Ukraine invasion raises questions about democracy (an editorial worth the read)

The following is an editorial in The Clayton Tribune by a moderate conservative writer named Dick Yarborough. It was forwarded to me by a moderate liberal friend who is from that area and knows the author. I find it to be a very compelling and hope that it will reach many Americans of all political persuasions. Or, at least it should. Its title is noted above as the title of the post. (I apologize for the appearance of the piece as I pasted it in).

“I am going to break two
rules today. First, I am going
to leave the friendly confines
of Georgia and comment
on world events. Second,
I am going to talk about
world events that may have
changed drastically by the
time you read this. That is
because this column runs
around the state in different
places on different days but
I have a finite deadline in
which to get these thoughts
to you. Unfortunately, world
events don’t care about my
deadlines.
That brings me to Russia’s
invasion of Ukraine. As I
write this, Russian President
Vladimir V. Putin has ordered troops into that country in an unprovoked attack
while blithefully ignoring
protestations from most of
the rest of the world.
President Joe Biden and
our European allies have responded with economic sanctions including freezing the
overseas assets of wealthy
Russian families, blocking
international transactions
by some Russian banks,
suspending a gas pipeline
project to Germany and
threatening more sanctions
to come. Somehow, I have a
feeling Putin is not shaking
in his shuba. Undoubtedly,
he presumed this would happen. Reports say he is sitting
on a large amount of cash,
ready to ride out sanctions.
So, why the invasion and
why should we care? The answer is that Putin thinks we
are too weak to do anything
about Ukraine or any other
invasions he may choose to
initiate in the future. Not
militarily weak. We have
plenty of bombs and missiles.
We are perceived as weak
people in a form of government that is waning.
As the New York Times
observed recently, “Putin
and his inner circle believe
that liberal democracies are
in decline, a view that (President of the People’s Republic
of China) Xi Jinping and
other top Chinese officials
share.” That group also
includes Iran, Venezuela and
North Korea.
A study by the Economist
Intelligence Union in Great
Britain, shows that in 2020
only 8.4 percent of the world
population lives in a full
democracy, while 41 percent
live in a flawed democracy,
15 percent live in a hybrid regime and 35.6 percent live in
an authoritarian regime. In
short, democracy is indeed
in decline.
The U.S. is considered a
“flawed democracy.” We enjoy the right to vote and basic civil liberties but, among
other things, we have little
trust in our institutions,
including our government.
There is also a troubling
propensity to try and squelch
freedom of expression,
thanks to anonymous cowards who use social media in
an attempt to intimidate and
threaten those with whom
they disagree.
We are a flawed democracy
because we are a deeply-divided democracy, more concerned with our own self-interest than in the welfare of
each other and with seemingly little interest in coming
together. We are polarized
by race, political philosophy,
political correctness, age,
sex, religion, income, rural
vs. urban. The Economic
Intelligence Union says the
U.S. has “a degree of societal polarization that makes
consensus almost impossible to achieve.” No wonder
Putin, Xi Ping, Ali Khamenei
and other assorted tinhorns
think we are imploding in on
ourselves.
They see a bunch of pubescent millionaires playing
games that add no value to
our society while making a
big show of disrespecting our
nation’s flag and our National Anthem. And they are
treated as heroes by a segment of our population.
They see a group of outof-control zealots storm the
seat of our democracy like in
some Third World country,
vandalizing and looting and
assaulting law enforcement
officers because they didn’t
like the outcome of the presidential election. And they
are treated as heroes by a
segment of our population.
They see a segment of our
population obsessed with
destroying our past like
Taliban terrorists, forgetting
Pres. John F. Kennedy’s admonition, “Let us not seek to
fix the blame for the past. Let
us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
They see hyphenated
Americans, as if where we
came from is more important than where we are.
(When you see me hyphenate
“American,” you will know
an imposter got hold of this
space. I submit we are all
Americans, all the time. No
hyphens. Period.)
Our democratic way of
life is priceless and not to be
taken for granted. An earlier
president, John Adams said,
“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes,
exhausts, and murders itself.
There never was a democracy yet that did not commit
suicide.”
Disrespect our flag. Disrespect our Capitol. Disrespect
our country. Disrespect each
other. And watch our democracy commit suicide. The
autocrats are waiting.”

Whether one agrees with every statement made above, I find its theme and purpose something that we each should consider and conduct ourselves accordingly.

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