United States of America - Born July 4, 1776. Died July 1, 2024?

By D.A. Gougherty |  Happy Independence Day!  Today, Americans celebrate their independence. On this day, or some say on July 2 , 248 ye...

By D.A. Gougherty | 

Happy Independence Day! 

Today, Americans celebrate their independence. On this day, or some say on July 2, 248 years ago, a group of men in Philadelphia signed the Declaration of Independence.

During our 248 years of sovereignty, our nation has expanded and traveled to the highest heights and traversed some of its lowest lows but always came closer to reaching the more perfect union. Through it all, even when faced with strong headwinds, there has been a long-term dedication to expanding democracy and expanding individual rights, all based on the long-pursued belief that all people are created equal and of equal significance, that no one is above the law because we are a nation of laws, not men.

Thanks to rulings by a majority of the United States Supreme Court Justices, those long-held beliefs have been whittled away in recent years. Two years ago, the justices gave individual states the ability to deprive women dominion over their bodies and the healthcare they had achieved 50 years earlier, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling.

Recently, this same majority of the justices have opened the door to the subjugation of our justice system. Specifically, they ruled that any president of the United States has immunity from "official" acts, thus opening the door to endless possibilities for any American president to test the limits of their power. 

A day after that ruling, an EGN contributor texted us, "Was yesterday the day the republic died?" Given our current national political environment, it's a reasonable question. 

In an era before the 45th American president, there was an understanding and time-honored tradition of a peaceful transition of power of our chief executive officer based on the people's will. The actions of the 45th president, after the people did not select him, broke the tradition of an American standard of civic excellence that was a beacon for other fledgling democracies worldwide.

Following this ruling by the Supreme Court Justices, aside from a well-documented adherence to law and traditions, what is to stop the current president from ordering attacks or harassment of political opponents, or worse, regular citizens, and declaring it is an official act and being immune from consequences?  

Or suppose the previous president returns to office. What will stop him from implementing any of his openly stated acts of vengeance, knowing the Supreme Court's immunity ruling shields him?

Many will say the case that the republic died on July 1 is overstated, and our democracy can withstand this opening of the door to authoritarian rule. With all sincerity, I hope they are correct.

Notwithstanding the immediate past president's proclivities, American democracy can survive the possible onslaught if we, the people, stand up and demand adherence to democracy from every person elected to serve us. Nothing short of that and that death date could become a reality. 

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