Which Side Are You On?

In light of our current political situation it is up to each of us, regardless of party affiliation, to answer the question: Which side are you on? Democracy or one-man rule? Equal treatment for all or government that protects a privileged few? Courts that apply the rule of law or rule by autocracy? 

The simple truth expressed in the US Declaration of Independence is: “All men are created equal,” which we have updated in our day to “All persons are created equal.” This means that equal justice must be a part of the enforcement of our laws, or the rule of law will be lost in favor for those who bend it to their own personal advantage. This is what has happened in Russia, Poland, and numerous other countries that started on the path to democracy in the twentieth century. Equal justice now has begun to collapse in this country and it is up to those in all walks of life to band together to prevent it from further deterioration. 

The US Constitution establishes government in the name of “We the People,” and that everyone receives equal treatment under the law. But rule of law has taken a huge step backward with the agreement of the US attorney general to go after the President’s perceived enemies[1] and recommend light sentences or only probation for his friends.[2] Criminal cases that might implicate the president have been dropped or neglected.[3] Donald Ayer, former US Deputy Attorney General under George H. W Bush has called on Barr to resign.[4] Over 2000 former federal prosecutors have signed a letter demanding the resignation of the Attorney General and asking current prosecutors to speak out against any interference into their investigations. Federal judges have decided to hold an emergency meeting to discuss this crisis which threatens to undermine their authority.[5]

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln challenged those who believe in democracy to maintain vigilance so that “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Our democracy now is engaged in an unprecedented existential crisis. We need to advocate for the renewal of the essential democratic principles of human equality and dignity upon which it is based. Supporting and working for candidates committed to basic democratic principles is essential. But more is needed. Our commitment to democracy needs to be reflected in our personal, professional, and political interactions. You can engage and mobilize your friends, write or call your federal legislators, join organizations that advocate real democracy (a Greek term meaning “government by the people”), and participate in demonstrations if needed. Only vigilance by those who support democracy — and action when needed — can keep us from slipping into a situation where the rule of law is altogether lost.  

Steve Zolno is the author of The Future of Democracy, The Death of Democracy and the upcoming Truth and Democracy. He has been leading study groups in democracy since 2006.
 



[2] Including an unprecedented recommendation to lower a sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone and assigning an “outside prosecutor” to review the Michael Flynn case by the Attorney General.
[3] Including an investigation into the connection between Deutsche Bank, Russian Banks, and the Trump family. See the newly released book Dark Towers by David Enrich (2020), Page 328.
[4] See “Bill Barr Must Resign,” by Donald Ayer, Former Assistant Attorney General under G. H. W. Bush, The Atlantic, 2/17/20.
[5] Despite Barr’s interference, Roger Stone was sentenced to 40 months in prison on 2/20/20. The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, was vehement: “The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of democracy.”


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