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  • Writer's pictureNery Duarte

Democracy is Trust

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

I was born in Central America, but for economic and political reasons I emigrated to North America in my early twenties. The village where I spent my childhood was a rather isolated community where my mother was a school-teacher. My father worked as a courier in a nearby city, and came home to stay with us over the weekends. When I was five years old, my mom had already taught me how to read. However, reading materials were difficult to come by. Every Friday, my father would bring a bunch of newspapers from work. It was then that I was introduced to a journalist that perhaps shaped my thinking and my political views, his name was Clemente Marroquin Rojas. At the age of six I was perhaps the most faithful follower of one respected Guatemalan journalist and an avid reader of the newspaper he founded: La Hora. It was through this newspaper that I was introduced to and became acquainted with the ideals of the US Republican Party, and some of the party ideals which have permeated my political thinking such as: the sanctity and liberty of the individual, the concern that the power of the few would restrict the freedom of the many, the belief that individual liberties come with responsibilities, etc.

Throughout my life I have found it rather puzzling that the U.S. with such strong and respected democracy supported authoritarian regimes, some of which approached tyrannies. I also perceived that in many instances that U.S. support for authoritarian regimes in Latin America was because the other option was to let other totalitarian regimes infringe on their economic interests.

Four years ago, I found it quite remarkable that Donald Trump, a millionaire who apparently had paid no federal taxes in many years, who was reluctant to be transparent about his business history, and had led several of his businesses into bankruptcies, amongst other liabilities, became the president of United States. He ran under the banner of being the champion for the American working class while residing safely under a party that had built credibility and consistency on a certain policies and principles.

After almost four years of this presidency tenure, a many Republican leaders seem far less supportive of the current administration and a leader who has proven to be untamable, unpredictable and prone to extravagant hyperboles. Alarm bells should have sounded in the Republican party in 2018 when they catastrophically lost the control of the House of Representatives. Losing control of the Senate in this upcoming election may not be far fetch, in spite of the fact that it appears many senate candidates are cautiously trying to distance themselves from their current executive leadership. Even more alarming is to see that this year the Republican party convention chose not to include discussions over policy and principles, rather, simply accepting the lead of their president.

Four years ago, the Republican campaign along its candidate had a simple message to the electorate: Make America Great Again, plus promising freedom from a corrupt political establishment. These promises resonated deeply in the souls and minds of disillusioned voters. Throughout this 2020 campaign the Republican Party reelection campaign kept returning to this compelling message. This renewed catchphrase “Make America Great Again” appears very appropriate for this election since Covid-19 has brought the world to its knees, including United States. The only mandate for either both parties involved in this political campaign and as either Biden or Trump are elected president will be: Make America Great Again.

Having said all this, my current concern about US democracy is the fact that the legitimacy of its electoral process is been challenged by its own executive branch. This throws a bucket of cold water on a worldwide respected democratic election given the fact that around the word the electoral process of United States has always had great credibility and respect. Many democratic nations are disinclined to deal with government leaders of other nations whose very legitimacy is questionable. International businesses are also leery of investing in countries perceived as electorally discredited.

Undermining the legitimacy of the United States presidential electoral process will only help to further diminish the credibility and leadership the United States has crafted around the world.

Asserting that the upcoming presidential election will be fraudulent and that individual choices will not be respected during this electoral process is like planting a malware seed in the minds and hearts of the electorate. This nefarious seed could grow from general discontent to a full-blown civil war, no matter who will be chosen as the next US president.

Because of my profession as a humanitarian worker I have had the opportunity to travel to many countries and can confirm that I have personally seen my share of elections which includes many fraudulent ones. In most cases, fraudulent elections are achieved by the people in power and would like to stay in it. On top of this, in such elections, the electoral process is controlled by a single institution associated with the party in power. I find it unusual that in the current US election it is the US executive branch that is claiming the election will be potentially fraudulent. If this is truly the case, all state electoral institutions and appropriate law enforcement offices should have received a formal request to investigate the alleged fraud, along with all the available evidence in order for law and order agencies to work on averting such criminal wrongdoing.

At this moment the only messages the American people have heard comes from the executive branch with repetitively warnings of a potentially manipulated election. The seed of a possible fraudulent election has been planted. At this point the US electorate needs to be assured that the White House has approached federal and state law and intelligence agencies, and that all are working together to prevent such alleged election fraud. This is very important, parting from the assumption that such serious allegations can have potentially significant national security consequences, especially since this fraud scheme allegations are been giving in an already socially disaffected atmosphere with substantial amounts of armed militia across the country constantly displaying their lethal capacity.

A pillar of democracy is trust. In the U.S., the winner of the presidential election is chosen by the Electoral College, Unfortunately, currently the United States electorate has been clearly led to distrust the fairness of their upcoming election thus throwing a shade of uncertainty into one of the most important pillars of their democracy: Trust.


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Other reading: Donald Trump and the Evangelical Christian Branding

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