Democracy is hard. In no country does it work unless people want it. The fundamental choice Americans will make in the 2022 mid-term elections.
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After spending more than 2 trillion in a war that cost the lives of 120,000, the United States has given up on creating a democracy in Afghanistan. Democracy is hard in a country where people live to hate. In no country does it work unless people want it to. That raises questions about our own democracy and the divisions fomented by some in the political class.
We’ve ceased to be a nation bound by a common vision, or national purpose, even a common set of ideas. We’ve degenerated into warring tribes spewing petty grievance in a never-ending culture war.
There are those who believe President Biden was elected and those who insist election fraud will be found if just keep looking for it. Those who have been vaccinated and those who think refusing a vaccine renders them a brave and valiant hero in the culture war. Those who applaud economic and job growth that is the highest in 40 years, and those who say we are mired in a national security crisis, humanitarian crisis, an inflation, public health and labor shortage crisis. Those who believe the public square is a place to advance ideas, and those who regard a microphone license to spew hate. Those who want to lead the world into the 21st century, and those who regard the future a big ugly scary reptile.
Divisions would be understandable if we were debating seminal questions of our time. China’s aggression, the national debt, how we pay our bills, better educate our children, rebuild our navy, and fix an immigration system that has been broken for decades. We aren’t even pretending to have civil discussions about these urgent matters of our time.
The coming mid-terms will be fought over something more fundamental. The kind of nation we shall become. Separated by those who want government to work, and those who don’t want it to do anything. Those who regard diversity and a better educated electorate a source of strength, and those who fear being governed by people who don’t look or think like them. Those who have learned the hard lessons of 20th century Europe, and those who worship at the altar of a personality cult. Those who embrace the ideals of a nation founded 245 years ago, and those who prefer an authoritarian theocracy.
This is what will be on the ballot in the 2022 federal election. And will remain our dividing line until Americans decisively choose the kind of country they want.
Candidates, Republican and Democrat, who offer real solutions to real problems will not always win. But you can hold your head high knowing that you are trying preserve a democracy more than a million American soldiers died to defend.
Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.
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