Liberation Road

Tending the Garden of Democracy

Democracy may be a beautiful thing, but democracies, like flowers, require constant and careful cultivation. We can’t take blossoms — or democratic social orders — for granted.

The events of last week have exposed an uncomfortable truth. Democracy US-style rests on a shaky, battered, fragile foundation. Lies and tantrums, people all around the world have now seen, can lead to an armed attack on elected representatives fulfilling their most basic of duties: certifying the elections results for the nation’s top office.

But the disease in our democracy goes deeper than a physical storming of the Capitol. Continuing attempts at limiting voting rights — especially of Black people — have undermined “one person, one vote” and poisoned the soil of democracy. This virus of racism has surfaced, spread, and gone shockingly untreated.

In our Voices interview this issue, we look at the reactions last week’s assault has evoked among Latin@s and Mexican@s — and what they see as the path ahead. Our Reflections, meanwhile, sets out some principles for continuing the struggle against the “ethnic cleansing” that Donald Trump has so relentlessly promoted.

Diseased plants, all good gardeners understand, don’t recover all on their own. Gardeners need to act to save them, either by treating or pruning away the pestilence. With our democracy withering, we need to act, too, and give tending our garden our full attention.

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