Millions of Americans have Risen Up and Said: Democracy Won't Die on Our WatchRoundup
tags: democracy, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, 2020 Election
Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of African American Studies at Emory University and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide and One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy. She is a contributor to the Guardian.
The question Americans faced in this election was clear. What were they prepared to do to protect their democracy?
Americans saw the “hail Trump” Nazi salutes shortly after his election in 2016. They have endured the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists that have killed police, massacred Jews in a synagogue, plowed a car into a crowd in Charlottesville, killing a young woman, slaughtered Latinos in El Paso, sent bombs to those whom the president blasted as his “enemies”, and murdered African Americans in Louisville.
Americans witnessed Trump’s nonchalant attitude as domestic terrorists plotted to kidnap and “put on trial” a governor who dared to stand up to him. They were barraged with his brags and taunts about how he had packed the US supreme court to intervene if he wasn’t declared the winner on 3 November. They heard him repeatedly intimate – threaten, even – that if the votes didn’t go his way, there just might not be a peaceful transition of power. They have also seen his absolute inability to denounce the white supremacists whom he summoned to “stand back and stand by” on election day.
But Americans had to fight more than just Trump. The Republican National Committee, recruited a 50,000-member army of “poll watchers” who are little more than a goon squad used to intimidate voters in 15 states, particularly in minority precincts.
Then there were the Republican governors and secretaries of state, who tried to weaponize a global pandemic and make it another barrier to the ballot box. By election day, Covid-19 has killed more than 230,000 and infected at least 9 million Americans. But instead of working overtime to protect their citizens’ health and right to vote, like the Jim Crow politicians of days of yore, they were determined to make people choose between casting their ballot or avoiding death. The CDC noted that with indoor transmission, “people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic.”
While the forces arrayed against the United States looked formidable, they were not invincible. Instead, they ran into something that is even more powerful than a president, a senate, or the US supreme court. The American people themselves and their belief in and devotion to democracy.
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