The Problem With Democracy
How to Protect Our Fragile Democracy
In our Freedom episode, we talked about what we needed to do to shore up our democracy and protect ourselves from waking up one day to find ourselves living under authoritarian rule. Turns out one of the best ways is to make sure the entire country is, as much as possible, operating off the same set of facts. To achieve that, we need to implement strong regulations on social media platforms and vigorously defend journalism.
As we learned in our Media episode, we’ve got ourselves a broadcast media system that’s resting on a haphazard pile of unreliable data and internet noise. But Americans really do want better quality news. So, at some point, we gotta reset. There’s no single way to achieve this. But for people outside of broadcast news, the number one way to push for what you’d like to see is to pay for media that you think is good — if you consume it regularly and there’s a way to pay for it, do it.
You can also support the work of a lot of individual reporters who have been pushing for changes like this for many years, and there are groups who are advocating for reforms as well. Here are a few to get you started.
Fight for your right to vote
One of the most fundamental ways we can be engaged in our democracy, as panelist Bassem Youssef pointed out on our Freedom episode, is to vote. We’re surely not the first to tell you voting matters, but there’s a reason people keep harping on it: It’s fuuuuuucking vital. Securing voting rights is mostly a long, wonky, unsexy process that’s done on a local level. But guess who needs help? Your community.
So harness your inner Stacey Abrams and get to work. Join a get-out-the-vote effort in your area, find a group in your state that’s trying to fight voter suppression, or volunteer as a poll worker. Posting an “I Voted” selfie is great, but an “I kicked voter suppression’s racist ass to the curb” picture is really impressive.
There are several organizations out there working to address both voter suppression and voter participation, and they’re a great place to start.