Democracy Tested as Never Before

Democracy Tested as Never Before
Ruth Gadebusch

By Ruth Gadebusch

We had so looked forward to the election thinking that we could return to some measure of honor and get on to dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and other urgent matters. Alas, it was not to be.

Yes, the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket won in what, arguably, was the most watched election ever. However, the current president has continued to make false claims refusing to accept the will of the people. Such a possibility had long been feared, but we confidently thought there was still sufficient honor in the Republican Party to rein him in. Unfortunately, the principle of putting country before party is in exceedingly short supply.

Despite little success, spurious legal claims continue to be filed while the President shows his disregard for the safety of the nation and its people by denying the President-elect access to information needed to prepare for the inevitable change of power on Jan. 20. Again, where are the honorable Republicans of responsibility?

There certainly is no statesmanship in the pronouncements of the Republican leader of the Senate, the Senator from Kentucky. Likewise from Congress members Devin Nunes (R–Fresno) and Kevin McCarthy (R–Bakersfield) of our region. Not that we expected any from either!

One of the more frightening things of this whole situation is the number of voters who supported, and still support, the current President, who has so positively demonstrated the void in his understanding of the democratic system. He has demonstrated both in action and voice his character, or lack of it. At least we can “give the devil his due” in that he has made no secret of his proclivities for bringing out the worst in this nation that long carried the hope of the world.

As an educator with a particular interest in civic education I must ask: Where did we go wrong? Why do so many continue to support him despite their own poor economic condition, the health threat of the bungled Covid-19 response and many noting that they fully well recognize the ugliness of his behavior but support him regardless? What trouble does that portend for the future of this great experiment of democracy, rule by the people for the welfare of all?

It was with such joy that I heard Joe Biden, a man of honor, empathy and self-effort, molded from what we consider “the salt of the Earth” family fulfillment of the American dream, call for the nation to put aside our differences and come together. But then there is that other voice still shouting. It is time to focus on the positive, our togetherness.

Speaking of togetherness, what is so difficult about following restrictions that protect us all from that dastardly coronavirus? It is not just to protect us as individuals but also those who must come in contact with us.

The purpose of the restrictions is not to make life difficult for some business or to aggravate someone wanting to move freely. It is true that masks and six feet distance are an annoyance to the wearer, but it is the avenue to protection of the wearer and all others.

It should be clear to anyone that this virus is serious, not to be taken lightly. Had these precautions been taken seriously in the beginning, we would not be in the present pandemic. We would not be having to double down if all obeyed the restrictions.

Freedom does not mean doing as one pleases, ignoring others. Living together in a civilized society requires making the needs of others as important as your own.

How many more seriously ill or dying does it take to convince us that this is not a political game? It is real. Many are offering heroic service to care for the fallout. Even for those who survive there are long-term consequences.

Covid-19 is drastic for the entire economy, for health, for relationships, for education and more. It is obviously not disappearing on its own. We must take the necessary steps immediately.

It is time for the egomaniac president and his co-conspirator Republicans to bow to the Constitution and facilitate the transfer of power. It is time for the rest of us to join Joe Biden in bringing this nation together, really meaning it when we say all and together. Only then can we and the rest of the world relax that once again there is respect and compassion—hope—for our fellow/sister humans sharing this planet.


Ruth Gadebusch is a former naval officer, Fresno Unified School District trustee and member of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She is an emeritus member of the Center for Civic Education and retains an active interest in various other educational and community endeavors.


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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