Pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act TODAY: We’re Worth It

6 mins read
Democracy ends


What do you think of when you see those words? Is it maybe a red, white and blue flag, or is it a bunch of white guys with powdered wigs? Or you might think of voting or “the people” or even healthy debate in the halls of Congress. 

I was thinking about our American democracy today. None of these ideas conjure up just how important it is. 

So I looked up the word “democracy” in the dictionary. The definition reads: “a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting.” That still didn’t strike me as terribly meaningful.

Then I did a quick image search to see what Google thought.

So that’s our American democracy in pictures. Lots of flags, some buildings, with a few pics of a mob of angry people thrown in. 

But that’s not American democracy either.

I thought about Eleanor Roosevelt who described American democracy this way: “To me, the democratic system represents man’s best and brightest hope of self-fulfillment, of a life rich in promise and free from fear; the one hope, perhaps, for the complete development of the whole man.” 

Much better.

When I say “American democracy” what I mean is our ability to have a voice in our own future. Our American democracy allows us to make our voices count so we can provide all families with affordable medications, ensure that we breathe clean air and drink clear water, and demand the freedom of equal justice for all. With every vote and every election, we influence the decisions that impact our daily lives, from how you get basic services, like power and water, to what you are allowed to do with your own body. 

Sounds good, right?

Many Americans claim to care about our democracy dearly. And right now a majority of Americans believe that our democracy is in trouble. What are we prepared to do about it?

One side believes in the Big Lie. These Americans have already shown their willingness to attack the U.S. Capitol to “restore” democracy. In many states, they are also successfully passing laws to make it harder for people to vote, take away power from elected officials whose job is to oversee honest elections, and overturn all our norms about how power is wielded in this county.

The other side is trying to actually protect our democracy. 

Take a wild guess which side the Democrats are on.

Times are frightening right now. Our American way of government and life is at a crisis point because Trumpers don’t want anyone who doesn’t think like them in power.

Fortunately, our Democratic-controlled Congress has a concrete, actionable solution to this problem. It’s called the Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA), and the House is voting on it today.

Read what Wendy Weiser, vice president of the Democracy Program at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, had to say: 

“The Protecting Our Democracy Act would rebuild guardrails against abuse of executive power, the checks and balances needed to stop current and future administrations from misusing government resources for personal and political gain. The reforms in this bill would help ensure a more ethical and accountable government, no matter who is in office.” 

Simply put, this bill will curb presidential power and ensure that anyone who seeks to abuse their position in the White House for personal gain is stopped. PODA includes a series of ethical reforms to protect our elections and system of government while rooting out corruption. While it comprises more than a dozen provisions, which you can read here, specifically it will:

  • Give Congress power over its own subpoenas by strengthening tools and codifying a process for enforcement.
  • Ensure the Department of Justice provides records to Congress involving any self-serving president who puts their interest above that of regular people.
  • Limit political interference in the Department of Justice by maintaining a log of its communications with the White House.
  • Obligate candidates running for president and vice president to provide their tax returns, which will be made available to the public.
  • Safeguard the balance of powers by ensuring Congress has a greater ability to conduct oversight of the executive branch.
  • Require that federal campaigns report their foreign contacts.

Past and present actions of members of the Trump Administration make it clear why these reforms are necessary. Laws preventing abuses of political power date back to the Nixon era, however, and in the past these have been widely supported by members of both parties. If you can bear it, imagine how the past five years might have been different if we had more robust protections in place when Trump took office.

This comprehensive reform package is a key pillar of Congress’ democracy agenda. That’s why our elected leaders must pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act to protect, support, and restore faith in our democratic institutions.

Photo credit: “Democracy” by Leonard J Matthews is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Rena Korb is a professional writer and editor. Her publications span from children’s books to political commentary. She volunteers as a DemCast California captain and as a leader with her local Indivisible chapter. She also is a lifelong activist, attending her first protest when she was 16. She lives in San Mateo with her family and, in non-pandemic times, enjoys playing Ultimate frisbee.

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