OPINION: Warring on our democracy: will you vote to keep your country?

Patrick Hamilton, Design Chief

“…Would it not in that case
Be simpler for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?”
-Die Lösung: Bertolt Brecht, 1953
You – students, faculty, friends – can speak for your country and your values, or you can watch your democracy die.
On November 8th, vote for the Democrats.
Go to your polling station and bring a friend who can vote, and vote like your future depends on it. Never in living memory has the United States faced such a dangerous moment. This is the first time in modern history that a former president rejected the results of a legitimate election. Indeed, this is the first time in American history that a president has attempted to overthrow our government.
If the Republican party wins the majority in the Congress, you will experience the nightmare of a government taken over by the lunatic fringe of criminals who have lied without consequence and intend, in their own words, to take your country away from you.
Both parties were built on our nation’s democratic principles: we fight our hardest to win the election, and if we lose, we try to bounce back later. We are not a nation of sore losers. Even if we complain, every president since the Civil War has peacefully transferred power to his successor – until now.
The Republican party is now the party of Trump, and they are the party of his attempted coup d’état. Unfortunately, we cannot expect elected Republicans to be convinced to do what is best for this country. The few Republicans that have put country first and accepted the results of the 2020 election, like Representative Liz Cheney, have been castigated by their colleagues as ‘traitors.’ There is an inescapable conclusion: we can either support American democracy, or we can support the GOP.
Our democracy is challenged from multiple fronts. In theory, the American people choose their representatives, but in practice, for many states, that is exactly reversed as representatives choose their voters.
Consider our state: when one third of Louisiana’s population is Black, and the state has six seats in Congress, how many of those seats should be representative of the Black community?
For elected Republicans in Louisiana, that question wasn’t hard to answer. The state drew a map last summer limiting Black representation to only one of the six Congressional seats. This was challenged in court, and federal judge Shelly Dick ruled that it clearly violated the Voting Rights Act. This is the very same Voting Rights Act that was proposed and passed by Democrats in 1965 as a necessary mechanism to stop Southern states from using discriminatory practices to silence Black votes.
However, instead of accepting Judge Dick’s decision and giving equal representation to Black voters, Louisiana Republicans appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and won with the support of Republican activist justices that own the court’s majority today.
With an extensive pipeline of ideological judges from organizations like the Federalist Society flowing into state and federal courts, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court, Republicans have been unapologetic about advancing their agenda through bad-faith manipulation of the judiciary. Most dramatically, the Supreme Court is now the party’s greatest victory, with five of the justices having been appointed by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote.
They have accomplished many of their goals anti-democratically, circumventing elections all over the country by ‘legislating from the bench’ with courts filled with unqualified activist judges; from dismantling gun control laws and the separation between church and state, to stopping the federal government from effectively combating climate change and forgiving student debt.
Democrats in Congress have the ability to push back against this abuse, but we have to give them that power through our votes.
The Republican party is gone. It has been devoured from the inside by the criminals and fanatics of the MAGA cult. Why else would party members vote almost unanimously to acquit then-President Trump not once, but twice, for crimes clearly and obviously committed in broad daylight? Why else would party leaders continue to either advocate or quietly approve the easily provable lie that President Biden stole the 2020 election? Why else would party leaders lie and deny the many, grave accusations of corruption, criminal misconduct, and espionage against the former president, his family members, and closest associates? The Republican party leadership has betrayed its honest members and its country. The Democratic party is far from perfect, and never above criticism, but its leaders have not endangered this country and betrayed their public trust. On Election Day, we cannot hesitate, we cannot turn away, and we cannot survive as a democracy if we allow the tainted and corrupt leadership of what was once the Republican party to take power again. We must vote, vote in great numbers, and vote Democratic at least this time.
The threat is even greater if we lose this election. Understanding the importance of voting on November 8th may encourage you to get off your ass and bring a friend with you to the ballot box. Republican leaders have promised to get rid of Medicare and Social Security if they reclaim power. They have promised to infringe on your right to privacy, control your reproductive rights, and move our country backwards. They have promised to force government shutdowns and default on our debt. And most significantly, the Republican party has waged a war against our democracy. In the last year, Republican legislatures have adopted hundreds of laws to restrict voting access, fought to dismantle the Voting Rights Act, and to suppress minority voices. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said “if Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again.” Republican leaders know we don’t support their ideas, they know they can’t win legitimately, and now they’ve waged a war against us. Now, it’s time for us to fight back.
The exhausted majority of Americans have to work even harder to get out and vote this midterm election and defeat Republican extremism. Republican leaders do not care about you, they do not care about this country, and they do not care about democracy. We cannot change the structure of the system without winning at the polls.
Young voters have the power to swing this election. If you care about your life and want to have a say in where we go as a nation, get out and defend democracy. Register to vote now: vote by mail, vote in person, but don’t forget to vote while your vote still counts.