artist: Eric Drooker
Some things are unacceptable. We all know this to be fact. We do not ask the woman with the black eye and the broken nose to accept her husband's violence. We do not ask the child with the lashes on their back and scissor cuts on their tongue to accept their mother's discipline. We do not ask the man with a burning cross on his lawn to accept white supremacy. We know these things to be violations of the very foundations of just and moral behavior, and we would never ask a victim of these violations to accept such actions. There are no exceptions or caveats. There are no justifications that can be given.
Some things are unacceptable.
When it comes to governing in a democracy, morality and justice become hotly debated topics. The standard for acceptability isn't defined, therefore, by what violates those metrics, but instead becomes something else entirely. What is unacceptable in a democracy is anything that makes it impossible for the democracy to function properly--anything that breaks the system of governance.
You know where I'm going with this, right?
I do not agree with the new administration about the necessity for the wall. I do not agree with their stance on abortion, or racial inequality, or LGBTQ issues. I do not agree with their choice to discriminate against Muslims, or their decision to block refugees from our country.
I do not agree with these things, but they are issues of justice and morality. They are--as much as I am loathe to admit it--up for debate. I will fight for them each and every day if I must, but I will never claim that taking an opposing side from mine is breaking our system of governance.
What is killing us--what is dismantling our democracy before our very eyes--is our new administration's relationship with the truth. Facts are not just being denied; they are being suppressed. Our government is actively working to keep the population ill-informed.
How, I ask, are we expected to participate in the political process--and make no mistake, the participation of the population is the defining characteristic of a democracy--when steps are being taken to keep us from having the basic information necessary to make well informed decisions?
"Alternate facts" are not any kind of facts at all, and facts are what we, the people, require in order to sustain our democracy.
Science is a non-partisan, facts based discipline, and the findings of scientific agencies should not be subjected to political review before being published.
Intellectual freedom is the bedrock for the First Amendment, and an integral component of a functioning democracy. We must be free to receive and disseminate ideas without restraint, or our system of governance will die.
This is not an issue of conservative vs progressive. It is not an issue of Democrat vs Republican. It is about the integrity of our democratic process, and it cannot be allowed to stand. Not if we want a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.
Some things are unacceptable.