Americans are burning down the house

Americans are burning down the house

The Washington Post
Catherine Rampell
Image courtesy of Natalie Behring/Getty Images)

Americans once had a shared commitment to the traditional liberal democratic values: individual liberties, human rights, tolerance of dissent, free and fair elections, a free press, due process and separation of powers.

Or more concisely: liberty and justice for all.

Slowly but surely, we have been abandoning these shared values and drifting toward authoritarianism and mob rule.

Who’s leading the charge — left or right — depends on where you sit. Both sides claim to be the true champions of liberal democracy, yet neither seems particularly intent on safeguarding it when doing so hurts their team.

A quarter of Republicans believe the country has gone too far in expanding the right to vote. Worse, 4 in 10 believe the United States has too greatly expanded freedom of the press. The same share also says that the “right to protest or criticize the government” has gotten out of hand.

This is astonishing coming from a party whose entire raison d’être for eight years was to protest and criticize the White House.

The shares of Democrats agreeing that these rights — to vote, to a free press, to criticize the government — are too expansive were relatively tiny (5, 11 and 7 percent, respectively).

 

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