Saving democracy is bigger than America

  • Acquitted: President Donald Trump (Photograph by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

    Acquitted: President Donald Trump (Photograph by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Countries throughout the world, large and small, should be gravely concerned about recent political events in America. The nation described as the most powerful on earth, and a leader in the area of wealth, is at the moment the subject of discussions globally over what many observe as crumbling values and a move away from decency and respect by its leadership.

It is no longer a question of which political group one supports, but a much larger one of what they support. This is not an issue confined to the great United States of America, but every country that holds democracy and its principles as the highest ideals.

These principles are not complicated, and there is no need to be in possession of doctorates or master’s degrees in order to understand what freedom, truth and respect mean.

Much of those values have been taught in the home for centuries, in just about every culture on earth.

I can recall the days when an adult would lose no time in calling out a child who was heard uttering words they would never want their parents to know they used. Whether the adult was related to the child did not matter. After a heavy scolding and a warning, that child knew if parents were informed, it could lead to trying to find a way to grow a new set of lips.

These days, unfortunately, the behaviour bar has been lowered in so many areas of community life that modern-day parenting is more complex than operating the International Space Station. An important factor is that when we lose respect for others, whether we agree with them or not, we also lose the ability to build healthy relationships that are needed to protect justice, truth and decency — essential parts of true democracy.

We hear it said so often that adults need to lead by example in all of their activities if the younger generation is to have a proper guidepost for the future. In other words, the leader of any nation adhering to democratic principles should never be heard using in public language that would be condemned at most family dinner tables. However, when the leader of any country considers themselves as above the law, democracy could be on life support.

Many countries have risen and fallen as a result of moving away from common values in order to protect a particular leader out of absolute fear, or simply through not fully understanding why doing nothing is the gateway to disaster.

Dictatorial regimes exist on the basis of fear since most know any attempt to change things could be a sentence involving the ultimate sacrifice. This makes it crucial that wherever there is democracy, it should be saved and protected — even at the risk of retaliation from authorities. Without democracy, there is no freedom of dignity, which should be a right of all.

The impeachment trial in the United States Senate is now over, with the President acquitted of charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress. This could be seen by some as case closed. For many others, it was a testing time for the justice system, since no witnesses were allowed to testify and most Republicans had previously declared they would not convict, taking comfort with being in control of the Senate.

It will be an uphill struggle for America because there are those who view their present leader as some kind of god who can do no wrong.

A flashback to the Second World War, when one of the most brilliant German generals, Erwin Rommel, decided he no longer supported Adolf Hitler’s vicious regime and took steps to remove him from power. He paid with his life, but was later highly commended in the British Parliament for doing what he felt was right for Germany.

The power of one person in standing up against wrong will always be one candle burning for freedom.

When Republican senator Mitt Romney decided he could no longer support Donald Trump, he, too, stepped into the history books as someone willing to make a bold move to defend values he felt deeply about. He knew he would be subjected to vicious criticism from the administration and others, but he was at peace with his vote to convict the President.

In any democracy, there should be always the right of freedom to agree or disagree. It takes real courage to use that right, which is a part of democracy.

Although the Senate gave its verdict, which was expected, it will be the American people who in November will have their turn to express themselves through the ballot box.

America has much to offer and is a country admired by many who hope the outcome will move the nation towards the high ground of dignity and respect.

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Published Feb 8, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 8, 2020 at 7:25 am)

Saving democracy is bigger than America

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