One Big Thing: Debacle, Acquittal and a Hectic Week for US Politics
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What you need to know
- The political events of this past week were extraordinary for the United States. On Monday, the Iowa Caucus kicked off the 2020 Presidential election, but results were delayed by a malfunctioning phone app. On Tuesday, President Trump delivered the State of the Union Address in the House of Representatives, the body that impeached him and the very next day, the Senate acquitted him on both counts. Divisiveness defines American politics, which will become even more heated as the Democratic primary shifts its attention to New Hampshire.
- While discord describes our current political affairs, we must remember that the U.S. has strong democratic institutions. The rights we enjoy and sometimes take for granted, are constantly under fire around the world. Authoritarian regimes choose to silence, imprison or kill political opponents. For instance, Cuba is detaining over 120 political prisoners, including more than 40 members of the Cuban Patriotic Union. And in Russia, many opposition politicians have been jailed or worse, including Alexei Navalny who poisoned while he was in jail.
Why does it matter?
- No matter your opinion on impeachment, the events of last week demonstrate both the strength of our democratic system but also its illogical nature. Our founding fathers intentionally designed a system which uplifts the values of free speech, expression and opinion. While some folks may claim that this week’s tumult has weakened the fundamental principles of American democracy, others have supported the claim that it shows the durability and resiliency of our institutions.
- Opposing political views should not get you thrown in jail, tortured or killed. Around the world activists are expressing their views in spite of threats. Organizations like Frontline Defenders highlights those human rights activists from around the world who are standing up for what they believe.
What can you do?
- Make your civic duty, just as much as it is the duty of our political leaders, to protect and uphold your political institutions or they will become undemocratic and ineffective. Vote. Register HERE
- Participate in the debate and attend town-hall events of your communities
- Get to know human rights activists: Reporters Without Borders, Frontline Defenders, and Amnesty International
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