Democracy is under attack; Americans must respond

Story by Michael Messele, Staff Writer

Democracy is something we heavily value as Americans. As a nation, we often set the example for how nations across this world should apply democratic values. But for the past four years, the US has had increasing attacks on the basic values of democracy.

From far-right media to the 45th president, we’ve seen it all: the attacks on our elections, the attacks on our elected officials, the attack on our Capitol. But these attacks shouldn’t be a surprise, due to how the business of disinformation has been so profitable for media outlets like Fox News, Newsmax and OAN. They use their megaphones not to spread truth and unity, but instead to mislead their audience, which, for some, riles them up to the point of  committing violence or putting the lives of others in danger. 

This simmering climate of disinformation boiled over during the events of Jan. 6, a direct threat to democracy which could have had far worse consequences. When people believe free and fair elections are stolen and rigged, this causes anger and distrust in our system, which directly hinders our goal of spreading democracy, and makes our adversaries laugh in our face. It seems like people in power have no respect for the platform they have, and feel emboldened to say and do whatever they want without consequence. They believe their actions don’t lead people to commit heinous attacks against our government or  spread more misinformation.

But we would be foolish to believe they are not aware of what they are doing. Every time they get up and speak, whether that’s in Congress, the White House or even a news studio, they are willingly dangling democracy in their fingers. They do it for the attention, the money and the fame. We must understand that democracy is not something to play around with, and that we must protect it with all our might, though there are many looking for a way to destroy it. 

One part of the solution is identifying the problem and addressing it , and the other part is finding a solution.  The solution for this big of a problem is one that will have to take all of us to fix. We must hold everyone accountable for their words and actions, especially those with power. They must understand that disinformation and lies will not be tolerated by viewers, and the citizens of this country. 

By boycotting, passing legislation, and speaking truth to power, these voices will slowly go away. They must understand that our democracy won’t be destroyed so easily, especially by those who do it just for the sake of money and fame. 

As humans we have a tendency to not cherish or value the things around us and take them for granted. As a nation we do  not value the privileges we have as Americans. We take our democracy and our freedoms for granted. That in itself creates a false sense of protection, that we shouldn’t have. We should always be alert to the threats to our democracy and take them as seriously as possible. For if we don’t we will see attacks such as the one on the Capitol in the future. But we still have time to change and take action on the mistakes we made that lead to the insurrection on the Capital. 

As I hinted at earlier there is a way for us to steer out of this mess we have found ourselves in. First off we can speak our minds and let our representatives regulate the disinformation in our media. I’m not saying to limit free speech or anything like that, but disinformation is a weapon that can harm many people. That is what needs to be regulated, for people can be easily manipulated and be used to spread hate. We must also boycott the specific media outlets, politicians, and pundits that push disinformation and spread attacks on democracy. We can’t simply let them use the excuse of the first amendment to stab our democracy in the back. They must understand there are consequences when you try to tear down a country for your own good, just like a dictator. For in America we are a country that believes in the distribution of power and not power solely circulating amongst the rich and powerful. If we truly believe these principles we must act like we do and not let disinformation and attacks on our democracy steer us away from who we are.