People Just Like You and Me Are Stepping up to Save Our Democracy. Here’s How You Can, Too
As we heard in this week’s January 6th hearings, democracy was tested following the 2020 presidential election. Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers testified on Tuesday that, in a phone call from Rudy Giuliani, he was asked to certify Trump as the winner of Arizona’s electoral votes despite the lack of voter fraud. Referencing that phone call, Bowers quoted Giuliani as saying, "We've got lots of theories, we just don't have the evidence." Thankfully, Bowers’ fealty to his oath of office prevented him from committing fraud saying, “I took an oath — for me to take that, to do what you do would be counter to my oath.”
Another witness, Shaye Moss—who we’ve previously featured in this Moving Humanity Forward section—testified before the January 6th Select Committee about how her life has been negatively impacted by the campaign of lies enacted by former President Trump where he named Moss in unfounded allegations that she processed fake ballots for Joe Biden. "It's turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card... I don't want anyone knowing my name," Moss shared. "I don't go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere at all. I've gained about 60 pounds. I just don't do nothing anymore."
It is becoming clearer throughout these January 6th hearings just how fragile our democracy actually is. It is only because of the integrity of everyday people operating to maintain their sworn oaths that the presidential election of 2020 was not falsely certified for Donald Trump. And it is up to each of us to act in accessible ways—just as these witnesses did—to ensure and protect our nation.
In conversation with CNN, Barbara Walter, a professor of political science at the University of California - San Diego, gives simple action steps that make monumental differences: 1. Vote, 2. Protest, and 3. Connect.
In the midst of a midterm election year, Walter says it’s impossible to overstate the importance of utilizing the right to vote in every local election. It’s vital that people at every level of our political systems are those of integrity. (Check your voting registration status, sign up to vote, and find everything you need to vote at Vote.org.)
Walter also states that peaceful protest is proven by research to make meaningful change and that if more people would politically engage via protest of all kinds, change is inevitable.
Perhaps most salient of Walter’s recommendations is the need for people from all walks of life to connect with those that look and think differently. She recommends engaging with grassroots organizations, local community groups, and initiatives that will expose you to a diversity of opinion. CNN contributor and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich says, "The most important thing that we can do as individuals is to recognize the intrinsic value of all other people—even people we don't like, people we don't agree with, people we fight with, maybe people that we get so angry we insult." These types of engagements will result in the humanization of those we might otherwise demonize.
So, as we aim to move humanity forward together, let us engage with voting, protest, and connection of all kinds. These simple acts can grow our empathy and understanding and build our integrity with which we operate. The outflow from this external and internal work may have revolutionary impact on ourselves and the world around us, just as Rusty Bowers’ and Shaye Moss’ actions have proven to do.
To get involved today, we recommend checking out Protect Democracy, a “nonpartisan nonprofit organization formed in late 2016 with an urgent and explicit mission: to prevent American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.” You can learn more here.