I’m watching today’s so-called American leaders with a mix of outrage and despair over what is happening right under our noses. And yet, I keep reminding myself that as a country, we have weathered these challenges before — we have gone to the edge, to the very brink of chaos, and at the last moment pulled back toward principles we still share.
Can we do it again?
It is painfully clear we have a president who degrades everything he touches, a person who does not understand (or care?) that his duty is to defend our democracy. Meanwhile, those who should be providing the balance our Founding Fathers intended, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are instead choosing partisan politics, blind loyalty and extreme, outdated ideologies.
But how do we, as citizens, fix this? Our most powerful tool is still the electoral process. We must not be distracted from the opportunity we have in 2020 to reject hatred and division and choose civility and progress. Let’s not talk about impeachment or put all our hopes on the special counsel: The former is mired in Washington politics and the latter will be once the report is released. Let’s stay focused on taking back our country with the power of our votes.
To do that, we have to start now. If we have learned anything from the past two elections, it’s that we have to focus energy early and consistently on the right candidates and issues — locally and nationally — to rescue our democracy.
I’m not satisfied any longer simply waiting for justice to be served. I’m determined to fight for it, now and for the next two years, inspired by newer and younger voices picking up the cause.
There is so much damage to heal from, so much division to repair, so many good works to return to. What a worthy fight to engage in, don’t you think?
Robert Redford is an actor, director, producer and environmental activist.