The national news media, whether Fox or CNN, has made much of the growing divide between liberals and conservatives, citing President Biden’s approval ratings in various polls and the growing intensity of liberal and conservative beliefs.

All this, the pundits assert, is a threat to democracy. Worse, some state that democracy may not survive and this country will be under an autocracy, and worse yet, under a dictator.

It should come as no surprise to readers of my columns that I am a progressive liberal.

I do not think that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution can be used as an excuse for mass shootings — there’s something about a “well regulated militia” in the language of the Second Amendment.

But none of the people responsible for mass shootings — from Sandy Hook to Las Vegas to the recent school shooting in Michigan — were members of a militia. Nor were they “well regulated.”

To the contrary, they seemed to be deranged and should never have been trusted with a weapon.

On another matter, the U.S. Supreme Court appears — in the eyes of the media — set to overturn Roe v. Wade.

That means that we will go back to a time of back-alley abortions for the poor, and costly and safer procedures for the wealthy.

While it is true that a number of states have their own laws pertaining to this subject, there are also a number of states, including Missouri, that rely on federal rulings.

By that account, maybe in 2023 only those who are well-to-do can have access to abortions that are protective of their health in this state.

Now, we arrive at the issue of race. While a number of right-wing politicians in this state and others submit bills outlawing the teaching of critical race theory, they cannot erase history.

The fact is that from the very beginning, the United States depended upon slave labor for the production of, among other things, cotton.

While, no doubt, some slaveholders were kind and gentle, the fact remains that they owned other people and they were dependent upon those enslaved people for their financial well-being.

While much has been made of the Tulsa race riot and the resultant destruction of a large community of Black people, Missouri cannot claim innocence as deluded white people struck at Black populations in the southwest portion of this state.

I will not even address lynchings — search for the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center for more horrid information.

As previously addressed, I am a COVID-19 survivor, have received the Moderna vaccinations and recently got the booster shot.

But, I am still in danger of being infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus. By most accounts, this variant is highly transmissible.

Thanks to those who swallow the misinformation on various websites, they refuse to get vaccinated and are a reservoir for future variants.

As long as the unvaccinated continue to remain so, many other variants are likely to appear. By that measure, the current pandemic will escalate and many more will die.

But, I am an optimist. As far as I can tell, democracy is not endangered. We are still, and likely will remain, a country where no one is above the law, not even past presidents.

I do not approve of the actions of conservatives, but there are very conservative people who I can have conversations with — we can disagree without resorting to vile language and violence.

Or as U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said in a moment of sanity: “We can disagree without being disagreeable.”

So, that’s it. I am a bit above 80 years old and am not likely to change my mind about long-held beliefs — no matter that my conservative friends attempt to persuade me.

Democracy will survive and, no doubt, arguments pro and con, will continue. Donald Trump and his supporters in Congress, Governor Mike Parson, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt have views considerably different than mine.

But, none of them are out to overthrow our democracy.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

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