All our lives we have been led to believe that rules are boring, that they are made to be broken. And whilst procedures, constitutions and rulebooks aren’t the most thrilling reads, they are important. They tell us what the realistic possibilities in a certain scenario are and point out the limits of our system.
In the United States, the Democratic Party is considering a rule change which could impact the entire world. They are deciding whether to change the order of the early state primaries which would change the way that candidates campaign. Whoever wins the early states is propelled forward towards the convention where a candidate is chosen so a different state order would have a different outcome.
That very few people are aware of a rule which could change who is president worries me. It suggests that rules could be eroded or changed left, right and centre and no one would notice or care. That’s okay sometimes, and in some cases rule changes are a good thing, but they can also be dangerous.
Human rights can be slowly abandoned until they don’t exist anymore. One at a time, it isn’t really noticeable or a story, but when looked at as a bigger picture it matters. In the US, it is already happening and people are getting away with it – just look at some of the LGBTQ+ laws being implemented in southern states, or what is likely to be a nationwide ban on abortion rights.
These things happen little by little, but it can end here. And it isn’t just in the US, so we can’t say it is only a ‘them’ problem. Democratic backsliding can and does happen all over the world, we need to pay attention to it within our own country and in others and call it out. I know rules are boring and complicated and in some cases futile and inconsequential, but please do not ignore it when people try to change them.