Democracy gives us hope for change and a path to defend the human rights for all. In a democracy, everyone matters. Democracy matters.
What would our lives and the next generation’s future be without democracy? Without the democratic ability to make our own decisions as free men and women, how can we defend our universal human rights of equality and liberty?
But the struggle for democracy is not one fight, not a single battle, one war for freedom, where victory is declared, and democracy is secured. It is a continuous struggle and effort to win, keep, and maintain a democracy. We need to continuously work to build a democratic society where the voices of the people can be heard, and where human rights for all are part of the democratic process. A “democracy” which does not respect the inherent human rights of others fails to understand that in a democracy EVERYONE MATTERS.
Democracies are not simply about majority votes. That is what majority oppressors with power would like the world to believe. That is what tyrants with an agenda want to people to believe, so they can deceive into accepting a dictatorship. They will attack the flaws of any individual democratic state and tell the world, “see this is what democracy leads to.”
The tyrants and the authoritarians take failures in democracies out of context. They only show the failures. They are silent about all the people trying to correct the failures. They don’t mention how people use their democratic freedoms to vote to promote change, to march for the rights of all, and how they protest together in the cause of democratic freedoms.
Tyrants particularly enjoy pouncing on the failures of democracy in America, which are widely publicized by Americans themselves (because they denounce such failures), and ignoring what people who love democracy seek to do to correct these failures.
In the tyrant’s propaganda against democracy, there is only slavery in America, without a Civil War; there is only Jim Crow laws, without a 15th Amendment to the Constitution; there is only denying women the right to vote, without a 19th Amendment to the Constitution; there is only Civil Rights challenges, without a Martin Luther King, Jr. and the generation that followed; there is only a failure to provide full Constitutional protection, without the campaign for Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.); there is only police abuse against African-Americans, without a campaign to hold law enforcement accountable and ensure that black lives and all lives matter.
Nor is this propaganda exclusive to denying democratic struggles in the United States of America. Tyrants will have similar half-truths in every other democratic country.
But the tyrants’ half-truths will only tell one side of the story. The goal of tyrants are to entice the discouraged, the disaffected, and those in despair from giving up on democracy altogether, but telling them only about democracy’s failures, and silencing discussion about democracy’s promise. The tyrants want people to give up hope on democracy and submit to their rule.
If there no other reason that compels you to struggle for democracy, take that vision to your heart. Can we be so selfish and heartless that we will not offer outstretched hands to bring back our brothers and sisters in despair on democracy from the clutches of tyranny? No, no. Those who love democracy know that our democratic freedoms and hopes are intended for everyone.
It is our responsibility to continue the struggle for democracy – for the generation today, and the the generations tomorrow.
Many don’t like the word “struggle.” It implies so much effort and work, and less of going with the natural flows in life. That’s right. It does and it is. While equality may be the natural law of humanity, we know that there have always been and will always be tyrants and bullies who seek to defy such natural law. We have seen the Dark Ages of the past, and it is our responsibility to help lead our society to the sunrise of a compassionate tomorrow.
Democracy must be compassionate. If in a democracy – everyone matters, then in a democracy – we must be compassionate to the suffering of our fellow human beings. How we can we believe they matter, if we don’t care about the suffering of others? Those who talk about democratic rights, but do not have democratic hearts, have lost sight of the meaning of democracy itself. They may know the tune, but they don’t understand the words or what they mean.
In our world today, our pace is so fast that we have often lost sight of compassion, of patience, and of kindness. We have forgotten that those too are part of our democratic ideals, if everyone matters. In a democracy, we must lead with our heart first.
We are rightfully an impatient people when it comes to abuses against our democracy and failures of our leaders. We may be frustrated and angry at those who would defy our democratic ideals. But even then, we must work for the democratic values of fairness and human rights for everyone – even those who do wrong. This doesn’t make us weak. It makes us stronger than any tyrant’s iron fist.
In today’s world, certainly there are many discouraged with our practices of democracy. But the greatest sign of the success of democracy are all the books and articles written by those who complain that it hasn’t yet met its goals, and complaining about its failures. Now THAT is democracy at work, that is the democratic freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of expression that free men and women accept as part of their natural lives.
When we are discouraged, that is the most important time to channel our frustration into action. The greatest cure to democracy’s ills is the action by those who know that everyone matters and that democracy matters.
We may think democracy doesn’t need defenders, and that “someone else” will defend democracy. We may think that our individual passions, causes, and campaigns are more productive channels for our time and energy, because after all, everyone understands the need for democracy.
But that is not true. Our struggle for democracy itself is as essential as the air which we breathe. We cannot chose to wait for “someone else.” My brothers and sisters in humanity, when it comes to defending democracy, we are the “someone else” who must struggle to defend it. There is no cause more essential than democracy to freedom and our shared universal human rights.
In a democracy, we love our rights, but we must love our responsibilities even more. We cannot have human rights, without human responsibilities. When you stand for democracy, you are responsible for equality and liberty for your fellow human beings.
Sometimes you will need to take a stand on your own against those who seek the destruction of democracy. Remember you are never alone when you stand for democracy, equality, and liberty. Free man and women of the world stand behind you.
Today will be such a day for me. I need to stand alone against a determined foe of democracy. The extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) will be in the Washington DC suburb of Springfield, Virginia to recruit minds to persuade them to reject democracy. HuT is openly against democracy with a “No Democracy” campaign, and denial of human rights, rejection of women’s equality, and a goal to subjagate people under a religious dictatorship. But there are plenty of enemies of democracy. If it was not HuT, it would some other extremists against democracy. We must provide a challenge to those who seek the end to democracy.
In our busy, overwhelmed lives, it would be convenient to be silent in the face of the enemies of democracy. But if democracy matters for everyone, then does not democracy matter for those who seek to be recruited by tyrants?
The defense of democracy will not simply be made in air-conditioned conference rooms by people in business suits, and nicely organized meetings, who have their lunch catered.
No the defense of democracy must also be done on our feet, in the streets, when it is hard, when you can’t find a way or the time, and when it seems impossible. Free men and women don’t know the meaning of the word “impossible” in the defense of democracy.
We must continually struggle for democracy – because democracy matters for all of us. It is the foundation to defend our shared universal human rights. Democracy matters.
We must continue our struggle for democracy, because it is not just our rights that matter, it is also our shared responsibilities.
We are all responsible for equality and liberty.
And it is always another GOOD DAY to be Responsible for Equality And Liberty.