We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us
- Author June Stepansky
- Published November 20, 2021
- Word count 551
Cartoonist Walt Kelly modified and changed Commodore Perry’s famous quote to, “We have met the enemy and he is us” in a cartoon he created in 1970 celebrating the first Earth Day in 1970. The message being that man from his treatment of the earth is the planet’s enemy.
It may also be true that the greatest enemy of democracy is not our corrupt leaders, but that a large part of our country’s citizens do not love or understand what democracy really means. If they do not love or want a free press that allows opposition and differences of opinion to flourish, then they do not love or want democracy. If legislators take away the rights of any minority and hamper free elections and the ability for every eligible citizen to easily cast a vote, then they do not love democracy. If school boards take books out of libraries as Texas is doing, because they consider the books too disturbing or controversial, then they are going down the path of the book burnings that happened in Nazi Germany and they do not love or want democracy. Instead of democracy they want only their own opinions and their own laws to prevail and flourish and are willing to vote for leaders who will give them what they want. But leaders who willingly lie and bend the laws to obtain power eventually take away not only the rights of the minorities they oppose, but also ultimately take away all their citizens rights as we have seen in other countries that have become authoritarian and have lost their democracy.
In the United States we are on a dangerous road toward losing our freedom. If in the next few elections the people vote for leaders with selfish and corrupt motives and authoritarian tendencies, then the voters will ultimately be responsible for giving away their precious freedom and once you give away your freedom, it is very difficult and perhaps impossible to ever get it back.
In a Democracy everyone has a voice and is worthy of respect. Poor people, rich people, minorities and majorities and people of different religions and different ethnicities. If a voter does not believe in that, then they do not love democracy. That is the dilemma that the voters in America will soon be facing in the coming elections in 2022 and 2024. How many voters still love democracy and are willing to vote for and support leaders who will protect it? The future of our country and the future and well-being of our children and all future generations are now in the hands of all of us who are voters—an awesome and frightening responsibility. We must now all work and fight to protect our ability to vote. We must fight for the "For the People act of 2021" that will help to protect every citizen’s right to vote. We must all make an effort to get the information we need from many different reliable sources so we can become wise and informed voters and ultimately cast our vote for leaders who will always protect our democracy and the rule of law and keep it forever strong and safe. Democracy needs every voter now as it has never before needed all of us to work and fight for its very survival.
June Stepansky is a published writer and poet who writes books and articles about happiness, self-improvement and social and political issues. Her poetry has been published in the literary magazine Vol No 21 Childhood and in Vol No 22. Poems that Need to be Explained.
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