Democracy Was Already Dead

Tom Coffin’s featured story in Eugene Weekly titled “Totalitarian Ruin” (10/7) appeared to encapsulate the fears that many reasonable people (Democrats, moderates, even some Republicans, likely) are already grappling with in the aftermath of the attempted Jan. 6 insurrection. He dared readers to imagine what things would be like in our country had these domestic terrorists succeeded in overturning the 2020 election and usurping the government (think North Korea and Russia).

His resounding point in this piece was that our very democracy is at stake, now more than ever, and that we risk losing it all as we face the threat of similar events in the near future. Here’s my gripe: Our democracy has been so selectively applied, from its inception, that it barely ever resembled a democracy at all. So what exactly are we trying to salvage here?

 Coffin himself admitted in his piece that the U.S. “still features systemic oppression of African Americans through its justice system, police use of deadly force,” as in, to this day in 2021. This comes as no surprise given the constitution was written by and for a select group of people.

So in order to imagine a better future, we must be bold enough to acknowledge that this current system, which called itself a democracy but operated more like an autocracy, is working exactly as it was designed to, exclusively benefiting white men at its inception, and now maintaining an elite, racist, sexist, inhumane power structure. We can and must do better. The work starts with admitting where we stand. 

Cassandra Buitron