To the Editor:
…While democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.
Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”
While Amanda Gorman may be a brilliant young poet, these lines show the optimism and naivete – God bless her – of a typical 22-year-old.
Keep in mind that in the roughly 5,000 or so years of recorded human history, democracy has appeared as a mere grain of sand in the desert of human politics. It failed the Ancient Athenian Greeks who invented and adopted it with doubtful results for a brief historical moment some 2500 years ago. It did not reappear until the late 18th century when it was revived by some visionary British colonists – aka The Founding Fathers – in North America.
Drawing on some new-fangled French and British concepts, they declared independence from King George III and established the United States of America.
Think about it: democracy prevailed for a mere 250 of last 5,000 years. That amounts to .05% of recorded human politics. Ergo, don’t be so sure that it can “never be permanently defeated.”
This is a lovely sentiment, but a dangerous idea, because, as we saw on Jan. 6, our democratic republic came within a few inches of 6 feet under. I urge readers not to get complacent. Perhaps the idea of a government by the people (demos=people; kratein=rule by) can perish from the earth just as quickly as it appeared.