The state of America

The events I read about today drove me to write my first political entry in this little blog.

When I was in high school, my AP US government teacher told us about how remarkable America’s democracy is.

“We never have the violence you see in other countries after an election,” she said (I’m paraphrasing from memory). “Think about that. Never. Even if people don’t like the new leader, you never see them violently protest. Our democracy is absolutely amazing.”

At the time, this was absolutely true. The idea of people storming the center of government because their dear leader didn’t want to step down sounded downright absurd. That was for fledging democracies struggling to achieve the peaceful transitions of power America could do quite well.

And then today happened. What it showed me, however, was not that our democracy is over; it is that it’s still at the beginning. We still have a lot to do and a lot to learn.

I think we Americans have a problem, as comedian Hannah Gadsby put it, of confidence. We thought our democracy had reached its zenith. Many of us thought, “Here we sit at the pinnacle of what a democracy is. There is nothing better.”

Today has shown, at least to me, that we are almost at the starting line of truly attempting a democracy. What we Americans do from now will reflect the direction this race toward the idea of America will go.