Oct 27, 2021
Warning that the Republican Party--which "remains under the sway" of former President Donald Trump--poses a "serious danger" to U.S. democracy, a group of writers, academics, and political activists spanning the ideological spectrum published an open letter Wednesday imploring Americans to come together despite their differences to "defend the things we value in common."
"The threat to liberal democracy has never been greater in our lifetime."
"Some of us are Democrats and others Republicans. Some identify with the left, some with the right, and some with neither," the letter states. "But right now we agree on a fundamental point: We need to join together to defend liberal democracy."
"Liberal democracy depends on free and fair elections, respect for the rights of others, the rule of law, a commitment to truth, and tolerance in our public discourse," the authors assert. "All of these are now in serious danger."
\u201cREAD the letter and the names of the signatories. They are ringing the alarm. Many of us have been ringing it for a long time. Either we will have a democracy (however imperfect) or we won\u2019t. It\u2019s that serious. Where do you stand? https://t.co/wKSBBRqiMK\u201d— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sherrilyn Ifill) 1635342912
The letter continues:
The primary source of this danger is one of our two major national parties, the Republican Party, which remains under the sway of Donald Trump and Trumpist authoritarianism. Unimpeded by Trump's defeat in 2020 and unfazed by the January 6 insurrection, Trump and his supporters actively work to exploit anxieties and prejudices, to promote reckless hostility to the truth and to Americans who disagree with them, and to discredit the very practice of free and fair elections in which winners and losers respect the peaceful transfer of power.
The signers--who run the gamut from leftists including Noam Chomsky and Adolph Reed Jr. to right-wing figures like Max Boot and Mona Charen--"vigorously oppose" GOP-led voter disenfranchisement laws, as well as efforts to overturn elections.
They also urge the Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress to "pass effective, national legislation to protect the vote and our elections, and if necessary to override the Senate filibuster rule."
"We urge all responsible citizens who care about democracy--public officials, journalists, educators, activists, ordinary citizens--to make the defense of democracy an urgent priority now," the letter implores. "Now is the time for leaders in all walks of life--for citizens of all political backgrounds and persuasions--to come to the aid of the republic."
Author and Indiana University political science professor Jeffrey C. Isaac, one of the letter's three authors, wrote Wednesday for Common Dreams that "the threat to liberal democracy has never been greater in our lifetime" than it is right now.
"Some of our signatories have long been aligned with the anti-war movement and with the Sanders wing of the Democratic party," Isaac noted. "Some have been aligned with the more centrist Obama-Clinton-Biden wing. Some were supporters of John McCain or Mitt Romney, and some--most notably Bill Kristol--were supporters of George W. Bush and of Ronald Reagan before him... And yet we have come together behind the letter."
"My collaborators and I believe it is important to come together with all of those who are willing to join in defense of democracy."
"We have not checked our differences at the door," Isaac said, noting that "many who will read this will be angry about what some of our signatories have said or done in the past."
However, he stressed that "my collaborators and I believe it is important to come together with all of those who are willing to join in defense of democracy."
Issac stressed that the moment demands "coming together, across differences, to defend the things that we value in common."
"Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best," he added, "at another moment when some very different people came together to oppose the tyranny of their time: 'We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.'"
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