Why we must protect our democracy

Democracies protect freedoms. Land mines that can lead to its destruction are now being planted in many ways, sometimes subtle and often unheeded. The urgency of now calls for its protection.

There are some countries where people have very little rights, little voice or no voice at all: Totalitarian North Korea, when marking the 10th Anniversary of the death of Kim Jong II, forbid its people from grocery shopping, drinking alcohol, laughing or engaging in leisure activities, under the threat of criminal arrest or execution. If a family member died during the mourning period, the family was forbidden to cry out loud. Millions, including babies and children, starve to death, with no government assistance.

In autocracies like Russia, free and fair elections are hijacked, journalists assassinated, those practicing religious freedoms are detained and often never seen again and voicing opposition to the current government leaders can result in imprisonment or execution. Saudi Arabia discriminates against its women. They cannot choose their marriage partners, are not protected during domestic violence cases and have no legal rights to their children after a divorce.

Since 2017, in The People’s Republic of China, where over a million have been imprisoned and held in forced labor camps, they force sterilizations on women, regulate the number of children one can have and lawyers, legal assistants and activists defending jailed government critics are arrested and detained.

Without democracy, voices are silenced and freedoms denied. “We The People” is the foundation of our freedoms. The current state of our national discord calls for us to stand up and protect our democracy. If we don’t, it will die and when democracies die, autocracies are born.

Antonia Harlan


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