Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise

Spoiler alert. This column may be bleaker than regular readers are accustom to seeing from me.

It could be over-thinking, one of my many foibles. It could be melancholia or nostalgia. I fear it is more than that. I hope I’m wrong.

I am concerned about where we are headed as a country. I don’t relish the idea of any of our leaders failing at their job of representing us. Hoping for anyone to fail isn’t helpful, but I recognize humans are an odd lot. We often do things that are contrary to our own best interest.

I fear we are on the cusp of seeing the demise of this experiment in democratic government. We are witness to a watershed moment, much like those who lived during December 1941, Poland in 1939, France during Napoleon, Europe during the Reformation.

Fifty years from now, history books will be looking at the past couple of years and the next couple of years and analyzing the confluence of events that led to America’s diminishing role in the world. We know how long it takes to build anything. We also know it can take just a moment for something to be destroyed.

When I hear leaders of our country repeatedly denigrate institutions that are necessary to the functioning of a democracy, I become concerned and fearful. I don’t want to be told our justice system is rotting or that legitimate news agencies are reporting fake news. These are two critical areas for successful democratic governance.

We need independence and credibility in these positions. We need to know and trust the institutions charged with enforcing laws that are for the overall benefit of society will apply the law equally, and that no one is above that law. Part of the deterrent system is the trust that if I break the law or if the local mayor, state governor or national president breaks the law we are treated the same.

If people with the power of the pocketbook or the bully pulpit can cast doubt on those who are charged with enforcing laws, then what chance do we – those without power – have to know that we will be treated equally under the law?

We need journalism to hold all public servants and public institutions to account. While I am not so naïve as to believe there are perfect people in all jobs, I do need to believe that those who are in the role of public servant, whether police, fire department, educator, land manager or tax collector, they are working for everyone equally. I need to know that legitimate news agencies are giving us credible information, whether I like the information or not.

This is a perilous time, and many of our wounds are self-inflicted. I see our public servants at the local, state and national level being denigrated by those who should have their back. I don’t know how they continue to go to work and try to work on our behalf, but I am so thankful they do. We need their service now more than ever.

I want this fragile experience it democratic governance to succeed. Much is at stake.

Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. The award-winning newspaper is owned by Sage Publishing Co. of Cody, Wyo. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise (