Viewpoints

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

3/8/22
By: Carol Voyles

Our Founding Fathers chose a republican form of government. In this form of government the power is held by the people and elected representatives are required to help all people, not just a few. To further guard against tyranny, our Founders also established three coequal branches of government

“A republic, if you can keep it,” Benjamin Franklin warned. In 2019 Pew Research found a majority of us lacked confidence in our government. And considering the level of misinformation we have been experiencing, Vladimir Putin might also see a country beginning to look more like his own.

President Biden was elected in 2020. And while division still reigns, his State of the Union address inspired optimism. He began, “Tonight we meet as Democrats, Republicans and Independents. But most importantly as Americans, with a duty to one another, to the American people, and to the Constitution, and with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.”

The Soviet Union was dissolved on August 24, 1991. Ukraine officially became independent,

and the people of Ukraine are reminding us that democracy matters. President Biden reestablished our NATO and European Union alliances, assumed a position of leadership, and coordinated efforts to undermine Putin’s attack. We have never experienced a more unified effort against such aggression.

Putin stands alone, and the bravery and resolve of Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy inspires. “Light will win over darkness,” he proclaimed to the European Parliament.

President Biden elaborated, “We countered Russia’s lies with truth.” We also choked off Russia’s access to technology and banking that will “sap its economic strength for years to come.”

After pointing out that releasing gasoline from our strategic reserve could “help blunt gas prices here at home,” we were reminded of our own Rescue Plan. Local businesses received federal assistance and children were lifted out of poverty. We are also rebuilding our aging infrastructure “back better” and creating manufacturing jobs. And we will have more access to broadband in coming months.

Due in large part to this investment, our economy grew at an annual rate of 5.7% in 2021, a rate not seen in over 40 years. Work remains to be done, though. Too many families are living paycheck to paycheck, prescription drug prices must come down, and our soaring inflation rate is robbing us of “gains we might otherwise feel.” We were reassured that every tool at our president’s disposal would be used to manage these challenges.

Concerning immigration, additional resources are being sent to our southern border to detect illegal drugs and streamline processes. Reform? “Let’s get it done once and for all,” he proclaimed to cheers.

President Biden spent an unusual amount of time connecting with congressmen following his speech. Sen. Ben Cardin commented, ”America is coming back strong.” That’s accurate, all things considered.

From Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), “Our work isn’t finished.” We can all agree with that.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) added, “His vision for building a better America leads the fight for democracy around the world.” Democracies are clearly united now.

And according to Rep.Jamie Raskin (D-MD), “All of us must stand strong against authoritarianism and for democracy.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) offered, “This speech was full of false claims and more of the ‘free’ things that the president claimed will cost no one anything.”

To retain some perspective, our nation’s debt became $7.8T larger under Trump. It was up $1.8T in 2021, President Biden’s first year in office. And he again suggested that billionaires “might pay the same tax rate as their secretaries.”

We might also agree that democracy is worth the effort. Our United States is not only the world’s oldest democracy, we are the world’s wealthiest nation. Russia has been around for a while, too, and it is larger than all of Europe. Its economy is the size of Italy’s.

To end on a positive note, we might recall that our lawmakers stood and applauded in unison when asked to salute the Ukrainians. Our president concluded, “We can’t change how divided we’ve been, but we can change how we move forward…Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time. And we will as one people. One America. The United States of America.”

“May God bless you all. May God protect our troops.”

Carol Voyles is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum

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