The work of Lawyers Defending American Democracy is focused on protecting our democratic institutions and the rule of law. A core part of that work is seeking to hold lawyers and public officials accountable for violating their oath to protect the Constitution of the United States. That is, after all, the bare minimum that should be expected.
Beyond that, however, we should also expect those who hold the keys to our justice and political systems to act with integrity and honor. Misleading the public, making false statements, and even creating controversies where none exists should be called out by all of us. That is a part of what LDAD works to accomplish.
Increasingly, the language of politics and government has become a mash-up of obfuscation and pitched emotion that misleads the public and thwarts reasoned conversation. For example, amid all the shouting about "critical race theory" in the recent elections, how many could define the term? And how did the fear-mongering manage to drown out the importance of learning about the history and continuing legacy of slavery?
And why is it that the terms "woke" and "cancel culture" have now become buzzwords used to resist governance? Legislative or executive proposals about, for example, the role of government in ending the pandemic through vaccine requirements or in passing legislation to protect the right to vote, are met with angry tweets about "woke mobs" and then the invocation of something being "cancelled," resulting in the substitution of hysteria for reasoned conversation.
The need for direct and open dialogue will never become obsolete. Yet the forces that exist today to foster negative emotions, deny reality, and change facts is as challenging as it has ever been in our history.
We must push back on efforts to eliminate normative behaviors that have long stood the test of time. Our democracy – indeed, human decency – depends on our insistence that there are standards of behavior to which public officials and those in the legal profession must adhere. Insults and lies should never be dismissed as unimportant or, even worse, what one would expect from the person spreading the falsehood.
We hope you will join us in our efforts.
This is our second LDAD newsletter, and it again includes a focus on Democracy Heroes and Democracy Threats, where we seek to recognize behaviors that should serve as role models and call out behaviors that endanger our democracy.
We also hope you will donate to LDAD and join us on our journey as we seek to preserve our democracy for future generations. This is not a drill.