Democracy in Peril: 13 Presidential Centers Sound the Alarm
A group of 13 presidential centers, including those of Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan, have issued a joint statement calling for a recommitment to the principles of democracy. They called for “compassion, tolerance, pluralism, and respect” in the political arena.
The statement, released on Thursday, said that the United States is facing a “crisis of democracy” due to deep political polarization and a decline in trust in institutions. The centers urged Americans to “recommit to the principles that have made our democracy strong,” including the rule of law, respect for the free press, and tolerance for diversity.
“As a diverse nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, democracy holds us together,” the statement says. “We are a country rooted in the rule of law, where the protection of the rights of all people is paramount. At the same time, we live among our fellow citizens, underscoring the importance of compassion, tolerance, pluralism, and respect for others.”
The message, titled “Strengthening our democracy,” said that the United States has not always lived up to its stated ideals, but that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” has enabled the country to strive toward a “more perfect union.” The signatories said they represented a large and diverse swath of the American people, adding that they believe those views can “exist peaceably side by side when rooted in the principles of democracy.”
“Debate and disagreement are central features in a healthy democracy,” the statement continues. “Civility and respect in political discourse, whether in an election year or otherwise, are essential.”
Signatories include the foundations, libraries, or organizations connected to former presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Hoover.
The statement is the first time that the 13 presidential centers have joined together to make such a public declaration. It comes at a time when the United States is facing a number of challenges, including political polarization, economic inequality, and climate change.
For the first time, 13 presidential libraries have joined to make a public declaration over their concern for U.S. democracy. It emphasizes the need for compassion, tolerance and pluralism while urging Americans to respect democratic institutions. https://t.co/IV0L3ZJqda
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 7, 2023