Lifespan of Democracies

We are experiencing a slow but steady erosion of democratic principles

By Nancy Teggeman

A long lifespan depends on good health. Did you know that the average lifespan of democracies is 200 years? Check out Lord Tytler’s “Eight Stages of a Democracy.” A Scottish historian, he defined these cyclical stages as moving from bondage to faith, to courage to liberty, to abundance to complacency, to apathy to dependance, and returning to bondage. “A democracy is always temporary in nature,” he warned.

Where are we now? In my opinion, we are experiencing a slow but steady erosion of democratic principles. This backsliding is due to many factors, including: hyper-partisanship, Congressional gridlock, manipulation of elections, attempt to subvert the 2020 election, reduction of voters’ access, gerrymandering, undermining institutions, a politicized Supreme Court, and executive overreach. The decline is also associated with vilification of the opposing party, widespread misinformation, extremism, a decline in independent media, and a less than vibrant education system.

What can we do? We can: educate ourselves; google Project 2025; pass on what we learn; become proactive; listen to others; practice critical thinking; look up; and vote for our children and grandchildren.

Celebrate the Fourth, limiting fireworks to the allowed three days. We have a wonderful country. Let’s keep it that way.

Nancy Teggeman