By Ron Williams, Editor, The Mule News

In these times that threaten Democracy itself, just voting in the upcoming election is not enough. While every vote counts – for the foreseeable future – such a minimalist approach to fighting the anti-democratic governing majority in Arizona pales to the enormity of the risks of failure.

Converting Barry Goldwater’s famous line, in accepting the GOP’s presidential nomination in 1964, to today’s reality of extremism, indicates the rising threat level to our democratic values and way of life.

The Arizona Republican’s original quote was “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” Then, the message was against just the threat of big government “taking over” our individual freedoms. Now, the reality of “extremism” in Arizona is the actual “taking away” of our constitutional rights to voting, women’s healthcare, protection from violence and fair election accountability.

The compelling irony is that today’s Arizona defenders of extremism against “big government” have ruled for decades the very state government that seeks to suppress voting rights, truncate protected rights to abortion access and favor gun rights over protecting life itself.

The current Republican majority in the State Legislature, Governorship and state agencies are not serving average Arizona citizens. Rather, their loyalty is to the goals and aspirations of a cult of Trump supporters, white nationalist, election deniers and insurrectionists.

As the recent January 6th US Congressional hearings have shown, the threat is not limited to the failed insurrection in Washington, DC in 2021. With extremists on the ballot like Kari Lake as Governor and Mark Finchem as Secretary of State this fall, their supporters at the levers of state government will attempt to decide the outcome of that election no matter the actual vote count.

If saving Democracy itself is to rise above “just voting,” then it must become our cause, a crusade and a “calling” beyond our minimum civic duty. Your personal commitment must grow to include:

  • identify the candidates and ballot initiatives you believe will stand against the agendas of extremists;
  • volunteer in these campaigns to sign petitions, canvass (knock on doors) for voters, make phone calls, sign post cards and support them on your social media platforms;
  • take to the streets and in peaceful protest to demonstrate the urgency of protecting Democracy and related causes; and
  • Support candidates and issue campaigns with financial contributions – literally the only “currency” capable of making a difference.

David Frum, staff writer for The Atlantic recently wrote:

“The greatest theorists of American government have again and again warned against the delusion that the Constitution is some self-balancing mechanism, “a machine that would go of itself.” People make that machine go: people who make good choices or bad ones, people who are active or who are passive when their country needs them. People like you. You.”