Is US Democracy Beyond Recovery?

Spent a long while yesterday responding to a tweet and then lost the whole thing, but there is a point I do want to make.

The tweeter said he did not think our Democracy could survive another four years. He could have said another two years, but can the Democracy survive even the time it has spent so far being deliberately and broadly under attack. I mean, as with warming oceans and melted permafrost, the game may already be over?

Suppose somehow Dems were in complete and unchallengeable legislative control, what do they do to begin repairing and improving? How much damage (direct, collateral) will result even if reversed on the spot? Water, chemical, safety, air, radiation – all sorts of standards gone or blinking out.

Courts will be an issue. Voting rights. Citizenship. Immigration. Obviously the impacts cannot be rolled back or people’s shattered lives restored, unlike Humpty Dumpty’s. Protections can be strengthened. Good programs can be restored or recast in a more progressive mode – like tax laws.

But that does not fix the damage impacts affecting people and circumstances Right Now. Nor does it say anything about attempting to restore trashed treaties and international trust as if the US still were the gold standard we always purported to be on law, justice, fairness, civil rights, civil liberties, all those good things. Ain’t never going back to that delusion, so how badly with our country and its democracy and its citizens be damaged by that problem alone?


I refuse to believe that it cannot be saved, though some days are certainly better than others. The challenges are immense and require across the board engagement to ensure the underlying fundamentals, the foundational principles, are shored up. This is why I find voting rights, campaign finance enforcement, and issues like that so critical: if we restore democracy to or system, a lot of issues will be much more fixable.

I don’t have faith that the problems being created today will be solved before I’m dead and gone (and I’m not yet 40), but I have to believe that the evil being wrought by the plutocrats will one day be exposed and punished. I am certainly energized to fight for the ideals I hold.

If I didn’t have such faith, I’d be looking to emigrate. :slight_smile:


I wish I had a good answer. On the one hand, I generally believe that the ship will be righted. On the other, having seen the impact of outrage and what has essentially become mob rule (pun originally unintended, but it fits), I wonder if humans – who can be long-term-thinking creatures but all too often focus on the short term – will be able to reverse the slide. There’s just too much money to be made, and power to be accumulated, in stoking the worst.

I probably have more faith in science than politics, but even if someone figures out how to reverse climate change or create a more efficient energy source, it still has to be implemented properly. I mean, if NASA announced tomorrow that an interstellar object was going to strike the Earth in six months, do you think we could get our s— together to destroy it? I think we’d spend five months and three weeks arguing and a week awaiting our doom.

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And then this turned up.

Former CIA Director and Republican Michael Hayden: America May Not Survive a Second Trump Term

By John ZieglerJul 11th, 2019, 8:54 am
The tweeted link was

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I believe it cannot be saved, because the only people who could save it are Democratic voters, and they won’t vote because they aren’t winning enough. (And when they are winning, they don’t vote either because they don’t need to.)

Tough times. Things apparently need to get much, much worse (i.e. the majority of Americans need to suffer) before they can maybe get better.

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nice reply

Problems with our democracy didn’t start with Trump. I remember thinking that the election of Reagan indicated that if a boob like that could get elected, we were cooked. Television has not been Democracy’s friend. If you look good on tv, can read the prompter - you’re in like Flynn (no pun intended - it’s an old English saying no doubt with anti-Irish roots).

We have a lot of problems that work against democracy - rural vs urban culture wars, American exceptionalism (the idea that fascism couldn’t happen here because we’re so special). I do believe the idea of America is special - open doors to the world, but that America died some time ago…Also, unrestrained capitalism is not the friend of democracy. We have elites who feel they owe NOTHING to this country, and will betray it in a heartbeat.

It’s hard to find good news, but I do see hope in the young who are willing to turn out and wear pussy hats, march against injustice, and work towards a better society. Will it be enough? I think that remains to be seen.


According to Wikipedia (which has citations) the phrase is an American one, with the earliest citation on offer of 1940:

It is usually the case that an expression is in circulation for some time before the first recorded example, so it may predate this by some years.

For comparison the history of the history of “the whole nine yards” is informative and entertaining, I have watched for decades as the origin of this phrase was pushed back, and numerous folk etymlogies demolished (ultimately):

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I was always under the impression that “In Like Flynn” was a roughly WWII era American idiom that referred to actor Errol Flynn’s storied smoothness with the members of the feminine branch of human society.

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