Democracy Pronounced Dead
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If it’s not the end of American Democracy (Republic), it’s the dormancy of it.
On the cover:
Dennis the Menace
Dennis the Menace is an American sitcom based on the Hank Ketcham comic strip of the same name and preceded The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday evenings on CBS from October 1959 to July 1963. The series stars Jay North as Dennis Mitchell; Herbert Anderson as his father, Henry; Gloria Henry as his mother, Alice; Joseph Kearns as George Wilson, Gale Gordon as George's brother, John Wilson, Sylvia Field as George's wife, Martha Wilson, and Sara Seegar as John's wife, Eloise Wilson. ©2017 CBS
I dread the next four years.
Call it a Republic if you want. I want to warn you. We all of us are headed for the most divisive coming four years since the American Civil War and the best way to describe what it will be like, a combination of the Joe McCarthy (Red Scare) era and the Vietnam War, both of which tore America apart.
For those too young to remember and those older who didn’t learn anything from it, the McCarthy Red Scare days of 1952 branded people communists. There were in fact some communists in the government, but hundreds more who were not communist had their lives and careers destroyed by innuendo and denunciation.
Conservatives today like to say liberals always bring up Joe McCarthy when I think some conservatives not only didn’t learn anything about basic ethics from it, but in fact agree with what happened. That’s why I like to remind them of it.
In the Vietnam War families tore each other apart, young people against the war against their parents who generally were for it. Because of the ugliness, the inability to understand the right of free speech, they became estranged; they never spoke to each other again many of them, including Dennis the Menace…the real Dennis the Menace of comic book fame. Dennis became a Vietnam War veteran who hated his war-hawk father cartoonist Hank Ketcham.
They never spoke to each other again.
That’s what you can expect, an America so riven by factionalism that any common sense idea is impossible to achieve. A government of boycott and stonewall and opposition to anything if you don’t agree with it making representative government by a majority, even a slim majority, all but impossible to achieve. If it’s not the end of American Democracy (Republic), it’s the dormancy of it. What has died is governmental consensus.
The ability of the government to grudgingly come to an agreement and the ability to seek some form of compromise so that legislation benefiting the majority of the American people can be enacted---all that is gone, it won’t happen, not in the next four years maybe never again. In other words, so we can move forward and progress. That’s gone, dead, finite!
What used to be representative government has been replaced by a creed that is similar to an Old Testament religion. This new wave brooks no disagreement, takes no prisoners. It’s all or nothing, my way or no way.
Extremism killed it. Dogma killed it. “Them or us” attitude killed it. “If you’re not with me you’re against me” killed it.
Take me for example: I’m called on this very website and on Facebook too a “Leftist,” even though I once voted for Ronald Reagan and have never been a registered Democrat. I vote no particular party and hardly ever for one of the two main parties. I vote my conscience and common sense and I don’t vote for the lesser of two evils, the less evil candidate.
If I don’t like either one I won’t vote for either one based on the premise one is worse than the other.
No, I’m called a “Leftist,” which is new updated way of saying like in the old days “communist.” It’s intended as an insult. I’m not called an American of another opinion who like you do wants the best for my country even though we disagree how best to achieve it.
I’m called a “Leftist.”
No, I’m not called that. I’m called a “Leftist,” an evil “Leftist.” I’ll repeat it. I’m called a “Leftist.” This means I’m also a subversive, disloyal, a bad American as Bill O’Reilly likes to say, a traitor, an anti-American, a person who deserves punishment because of my views, at the very least to be heckled and shouted down like Ted Cruz was at the Republican Convention if I try to explain my side-----at worst to be physically beaten at a rally or locked in jail----for my opinions.
In fairness on the Democrat side there are people who label too, calling those on the right with whom they disagree as “Nazis.” I did a column on this website comparing Hitler with Trump but I only meant in their demagogic approach to communicating their message to the public, I never meant Trump and Hitler would literally achieve the same things.
You can watch on Youtube Trump mocking a person with a physical disability and I stand by the assertions in that column (Trump and Adolph).
Nevertheless, when you label someone who has a different opinion a vague, one-size-fits-all, insult-intended, epithet, and you don’t even know the most basic information about the person who has made the opinion you disagree with, not their history nor their character. When it’s easy to use a not-have-to-think word that lumps everyone together (Leftist)...
You’re lazy. You can label someone and not have to debate your point of view. It’s easy.
When you call a Democrat a “Leftist,” insinuating disloyalty to America, when you call a Republican a Neo-Con although that doesn’t seem to carry the same evil intent as “Leftist,” when you categorize someone in that way------you have abandoned representative government by majority-----even a slim majority.
Because of you and millions like you nothing will get done.
Congress used to be composed of people who while they disagreed and things often got ugly, still grudgingly, they mostly thought of their opponents as Americans, not “Leftist” traitors or Right-Wing “Nuts.” Sometimes they passed legislation after compromising principles but the important part was that this was possible - in the past. Not now.
Today’s Congress, the party not sitting in the White House, will oppose whatever the president attempts no matter what. The Constitution is only a piece of paper. It’s only as good as the people who attempt to observe it. If you have a bunch of zealots in government, that’s what you get, a government of zealots. Extremism in the form of a government run by a band of psycho-pseudo-quasi-religious-imitating- moral puritanistic hot-heads has won.
America is no longer the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. It is the Land of the Close-Minded and the Home of the Uncompromising and the Doctrinaire. Why did this happen? Why did Americans abandon considering their political opponents to be loyal Americans in spite of a different view? Selfishness, stupidity, a lack of restraint, childishness; are among the main reasons.
I dread the next four years.
John Sammon, : John Sammon is a writer whose experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine writing, personality profiles, interviews, celebrity interviews (Clint Eastwood), historical pieces, investigative and crime. He was selected “Most Valuable Reporter” for California’s oldest continually operating newspaper, and covered the weekend crime beat for a daily newspaper in Nevada. If you beat your wife on Friday, he wrote about it and got you in deep trouble on Saturday. He covered business,... (more...)