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Does democracy matter?


To the editor:

President Joe Biden often says “democracy is on the ballot” this November. So far, that argument has had little impact on Donald Trump’s supporters. Despite social evolution spanning millennia, humans have only really developed two forms of government — democracy and autocracy.  Democracy is messy.  It requires consensus, give-and-take, accepting half a loaf and sometimes just crumbs. Autocracy is clean, simple; no compromises. The sole “supreme leader” decides all legislative, executive and judicial matters.

Trump has indicated that he will be an autocrat if elected to a second term. Trump said he must be allowed to establish and administer the law, yet be above it. Trump intends to replace all civil servants with loyal party members and fire democratically elected judges and prosecutors who don’t apply the law as he sees it. Polls show that most MAGA republicans are fine with that. They shouldn’t be. Without exception, whenever democracies devolve into autocracy, the people lose.

Numerous examples exist now and in the past. In Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and North Korea government critics are imprisoned and/or killed. Additionally, there is no opposition party to moderate government abuses. This was true when pharaohs ruled Egypt, caesars ruled Rome, kings held power throughout Europe and Hitler led Germany. 

There has never been an autocracy in which the people retained even the most basic of human rights or freedoms. A Trump “dictator for a day” would be no different, because dictators only need a single day to erase centuries of freedom. Julius Caesar proved that when he ended a 500-year-old republic by crossing the Rubicon in January 49 BC.

MAGA republicans may not fully appreciate what is at stake. But they will if the worst should come to pass.

Joseph Cannisi


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