In the United States we often take the power that we, as the people being governed, have. The very first line of our founding document, the constitution, starts with "We The People" and the document itself declares that the government be for the people, by the people. We are the only country in the entire world that has this luxury. Yes, there are other countries that are free, but as we have seen time and time again these freedoms can be taken away in a matter of years. It is imperative to the long-term survival of any nation to keep the power in the hands of the people.
In February, I wrote about the deteriorating situation in Venezuela in my article, "We Must Resist The Allure Of Socialism Because It Is A Dangerous Ideology" (found here). Unfortunately the situation has only gotten worse. Inflation has grown to an irreparable high and unemployment is as bad as it has ever been. This has sparked widespread protests against the current dictator, Nicolas Maduro. This is where we often take our constitution for granted, as it guarantees us the right to protest without government interference. Seen in this graphic video (Warning: graphic content), the military has begun to run protesters over with tanks, ordered by their own leader. The situation has deteriorated to the point that the Venezuelan government is now killing its own people. They are able to do this because Maduro knows he faces no opposition from the populace, due to a blanket gun ban in 2012, which only allows military and police to have firearms, and citizens face up to 10 years in prison for possession of a firearm. Another part of our constitution we take for granted, the second amendment. While a volatile topic in the United States, it is clear that banning guns is the first step any government takes when it seeks to grab power from its people. Unfortunately this is not the only example of this happening.
Many people are familiar with the Tiananmen Square massacre perpetrated by the Chinese government in 1989. Extreme military force was used, and the death toll of the demonstration is said to be around 10,000 which consists of mostly students. The protests were gathered for the purpose of turning the government into more of a democracy and to create a free press, much like the freedoms we take for granted in the United States. It is worth noting that, similarly to Venezuela, Chinese citizens could not own firearms at the time, and still cannot to this day.
Usually short phrases do not capture the many nuances that are present in most situations but the phrase "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely" tends to ring true. People tend to be good, but when power is concentrated at the top, unimaginable atrocities follow. With the 2020 election coming up, it is important we pay close attention to which candidates actually want to make our lives better, and those that seek to grab power that benefits only themselves.