WASHINGTON – Yes, elections do have consequences for democracies and for the world order.
Complacency, the failure to get involved and to vote, also has consequences.
The meddling by others who wish to harm all democracies from either the outside or from the inside also has consequences.
Last June the British voters narrowly chose Brexit. And just last month Prime Minister Theresa May made this choice a reality by invoking Article 50.
So Britain is leaving the EU and entering the unknown and is risking becoming a smaller player on the world stage.
In November, by a very narrow margin Americans elected Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. Yes, only 80,000 voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin made the difference between electing someone with significant experience who would have maintained the status quo and instead chose someone who would take America’s 325 million citizens on an uncharted path for the next four years.
In less than 100 days Trump has begun to dismantle the federal government’s structure as most Americans have known it, caused real concern among America’s Allies as to where America stands on most key international policy issues and is on the verge of appointing a new Justice to the Supreme Court who might change the nature of individual rights and protections in America for decades to come.
Yes, there are problems worldwide and there are no easy solutions.
The world is changing again and another “industrial revolution” is underway changing what it means to “work for a living” as we have known it since the last industrial revolution.
This rapid change along with globalization is leaving many behind with no idea as to how to cope.
With the scarcity of work, tough economics times and raging humanitarian crises, immigrants once again have become scapegoats – even though they are not the source of the problem.
So, one populist remedy to enlist those who have been effected by this latest universal feeling of discontent is to assuage those angry voters by promising to turn the clock back to a simpler time.
Although this might seem like a simple solution to the problem it is in fact a false hope, since history will tell us there is no way to halt progress. Things will change and we must change with them and adapt or we will be the ones who become obsolete.
In fact, a well informed citizenry who votes can continue to be part of these changes that will keep America on the cutting edge of progress.
Trump’s “America First” mission already has diminished America’s credibility as a leader on the world stage.
As hard as it may seem to believe in just a few short months fewer and fewer of our traditional allies are looking to America to lead the way.
And this is all happening while a darkening cloud of questions regarding the Russian interference in the U.S. Presidential Election remain unanswered.
Next month French voters will go to the polls and they too will be asked to make a difficult choice. This choice is apparently between Marine Len Pen who will take France in a totally different direction and out of the EU and Emmanuel Macron who will try keep France on a more traditional course.
Although polls indicate Macron will most likely win on the second ballot, the French should take heed. Complacency and a failure to participate could deal them a surprise as well.
For if Le Pen should win this could be an end to a world order that has ensured stability in Europe since the end of World War II – all this while Russia’s Vladimir Putin leers anxiously from the wings.
Without Britain and France it would be almost impossible for Angela Merkel’s Germany to hold the EU together on its own. And if it did manage somehow, its power would certainly be fleeting as Trump’s America is proving to be no big fan of the EU or NATO.
So, who will take advantage of the decline of the stability of the West and its institutions of power? Who will fill this leadership gap? China? Or Russia?
Back on the home front, it is well beyond the time we get all the answers as to who meddled in our 2016 Presidential Election. What were the consequences? Who were the players? What are their influences now in our Democracy? And what is their ultimate goal…before it is too late?
Remember the words of H.L. Mencken during the 1920 Presidential Election Campaign between Republican Warren G. Harding and Democrat James M. Cox in The Baltimore Evening Sun:
“As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.”