Is America Still The Beacon Of Democracy? Yes, Even More So

By Ikenga Chronicles January 9, 2021

Is America Still The Beacon Of Democracy? Yes, Even More So

— Vitus Ozoke

I have read commentaries from people around the world, including world leaders, some delivered in sarcastic jest, insinuating that the United States is no longer the beacon of democracy, and can no longer lecture the world on that D word. Nothing can be further from the truth. The truth is that the events of Wednesday, June 6, on the Capitol Hill, and for the past four years, go to demonstrate that America is still the cornerstone of democracy. That cornerstone is firmly secured in the adjunct principles of the rule of law, equality before the law, periodic elections, separation of powers among three co-equal branches of government, and checks and balances among those branches.

The upheavals of Wednesday, when home grown terrorists, incited by Donald Trump, attacked sacred principles and institutions of American democracy, as significant and remarkable as they are, neither detract nor negate the century-long agreement that the United States is the beacon and cornerstone of global democracy. On the contrary, the events of June 6 strengthen that agreement. Nobody has ever claimed that the process of democracy is pretty. As a matter of fact, democracy, by both its nature and essence, is intended and designed to be messy. To the extent that it is not a claim of democracy that all of God’s creatures are normal law abiding citizens, democracy could not have, and never, guaranteed the absence of deviants and miscreants in its ecosystem. Interestingly, what democracy guarantees are enough space for the expression of deviance and the protection of the deviant’s due process rights under the law and the Constitution.

That democratic bargain was kept on Wednesday. American democracy was attacked, but American democracy stood firm and unpanicked. The institution of American democracy showed both restraint and resilience in the face of an assault that would have drawn out the worst in any other civilization. From the Supreme Court of the United States to District and Circuit courts across the country, judges – both Democrat and Republican appointed, upheld the law, even in the face of intimidations. Voters went to the polls to reclaim and restore the soul and conscience of the nation. So that even as a criminal gang of insurrectionist hooligans overwhelmed Capitol police in Washington, Georgia was sending Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff as its new senators to Washington in a historic, groundbreaking, and groundshifting election.

If America were not America, the Capitol Rotunda would have turned into a flowing tunnel of blood. It is a testament to American democracy and its allied commitments that the vast lawns of G Street SE of Capitol Hill did not become a reenactment of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, or Nigeria’s 2020 Lekki toll slaughter. Don’t get me wrong, America has not always got it right, which may explain why its founding fathers set American generations on an infinite search for a more perfect union. But American democracy, as the victim of Wednesday’s attack, got it right. It did not panic, it did not overreact, and it still got its business done, so that in eleven days the terrorist it has constitutionally harbored in the Whitehouse for four years will be shown the way out into a long walk to shame and ignominy. American democracy was tried. American democracy held firm and solid.

So, for the world leaders who will want to use Wednesday to mock American democracy, you may want to rather look for the beautiful and principled lessons of Wednesday. A strong and self-confident democracy does not panic; it does not overreact; it does not yield; and it does not abandon scheduled business. America does not cease being the beacon of democracy to the rest of the world because its democratic institutions were attacked. America never made the claim that its democracy would never be attacked. What America promised was that an attack on its democracy would not result in the surrender and abandonment of its sacred values. On Wednesday, America kept that promise. Other nations should learn that lesson of democracy. So, is America still the beacon and champion of democracy? Yes, it is, even more so. Pope John Paul II did not cease being an admired pope because he was shot by an assassin.

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