Editorial Comment

Editorial Board

Peaceful democracy is a rare privilege

 

The 116th Congress will convene for the first time on Jan. 3, 2019.

This historic moment will be steeped in the rich tradition of American democracy, but will go largely unnoticed by the vast majority of the country.

However, that is exactly what makes this event so unique; in our country, the transfer of power is something unnoticeable.

While Americans can easily turn off the TV once their election process is over, for millions of others around the world elections can mean the difference between security and dangerous instability.

That is not to say that there are no distinctions between congresses ruled by differing parties.

But the fact remains that the transition of power between our two main political institutions is a relatively seamless process, especially in a global context.

As of this month, Lebanon, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are experiencing violent political instability and Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and South Sudan are experience civil war, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

In the aforementioned countries and many others, transfers of power come with very real consequences and terror.

The election of the opposing party may cost some their ideals, but it does not cost them their lives.

This is the unique privilege of living in America, a guarantee of the basic opportunity of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It is unequivocally true that these ideals are not perfectly practiced in our culture, but they are distinctively American in that they are principles that we as a society attempt to realize.

There are many governments and institutions that do not entertain conversations of opposing opinions and beliefs, and millions of people who live under heavy regimes of oppression as a result.

As we prepare for a season of change within the coming months, let us reflect on the blessing it is to be able to discuss politics freely and live securely, knowing that our rights are protected by principles more powerful than whoever might take office.