Caught this just now “Rapid City SD”

Posted by Ethan Zain on Friday, July 24, 2020

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Democracies don’t last long

Native Sun News Today Columnist

The “norms” sustaining our political system in America as well as the State of South Dakota have never favored American Indians because they have been based to a large degree on racial exclusion.

Most Americans have a hard time believing that: we got rid of the Slavery of black people, didn’t we? We passed Civil Rights Laws, didn’t we?

But, most Indians know racial exclusion to be a real thing. History tells us that America’s democratic “norms were born in a context of exclusion.

The prevailing parties we now know, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have had that history in common.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. Courtesy photo

I drove past a beautifully colorful parade of young Indian graduates from local high schools in the downtown of our city yesterday.Horns honked and people waved and young men and women smiled.

The norms we often speak of are “checks and balances”, our Constitution, mutual toleration, restraint, all of which started to be eroded in the Barack Obama period when Republicans questioned the legitimacy of his presidency. America’s notions about Race and Culture contributed to the difficult period confronted by America’s first black president.

America’s Democracy, then, rooted in the denial of destructive events concerning Race and Culture in America’s early thinking has resulted in the rugged polarization we are now recognizing. Suffice it say that there are differences of opinion between the parties which are largely historical and are embedded in the political strategies we are experiencing today. Democrats are no longer just political rivals, they are enemies. Republicans are no longer just conservatives. They are demagogues, fanatics. It seems that the so-called “norms” are coming home to roost and some say they are breaking down our ability to govern ourselves.

There are warning signs that America’s Democracy is at risk. Many writers like myself worry that a major principle embedded in all democratic societies like ours, THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, has been under enormous stress for most of the 20thcentury and today, in this century, with the advent of a blossoming tech world, it is unraveling as a protective shield for the people of a very diverse society. The Press, most of us believe, has been a gatekeeper of the notion that civil society needs to be told the Truth and the freedom of the journalistic world has its responsibilities.

Today, we have normalized the election of a leader, Donald Trump, who claims to be a Republican, who calls “the press” the enemy. He threatens Democracy because he does not tell the truth, he pushes through voter suppression tactics by his party, threatens to jail journalists and considers using government regulatory agencies against anyone who blocks his intentions.


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Note: Thumbnail photo by Tia Dufour / White House

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