Author Topic: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?  (Read 4109 times)

marshwiggle

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #15 on: January 07, 2022, 09:02:26 AM »
Against this backdrop, there have been several polls revealing that Americans are worried about the state of democracy. This sentiment is shared by Republicans and Democrats, but they disagree on the nature of the problem. Additionally, the US is on a democratic backslide according to several popular measures of democracy.


An easy check on the health of democracy would be to look at polls about how optimistic people are about their lives, NOT about how they feel about politics. Identitarianism from both the right and left do a good job of making people enraged, but do nothing to make people feel good about the future. (Pretty much by definition; the way to get people enraged is to make them thing things are hopeless, or almost hopeless.)

Unless and until the emphasis shifts to being on peoples' common humanity, and how we are similar, rather than on how we are different, things will get worse.

Respectfully, that is not a good way to check the health of democracy. It is a good way to check on the optimism of individuals, but has little to do with the health of the democratic system.

Let me put it another way: Revolutions and civil war happen in countries where a large number of people feel despair. The current fashion from both ends of the political spectrum of catastrophising and saying "THOSE people OVER THERE are destroying everything!" is bad, and when people who should know better, like academics and journalists, fuel it instead of trying to calm things own with objective, nuanced perspective, it's not a good omen.

Quote
You are right though, that polarization has reached a very unhealthy place in this country and finding common ground on issues would be helpful.

Common ground requires everyone to admit that there are some legitimate concerns on both "sides" of an issue, and that the challenge comes down to figure out a compromise in the weights attached to the different concerns.

For instance, with regard to covid:
  • No-one wants an epidemic to wipe out society or destroy the healthcare system.
  • No-one wants to create a police state and imprison everyone at home indefinitely.
Anyone with a brain realizes that any action or solution needs to consider both of those.
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Istiblennius

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #16 on: January 07, 2022, 09:10:56 AM »
Since we live in a republic and not a true democracy, I am grateful to be in a state where human rights are more protected. Given that the Supreme Court is kicking things like abortion rights back to states, our state recognizes that women are people, which is good.
 
Here's hoping that Canada will take us in as the federal system shifts more and more to a Putinesque kleptocracy (and we wonder why the grifter in chief admired the guy). This will happen either through right wing cheating through gerrymandering and voter suppression and outright fraud as they take over local election systems and continue to refuse to admit American Citizens in Puerto Rico and D.C. senate representation. Or if those institutions prevail, and the cheating comes to naught, then we will see another insurrection, maybe even a successful one.

The Electoral College and Senate are already outdated enough to eliminate the one person-one vote idea that made our republic something like a democracy. If your ideas are so bad you can't convince people to vote for you, then cheat. And if they are so bad that even the thumb on the scales doesn't get you your way, go to outright bullying.

Yeah. I'm cynical.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 09:14:30 AM by Istiblennius »

apl68

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2022, 09:26:30 AM »
I seriously doubt that we're headed into a dictatorship anytime soon.  But our government at the federal level obviously has not been functioning well in recent years, and overall trends are not looking good.  There's a saying to the effect that a society gets the government that it deserves.  Given the direction that our society has been moving over the years, I think we're seeing the insight of that saying demonstrated.  Our democracy is sick because our society is sick (Or maybe I should say getting sicker, since I know my history too well to imagine that there was ever a time when society and democracy enjoyed anything like perfect health). 

Societies and governments can get healthier as well as sicker, and maybe that could yet happen.  But with the very environment we live in continually getting sicker and sicker, and harder to live with and in, it seems unlikely that society will improve.  This isn't just happening in the U.S., either.  It's everywhere in the whole world.  To me it appears that the world as we know it is heading into its end times--perhaps within my lifetime (I'm in my early 50s), almost certainly within the lifetimes of today's young people.  The good news is there's a new world coming.  I can live through the death of the old one, if it comes in my time, with that knowledge to help me get through it.  We're just finally seeing what we were told 20 centuries ago to look out for.
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mahagonny

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2022, 09:30:22 AM »
Against this backdrop, there have been several polls revealing that Americans are worried about the state of democracy. This sentiment is shared by Republicans and Democrats, but they disagree on the nature of the problem. Additionally, the US is on a democratic backslide according to several popular measures of democracy.


An easy check on the health of democracy would be to look at polls about how optimistic people are about their lives, NOT about how they feel about politics. Identitarianism from both the right and left do a good job of making people enraged, but do nothing to make people feel good about the future. (Pretty much by definition; the way to get people enraged is to make them thing things are hopeless, or almost hopeless.)

Unless and until the emphasis shifts to being on peoples' common humanity, and how we are similar, rather than on how we are different, things will get worse.

Respectfully, that is not a good way to check the health of democracy. It is a good way to check on the optimism of individuals, but has little to do with the health of the democratic system.

Let me put it another way: Revolutions and civil war happen in countries where a large number of people feel despair. The current fashion from both ends of the political spectrum of catastrophising and saying "THOSE people OVER THERE are destroying everything!" is bad, and when people who should know better, like academics and journalists, fuel it instead of trying to calm things own with objective, nuanced perspective, it's not a good omen.

Quote
You are right though, that polarization has reached a very unhealthy place in this country and finding common ground on issues would be helpful.

Common ground requires everyone to admit that there are some legitimate concerns on both "sides" of an issue, and that the challenge comes down to figure out a compromise in the weights attached to the different concerns.

For instance, with regard to covid:
  • No-one wants an epidemic to wipe out society or destroy the healthcare system.
  • No-one wants to create a police state and imprison everyone at home indefinitely.
Anyone with a brain realizes that any action or solution needs to consider both of those.

The left, as of today anyway, is opting out of any common ground discussion, whether they know it or not, by insisting that 'white supremacy' be dealt with. Biden has already planted himself in this camp, which should make him an easy mark for the republican in 2024.
Unverified yet popular claim that January 6 riots were about white supremacy: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/naacp-head-white-supremacy-has-endured-beyond-jan-6-diminishing-voting-rights/ar-AASuMtN
A way to take a stand against odd, bothersome people without playing the race card (as if such a simple task would require someone's help, but apparently that's where we are):  https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/10/15/no-the-proud-boys-are-not-white-supremacists/

marshwiggle

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2022, 09:48:59 AM »
Since we live in a republic and not a true democracy, I am grateful to be in a state where human rights are more protected. Given that the Supreme Court is kicking things like abortion rights back to states, our state recognizes that women are people, which is good.
 
Here's hoping that Canada will take us in as the federal system shifts more and more to a Putinesque kleptocracy (and we wonder why the grifter in chief admired the guy).

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Canada isn't perfect either. (And as an aside, if the Republican party instantly evaporated, wouldn't that make the US "putinesque" as a single party state? I'm amazed at how many people who should know better seem to think total dominance of ANY single party would be a good idea.)

 
Quote
This will happen either through right wing cheating through gerrymandering and voter suppression and outright fraud as they take over local election systems and continue to refuse to admit American Citizens in Puerto Rico and D.C. senate representation. Or if those institutions prevail, and the cheating comes to naught, then we will see another insurrection, maybe even a successful one.

The Electoral College and Senate are already outdated enough to eliminate the one person-one vote idea that made our republic something like a democracy. If your ideas are so bad you can't convince people to vote for you, then cheat. And if they are so bad that even the thumb on the scales doesn't get you your way, go to outright bullying.


A single party state would be so much better. See how much Hong Kong has improved in the last 20 years.
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dismalist

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2022, 10:15:00 AM »
This was on another blog in Summer of 2020, before the presidential election:

Trump wins. California joins Mexico. New England separates and puts up walls to keep people from escaping to lower-tax areas. Canada blocks them from going North. Illinois goes bankrupt and Chicago becomes Mogadishu. Washington and Oregon go to war with each other. The rest of the country grows and prospers.

:-)
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marshwiggle

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2022, 10:35:34 AM »
This was on another blog in Summer of 2020, before the presidential election:

Trump wins. California joins Mexico. New England separates and puts up walls to keep people from escaping to lower-tax areas. Canada blocks them from going North. Illinois goes bankrupt and Chicago becomes Mogadishu. Washington and Oregon go to war with each other. The rest of the country grows and prospers.

:-)

Darn right. We don't want their guns, or complaints about our "high taxes", "Monopoly money", the metric system, or bilingual labels on packaging.
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jimbogumbo

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2022, 11:41:51 AM »
This was on another blog in Summer of 2020, before the presidential election:

Trump wins. California joins Mexico. New England separates and puts up walls to keep people from escaping to lower-tax areas. Canada blocks them from going North. Illinois goes bankrupt and Chicago becomes Mogadishu. Washington and Oregon go to war with each other. The rest of the country grows and prospers.

:-)

I've seen the quote. What is ironic is that the Northeast, California, Oregon, Washington and Chicago represent such a large portion of the economy that the "rest" of the country doesn't have a chance to prosper. Aside from Texas and Florida there isn't much. particularly of you throw in that Georgia would erupt in civil war.

dismalist

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2022, 11:45:27 AM »
This was on another blog in Summer of 2020, before the presidential election:

Trump wins. California joins Mexico. New England separates and puts up walls to keep people from escaping to lower-tax areas. Canada blocks them from going North. Illinois goes bankrupt and Chicago becomes Mogadishu. Washington and Oregon go to war with each other. The rest of the country grows and prospers.

:-)

I've seen the quote. What is ironic is that the Northeast, California, Oregon, Washington and Chicago represent such a large portion of the economy that the "rest" of the country doesn't have a chance to prosper. Aside from Texas and Florida there isn't much. particularly of you throw in that Georgia would erupt in civil war.

Don't confuse levels with rates of change. :-)
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Istiblennius

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2022, 11:55:51 AM »

A single party state would be so much better. See how much Hong Kong has improved in the last 20 years.

We used to have Whigs and Tories. We wouldn't have a one party system and I hope and would love to see something moderate replace the White Kristian Nationalist cult that has cast out Liz Cheney of all people.

mahagonny

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2022, 12:01:20 PM »
If we don't do something about Randi Weingarten everyone's going to hate teachers.https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/democrats-botched-public-school-covid-policy/621183/


downer

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2022, 12:02:14 PM »
We are so fortunate to live in this country.  My husband is quite ill and I am compromised, so while you’re free to express any opinion you want, it’s good to live in a state of gratefulness.

No clause here seems related to any other clause. None of them seem relevant to the thread.
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dismalist

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2022, 12:16:21 PM »
If we don't do something about Randi Weingarten everyone's going to hate teachers.https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/democrats-botched-public-school-covid-policy/621183/

Thank goodness for Randi!

The obstreperousness of the teachers' unions during COVID may be the spark that starts to revolutionize the system.

Virginia voting is a beginning, big time.

By revolution I mean parental choice of institutions and content.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 12:27:45 PM by dismalist »
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Stockmann

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2022, 12:20:59 PM »
I think it's a mistake to view this in isolation from regional and global trends - democracy reached its global high-water mark in the 90's and has been receding globally ever since. Trump actually stole the playbook of the Mexican Left, not least crying fraud in any election you don't win, and his Covid policy was a more moderate, comparatively fact-based version of those of Mexico and Brazil, except only for his support for vaccine development. Extreme political polarization has swept the Americas with only a few exceptions (look at Chile for the latest example).



This was on another blog in Summer of 2020, before the presidential election:

Trump wins. California joins Mexico. New England separates and puts up walls to keep people from escaping to lower-tax areas. Canada blocks them from going North. Illinois goes bankrupt and Chicago becomes Mogadishu. Washington and Oregon go to war with each other. The rest of the country grows and prospers.

:-)

California's Hispanic population would never put up with it.

Puget

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2022, 12:48:53 PM »


This was on another blog in Summer of 2020, before the presidential election:

Trump wins. California joins Mexico. New England separates and puts up walls to keep people from escaping to lower-tax areas. Canada blocks them from going North. Illinois goes bankrupt and Chicago becomes Mogadishu. Washington and Oregon go to war with each other. The rest of the country grows and prospers.

:-)

California's Hispanic population would never put up with it.

Whoever wrote that clearly knows very little about the west coast. Who would be dumb enough to think OR and WA would not go to war with each other??? They are politically and culturally quite closely aligned (if you doubt my knowledge of that, please see monicker).  If they did anything, CA, OR and WA would leave together (aka "Cascadia"). They would collectively take a big chunk of the economy and an even bigger chunk of the military with them. Controlling the Pacific ports alone would give them a huge amount of power.
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