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A friend just recently told me, "It could never happen here, not in America." I wondered if she was paying attention to current events in this country or even if she were aware of what was happening throughout the world. In recent years the decline in global democracy is alarming. It's a trend that should give us nightmares, as we haphazardly stroll along as if losing what it means to be an American, is of no real concern.

We are among ten countries who are facing challenges to our democratic institutions. India, Belarus, Hong Kong, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Poland, Turkey, Hungary and the Philippines are all on the downslide of losing freedoms and principles that have existed for a very long time. In America's case, our democratic republic will be 250 years old in 2026, if we can last that long. As we tilt towards an autocracy it is important to know that we may never recover what we have cherished and loved for almost 250 years. We may have already lost her.

Brazilian researcher of government intuitions at Harvard University, Fernando Bizzarro said, "The aggravation of existing problems is often a factor in the rise of anti-democratic politicians."

"For these leaders to come to power, you need other elements, such as a crisis of traditional parties," Bizzarro said, adding that increased political hostility can also play a role. "Polarization creates the feeling that, as you detest your opponent so much, anything goes to get rid of them — including destroying democracy."

"We have chronicled 81 periods of democratic decay in countries since 1900 — 50 of which have occurred since 2000. In roughly 75% of cases, the crisis resulted in a complete transition to autocracy."

When I think of America and all that she has endured, it isn't the presidents or even our system of government that brings most of my admiration and undying pride. It's the frontiersmen and their families who battled illness, death and wars that gives true meaning to what this great land had to offer. Through the blood, mud and unyielding spirit these men, these families, fought for all of the freedoms we enjoy today. Yet today we seem to be unencumbered by the struggles that went before us; their tomb stones ignored and trotted upon by their apathetic decedents, us. Some will argue that I am wrong, that we do honor them, but do we when we engage ourselves in tearing down all that they worked so damn hard for in building up? Our Constitution. Our Institutions. Our rule of law. They are all under attack in 2024.

Fernando Bizzarro has it right, we detest our political opponents so much that we are willing to toss it all away. Why not respectfully debate ideas and work for common ground? I'm afraid we're too far beyond that now. We'd rather wander around in our sleep, ignoring what's all around us. It can't happen to us. And then, we fall headfirst down the stairs. It's too late then.

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