Wednesday, April 15, 2020

#106 / Is American Democracy Dying?

Well, is it true? Is American Democracy dying? Lots of people seem to think it is (or might be). Just do an Internet search on the phrase. You will get lots of hits. The illustration above, for instance, comes from a February 7, 2020, column by Ryan Cooper, writing online in The Week. There is no equivocation in Cooper's view: "American democracy is dying." That's what he says.

Paul Krugman, writing on April 10, 2020, in The New York Times, doesn't put his views in quite such a definitive way, but Krugman has certainly raised the possibility that American Democracy is on the way out. Krugman's column is headed, "American Democracy May Be Dying (Authoritarian rule may be just around the corner)." 

Those who would like to read Krugman's statement, and click the link above, might find that they have run into The Times' typically formidable paywall. If that were to happen to you, you can try this link to The First Street Journal. There may be another solution, too. Someone recently sent me a message saying that a Santa Cruz Library Card will give you access to The New York Times. I don't know how that works, and haven't investigated that myself, but those who are so possessed of a local library card might want to track down this possibility.

Going beyond the two articles just mentioned, let me provide one more evidence of public concern about the possible "death" of American Democracy. I recently read a long commentary found on the Timeline of one of my Facebook Friends. I have included that commentary as an appendix at the bottom of this posting - as an illustration, let me say, and not as an endorsement of the position it advances. This Facebook commentary suggests that the coronavirus "shelter in place" rules are part of a designed plot to install an authoritarian New World Order. I think it would be fair to characterize this view as an "American Democracy is Dying" perspective.


Despite the fact that there is a lot of reason to be concerned, I think caution should be exercised before we accept a diagnosis that, "American Democracy is Dying." I am, mainly, concerned that such a diagnosis might convince us all to give up. I was happy to see that the Director of The Hannah Arendt Center is also advising us not to jump to that, "American Democracy is dying" conclusion. 

The health of democratic self-government depends, always, on the effective participation and engagement of ordinary men and women in the political debates, discussions, controversies and conflicts that are inevitable as we try to figure out, collectively, what we should do about everything that affects our lives. Our debates are resolved (always temporarily, of course), as we write down those legal "prescriptions" (our laws) that are intended to guide our conduct (including conduct that is permissible in the middle of a global pandemic). When we set up systems to govern our cities, states, and the nation, and make "law" the center of our efforts, we are engaging in "American Democracy." I never tire of repeating the "formula," or "equation" that tells us how democracy works:


Our legal prescriptions (our laws) are always at the center of democratic self-government, and they are always modifiable, which we ought not to forget. We know that our democracy is healthy when significant numbers of ordinary people are personally engaged in "politics," the decision-making process that leads to law, that leads to government. When ordinary men and women are working together to ensure that the laws, rules, and regulations that govern our lives respond to what, ultimately, the majority thinks is best, we can then conclude that democracy is not either "dead" or "dying."

Looking around today, I see a lot of political engagement. Nurses are on the march. Climate change activists are mobilizing everywhere. 5G opponents are going to City Councils to try to stop the rollout of a technology they believe is a major health danger. The "Occupy" movement may have been hiding, but demands for effective remedies for the outrageous income inequality in this country have not gone away. The Bernie Sanders' campaign, as just one example, mobilized hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens, including lots of younger people, to focus on just that issue. I don't think all this activist energy is about to disappear - and, of course, I hope it doesn't!

As this blog proclaims every day, "we live in a political world." Politics is the process by which we collectively determine who pays how much, and what the money goes for, and who will represent the rest of us as decisions about these matters are made. As long as our politics is "healthy," our democracy is not in danger. 

But is our politics "healthy?" 

Well, my view is that we could be doing a whole lot better! We are not on a political ventilator, yet, but the domination of our politics by corporate, big-money interests is the political equivalent of a patient who has heart disease, cancer, and emphysema, all at the same time. Hey, let's throw in the coronavirus, too, as long as analogies are being deployed. Setting aside the dire analogies, however, which is what I recommend, the health of our democracy is best measured by whether we think of ourselves as "observers" of what is happening to us, or whether we are seeing ourselves as "actors," determining what will happen. As long as there are lots of people with the latter view, and who will "act," not just "comment" or "observe," American Democracy is going to survive. 

I see lots of real action. As indicated above, I think that there are millions of people who won't tolerate authoritarian control over our lives. Fear immobilizes; that's true, and millions are afraid right now, whether of death from a virus, or the loss of income, home, and family. The fears are real, but I am not sensing that we are cowed and complacent. 

Let's not be! 

American Democracy is not going to "die" as long as we insist, as free people, working together, that "We The People" are the ultimate power and that "We" get to decide what happens. That "We," of course, does include all of us, including those who have views that don't mesh with our own. One of the main reasons that I don't like the "democracy is dying" diagnosis is that it can serve as an excuse for not taking action. But political action, which means organized political action, is always what is needed to keep democracy healthy. 

The courage to act, folks; that is what is called for. That is what is called for in the face of the coronavirus contagion, and that is what is called for in the face of our impaired democracy. 

Instead of observing the vital signs, and deciding, based on that observation, that democracy is "dying," we must take action to make things be the way we know they should be. That is what we need! I am pretty sure that lots of people, with different ideas, certainly, are on the field and fighting for a future of which we can be proud. For a future in which human civilization, and the life of this planet, are not foreclosed.



Where do we draw the line???
We are not allowed to relax at the beach.
We are not allowed to go camping.
We are not allowed to go surfing.
We are not allowed to sit in a park / forest enjoying nature.
We are not allowed to go for a leisurely drive if it is not "essential."
We are not allowed to visit our close family and friends (even if we maintain "social distancing").
Yet hundreds of people can go shopping at Wal-Mart at the same time to buy crap they don’t need?
Neighbors are reporting people who leave their home without "appropriate reason."
Suddenly mandatory vaccination is on the agenda as a "solution" and we are made to believe that we are being “rescued” by our government (via Bill Gates).
Tracking of our location and our movements is happening.
5G is rolling out as we speak (or sleep) and there are countless doctors on YouTube trying to warn us, countless cities and countries are fighting back and stopping 5G. Look it up.
We’re slowly moving us into a cashless system - further control and tracking.
We live in a world where everyone is too scared to speak up for fear of being judged, ridiculed and abused.
Those that research and share are being ridiculed for being “conspiracy theorists,” when all we’re doing is simply looking for answers.
95,578 people have died of COVID-19 globally since November, out of a global population of 7.77 billion. 
This means that .00129% of the world’s population has “died from CoronaVirus and yet the entire world is in lockdown.
Multiple stories have broke that report on how people die from other causes and are given the COVID-19 determination indiscriminately.
Hundreds of thousands of people have already committed suicide this year.
In the United States, one person dies every 37 seconds from cardiovascular disease, or about 647,000 deaths a year. Yet no one stops the world.
Our mainstream media relentlessly continues to use fear mongering tactics and propaganda to push us deeper into fear.
Corporations are scrambling for government bailout money while hard working Americans who have lost their jobs can’t even get a rent freeze or sufficient bailout funds of their own.
How much more of this are we willing to take before we stand up and say enough is enough?
Will we continue to sit back and let our human rights and civil liberties be taken away step by step?
Where on earth do we draw the line here?
If you ever wondered what the rollout of the N W O would look like, you are witnessing it right now.

Copy and paste if you agree.

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