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Together, we can save our democracy

Americans wrapped in a flag

"We must reaffirm the principles under which our country will function," writes Goodrich.

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Goodrich is the president and CEO of The Center for Organizational Excellence.

Our democracy is being challenged and, if lost, will impact our way of life in more ways than most may realize. I have given a lot of thought as to why our country’s political environment is in such chaos, facing significant turmoil that challenges our present and our future.

It is important to note that I am truly politically independent. I do not carry the water of any political party and always attempt to consider what is in the best interest of our country. I can have both conservative and liberal tendencies, depending on the issue being addressed, and believe at times each party goes to unhelpful extremes. Occasionally they get it right, but perhaps it’s time to rethink our two-party model.

The foundation of our democracy is the Constitution. I believe it is an imperfect document but provides a strong foundation for the democracy it established. I am in awe that the Founding Fathers thought so much through that it is still applicable today. Every American should read it, and there are “plain language” versions online if it helps. While still strong, it perhaps needs some updating, expanded explanation and more precise language.

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I fully understand why many of you are frustrated and have turned to alternative ways of thinking, but please hold strong. The fact is, while our three branches of government provide for the appropriate functions of government (mostly), along with the appropriate checks and balances, the system is not always being executed as intended. There is far too much consideration today for individual or party power, to the extent that lying, obfuscating, gaslighting, money grabs, demonizing and, frankly, just not performing the job as intended are causing our country to be dysfunctional.

In addition to democratic guideposts, we are two other requisites of serving a democracy: morality and honesty. Many in politics seem to be more concerned with individual celebrity and personal gain than getting things done for our country. Congress only passed 27 bills in 2023 (it typically passes hundreds per year). Further, arcane rules have been designed to usurp the “one person, one vote” rule. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by mock strength, we have been weakened.

Regardless of your ideology, there are many issues to be addressed and the work is not getting done. Some critical issues include addressing our national debt, immigration reform, economic strength, building infrastructure, making government more efficient, election reform, equal rights, human rights, world affairs, Social Security reform, tax reform, prison reform and much more. The work is simply not getting done. The tenets of greatness have been lost.

Take immigration reform, for example. Two people may disagree on the solution to the immigration issue or what our ideology should be, but we can agree it needs to be addressed. However, like the national debt, we don’t deal with it. We won’t get in the room together, state the problem clearly and solve it. Constant leadership by crisis causes us to be weakened.

I am frustrated along with you, but don’t allow yourselves to be misguided. It is we, Americans, who must solve the problem; we need clarity and honesty in our thinking and behaviors to do so. We cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into fallacies, misled or used. Instead, we must become involved, do our own investigations and work with facts (even if we don’t like them). We must reaffirm the principles under which our country will function. We must vote for noble leaders who will do the work of the people as true servants of our country based on the common set of principles. We must be willing to tell ourselves the truth and not be hoodwinked by others.

We may not agree on all the programs or solutions, and our country can’t be all things to all people, but we must be willing to be engaged and understand the function of a democracy so we can decide what is most important. Don’t allow yourself to be misguided, and only accept verified truths. Hold our leaders and media accountable for accuracy and action.

Losing our democracy will have a significant impact on each one of us. We will end up having more debt, paying more in taxes, receiving less service, losing our standard of living, allowing a limited few to have personal gain, being less safe and losing our leadership position in the world. We will become a second- or third-tier country.

It's time we wake up, engage, uncover truths, admit the tough lessons, and act honestly and respectfully. We can only be victims if we allow ourselves to be. We need to all understand who our elected officials are and the issues needing to be addressed at least two levels below the surface. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” I am just one of 336 million people but am willing to try. Please join me.

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