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CGTN:(龚炯)The most important agenda item at Biden's 'Summit for Democracy'

发布时间: 2021年12月09日 浏览次数: 编辑: 沈佳琪 雨晴

The most important agenda item at Biden's 'Summit for Democracy'

(来源:CGTN--Opinions   2021-12-09

A homeless person sleeps at a monument in Washington, D.C., U.S., October 6, 2021. /CFP

Editor's note: John Gong is a professor at the University of International Business and Economics and a research fellow at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies at UIBE. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

U.S. President Joe Biden's upcoming global democracy summit arrives at a timely moment, as democracy in America is facing an unprecedented crisis. The most important agenda at the summit should be about mending and repairing the system in Washington that is so broken that hopefully it is still not beyond saving.

The recent precipitous decline of American democracy started with former President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2016, and the damage he caused may be permanent, as pointed out in a Davos speech by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen early this year.

Never before has America had a president who repeatedly lied to the public for his own selfish interests even concerning a life-threatening pandemic, who shamelessly schemed via the Justice Department, who incited a violent insurrection to overturn a legitimate election, who called the press the enemy of the people, and who conducted countless egregious acts to compromise the integrity of the government institutions. These are all traits of a dysfunctional democracy.

But it is not just a former president at fault. The bulk of the Republican Party (GOP) is also complicit in turning America backward in terms of civil liberties. Scores of GOP senators and representatives tacitly or covertly participated in the January 6 insurrection, and now they are stonewalling Congress's investigation. It has been nearly one year since January 6, and yet the investigation still shows no sign of going anywhere. On the contrary, Trump has started a "stop the steal" political movement to continue to peddle his conspiracy theory, and in so doing he continues to assault democracy after leaving office, not to mention his subtly vowing to come back again in 2024.

Donald Trump supporters during the U.S. Capitol riot in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021. /Getty

But it is not just Washington at fault. Democracy is backsliding at state level. Open a Congressional district map of the United States these days to have a glimpse of the gerrymandering wonders propping up in many states. For example, in the state of Ohio, a red state in several former presidential elections has its ninth District stretching so thinly over about 100 kilometers along Lake Erie that it gets a nickname "snake by the lake."

Voter suppression represents another strong trend, spreading to at least 18 states so far. In the wake of the prevalence of mail-in ballots during the 2020 election, these states have now passed legislation ostensibly aimed at making it more difficult for minority voters to cast ballots.

These noticeable changes for the worse are not going to pass without being noticed. A Sweden-based think tank, called International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, has added the U.S. to its annual list of "backsliding" democracies for the first time. The think tank's secretary general, Kevin Casas-Zamora, had this to say when asked to comment on his newly released report:

"The visible deterioration of democracy in the United States, as seen in the increasing tendency to contest credible election results, the efforts to suppress participation (in elections), and the runaway polarization."

According to the invitee list at the U.S. State Department, there will be 110 countries showing up at the summit in a few days, many of which are understandably Washington's long-time allies. This would be a good venue to have a candid discussion about what is going on in Washington, what the challenges are, what the lessons are, and what can be done about them. If Washington is serious about democracy, it had better look into the mirror with some soul-searching first.


附:原文链接

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-09/The-most-important-agenda-item-at-Biden-s-Summit-for-Democracy--15QHXyYZCaA/index.html


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