Learn the lesson - Safeguarding our democracy

THE Trump White House may be the most spectacular and worrying example of what happens when we take democracy for granted.

Long-established norms are set aside.

The security they offer is lost. It may be a fundamental weakness of democracy that the stability it offers lulls us into a false sense of security that can become disengagement.

Like a beautiful garden abandoned after its curator’s death, it can quickly run to seed; a lifetime’s work undone in a few seasons.

The weekend elections in Venezuela suggest that country is at a dangerous crossroads. At least 10 people died in protests on Sunday by opponents of leftist president Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela’s elections’ authority said 8.1m voters went to the polls on Sunday but the opposition estimated only 2.5m ballots were cast.

It may seem far fetched to link this hijacked election with Micheál Martin’s suggestions around a grand coalition in the Dáíl but it is not — one is an expression of political failure, the other is a step towards the political evolution that may avert it. We are indeed lucky that we still have a choice.


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