Who needs democracy?

“Americans appear to be waking up to the reality that our democracy is on the ropes.” So wrote Heather Cox Richardson in her daily Letters from an American blog today.

I think that many Americans are not very concerned about “democracy”.

Our daily lives are filled with concerns about getting the kids to school, getting to work on time, paying bills, caring for elderly parents, watching a movie, fixing the car, and thousands of small things. “Protecting democracy” doesn’t seem to affect those daily tasks.

So it’s little wonder that Americans have not been agitated by the attacks on democracy, and some – too many – are actually okay with undermining democracy in the name of “integrity”.

We should try to bring the message home more clearly. “Powerful people in state governments are taking away your vote. They will choose who wins and loses. They won’t ask you. Your vote, and your opinion, won’t matter.”

But for most people, democracy only exists on election day. It’s not an everyday worry. And for many people, the vote itself was lost – or given up – long ago. For them, democracy has no place in their lives. They feel that their vote and their voice already don’t matter.

For them, losing democracy isn’t something to worry about – not until it’s actually gone, not until they are turned away from the polling place, not until their candidate is replaced by someone who finished out of the running.

Not until it’s too late to get it back.