under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Chair of the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. His other books include The American Promise, Man Against Poverty, and the Star-Spangled Hustle. His articles have appeared in Harper’s, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, and the New York Times Wire Service.