It was early March, 1933, that the Nazi Party won 44 percent of the vote in German parliamentary elections, enabling it to join with the Nationalists to gain a slight majority in the Reichstag. Within three weeks, the Nazi-dominated Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which gave Hitler dictatorial powers and ended the Weimar Republic in Germany.
Representative governments in any age are as vulnerable to lies and misconceptions as the Weimar Republic was in Germany. The thought that it could happen here is incredible in every possible way, but possible.
Democracy is a fragile cohesion of ideals, ideas, and law held together by fair-minded, thoughtful representatives and an educated electorate.
But in it’s deliberative, often slow-moving nature, democratic governments are vulnerable from within even more than to foreign disruption and dismantling, piece by piece. Our great safeguard is us, individual citizens, doing our small part in knowing our representatives’ views at all levels of government, voting in all elections, making modest contributions to fair-minded candidates, volunteering or simply displaying their campaign signs, and calling out lies and misconceptions starting in our own circles.
Legislators read their local papers and the letters to the editor—write one occasionally about improving governance with independent redistricting, campaign finance reform, term limits, and transparency, overall. By showing our knowledge of legislation important to us, we become activists in the best sense and most helpful way in preserving Democracy.