Politics

The Point of Democracy is not Re-election or the First Nail in the Democracy Coffin


I’ve been searching for two things this week: (1) time and (2) a way to address our slide into single-party, pseudo-democratic, minority-rule authoritarianism. Time because we had an entire grade level and their teachers go into quarantine due to a student getting #COVID19. It means that we lost ten teachers who taught other grade levels than the just one. While they can teach from home, someone has to facilitate and supervise in the room. The extra duties and supervision issues has made everyday this week seem like three. I swear, on Tuesday I honestly thought it was Thursday by the end of the day. You know how you’ve got a kind of internal clock measuring these things matching your usual body sensations to the usual events of the week. Whine, whine, wine, wine. Still, no wonder everyone thought 2021 was exhausting.

I’m increasingly convinced that it really is too late to save our democracy. The GQP has in place the laws to suppress and nullify any votes that they want and gerrymander minority rule in the state legislatures and House of Representatives. Of course, the Senate has always favored the GQP where minority rule is de rigueur. We need look no further than Georgia and Florida to see the future of voting rights in the coming #GOPDystopia.

They’ve installed the court to rule in their favor when the challenges reach the Supremes. Seeing what passes for legal arguments coming out of the right wing of the court makes you think that if John Roberts really had any concerns about the legitimacy and reputation of the Court and his own legacy, he’d resign while any of it was still intact. If he was really concerned about any of that stuff, he would.

“I’ll be Defeated in a Primary”

There is a lot to say about our slide into authoritarianism, but this Tweet and my response to it seems as good a starting point as any for the series.

Mike Memoli tweets about an anecdote Biden repeated at his mammoth marathon of a meeting with the press that five GQP senators have confided in Biden that they agree with him but can’t support him because they’ll be primaried! As if that is the worst thing that can happen to the country or the world — them not being in the Senate in any longer. All of our fucking fates rest on some back bencher GQP senator retaining his or her seat. Like the do fuck all anyway either when the Dems hold the chamber or the GQP does.

This attitude is exactly why we’ve already lost our democracy: we no longer understand what democracy is. As I said in my reply, democracy is not about getting elected or re-elected; it is about representing your position on whatever issue, compromising with other legislators, and getting bills passed that address the problems the country is facing. If your constituents don’t like what you’ve done, then they’ll elect someone else. If they do like, you’ll be re-elected.

Realpolitik

Turning our government into a party politics power play of Realpolitik is authoritarianism. It is a page out of every dictator’s rise to power in the the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. For all of us to tsk tsk and shake our heads and wonder when the Republicans are going to reach into their pants and find their balls, is a fundamental misdiagnosis of the problem and the solution.

The problem is that every one of those motherfuckers think that without them in elected office, the world will come to a screeching halt in a hundred car pile up during a blizzard on some Northeastern expressway. That we keep electing these motherfuckers and not demanding that they stand up for their beliefs and let their constituents decide, shows that we’ve been gaslit into accepting this pale facsimile of electoral democracy for the real thing.

As long as We The People keep electing these yahoos to office, we are not a democracy. We may not yet be a complete autocracy, but we’re in the worst possible position: that halfway point between the two where real widespread violence is likely to breakout before, during, and after elections and seal our fates.

Let me know what you think in the comments, please.

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Image Attribution

“democracy” by Naccarato is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

17 replies »

  1. Years ago I wrote a bit how we (the country) had grown too large, both geographically and population-wise, too diverse, both geographically and population-wise, to centrally “govern” from the farthest reaches of the state and how it is like a perpetual motion machine statistically inevitable to fail. Disconcerting to say the least to see it years later as a reich-wing talking point. Not to mention my worldview has grown a bit less centric since. Never-the-less …

    This one got me dis-invited from an early blog-community I tried to contribute to: our future is authoritarian. Seven soon ten billion people on a ball of rock that can barely sustain one, that within a generation will have to do something to get out of these no longer potentially toxic gases enveloping the only ball of rock we know of we can live on. We are not going to be able to survive in the open environment, we will have to move “indoors” ~ be it orbiting habitats, moon colonies, or caves of steel: underground or undersea. We will only survive in controlled environments. Where things went to shit was in moonbats squabbling over orbiting habitats, moon colonies, or caves of steel, completely missing the point: we will have to go somewhere, that somewhere will be a controlled environment, under someone or something’s control, and we need to do so soon (then).

    I don’t think we’re gonna’ make it, and if we don’t get started soon I’ll be right …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Ten!

      I remember watching an episode of “What’s My Line,” the old game show where the celebrity panel tried to guess which person was the real whatever odd job they had was, and the fellow’s job was that he could place your accent to the county. They had him demonstrate using a randomly selected audience member. When he told her the county in some damn mid-western state, they asked her where she was from. Germany! she said. Oh, chagrin, until she said her English teacher was from that county. The fellow lamented that it was getting harder to do because of the homogenization of the country because of TV. Everybody was losing their regional accents.

      My favorite author, Willie Faulkner, had a character complaining that those folks in the next county over were strange and you could never trust them They did things in the oddest ways. It’s funny how perceptions and things change. Now we live in an era of nationalized politics where every local politician’s relationship to national politics matters.

      I don’t think we’re going to make it, either. I think we’re in for a tremendous downsizing of the population. I read that the tree line is sprinting towards the North Pole and that the lack of animals is going to cause the plant life to implode. Our ecosystems are at the point of collapse. The changes will only accelerate. Luckily, life will find a way to soldier on with or without us around to witness it.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Like

  2. How long have we been (usually the minority party) picking up and dropping the idea of term limits? As long as I’ve been politically aware. As far as I can tell, The Founders did not see being a Senator or MOC as a career path, certainly not for all those members.

    There is a lot to be said for eliminating primary elections in favor of ranked choice voting as a way to weaken the grip of the parties.

    I recall reading somewhere of the tendency for any duopoly to get trapped into a competition for monopoly. I’ll have to try to find that. We need more parties.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      I’ve never liked the idea of term limits. I associate the concept with anti-government types. The casual supporters, you know, the infamous independent voter, often support the idea because of some vague distrust for dishonest career politicians due to the propaganda of the anti-government types. Really, they are a crutch for a lazy electorate. You don’t have to evaluate the job that an office holder does. They just term-limit out of the position and you elect a new one. No thinking required.

      That said, the Founding Fathers didn’t envision anyone wanting to be a career Congressman. They feared the thing we’ve become. They didn’t put enough safeguards and impediments in the way to keep it from happening. As soon as we began teaching small working class children like I was that the US government was some magical heroic perfect system, we all assumed that the government could never be changed. That’s why there is no real stomach for changing the electoral college or the Senate rules. The Constitution and the Founding Fathers were divinely inspired to create a heaven on earth.

      I figure the GOP was lost for good after the Michael Steele chaired it in 2009. They had a chance to make their appeal to PoC and appeal to a broader base.They chose not to right after that. That was their last chance to get out of the authoritarian lane and actually adapt to the changing demographics and environment.

      Huzzah!
      Jack

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s probably right about term limits, especially considering that only the most partisan and agitated base turns out for primary elections, not to mention our abysmal turnout in general elections and midterms.

        The Founders did warn against established factions (parties), but immediately began to form them starting with the arguments about the ratification of the Constitution between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. It has been a duopoly ever since, with all third parties regarded as fringe or spoilers. And, yes, teaching generations of kids that the checks and balances will always save us has not helped.

        The GOP were told clearly what they needed to do to adapt in a democratically functional way and actually win elections. They just couldn’t take the medicine because they could not imagine bringing their racist base with them (probably right about that in any time less than a generation).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          It is clear to me that racism works on several levels in the individual. I guess it is more prejudice in the individual than racism, but anywho. There is the inner racist who harbors prejudicial and bigoted thoughts and ideas without necessarily being consciously aware of them. As they bubble up and get closer to conscious awareness it is social mores and norms that prevent them from being openly expressed.

          Many of the more openly racist individuals I’m guessing were also less likely to vote. That was Trump’s genius, convincing those folks to vote. If the Republicans had ignored that call to appeal to the inner racist, the Southern strategy, and broadened their appeals to PoC, they could’ve been more competitive and better prepared for the future. Instead, whether consciously or not, they’ve laid the groundwork for a more openly racist society.

          Huzzah!
          Jack

          Liked by 1 person

          • His disregard for those social mores and norms is exactly what the MAGAs admire in Trump and emulate. He is the voice of their inner racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and just plain pissed off id.

            Liked by 1 person

              • Exactly. And then, there is the break in that loop when he changes the narrative in some way, like advocating getting vaccinated. The effect is like an off note in a familiar tune. The audience cringes and boos.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  Which makes you wonder why he’s doing it, doesn’t it? What narcissistic need does it feed? Is it to try and peel the base away from DeSantis? If it is, he’s much more desperate that I thought he was. I guess he’s feeling it from all sides, now, though. The various investigations are looking pretty serious. The grift is getting stale. There’s only so long you can flog the Big Lie without needing something more to add. That’s the problem, according to Trump, too long between elections. He’s off the center stage and is finding it difficult to swing the limelight his way. Without his office, he can’t play the #COVID19 card as easily. He would have to really work, do real work, to get enough attention about his views on #COVID19. He probably doesn’t have the staff to feed him the shtick, to let him know what Rogan, Bannon, Tucker, and the rest are saying so he can add to the cacophonous den. I wonder how often Hannity and Ingraham are calling him.

                  Now, DeSantis is out anti-vaxxing anti-sciencing anti-masking him with all his genocidal rhetoric and orders.

                  That can’t be it, though. If DeSantis had gotten to him, he’d be calling him out. He always goes on the direct attack.

                  Perhaps it is Biden never using his name but clearly referring to him. Biden doing all the things he couldn’t do in office: infrastructure week, vaccine roll out, rising employment.

                  Perhaps it is a third unknown variable that we just can’t see.

                  But, there is something driving the sour note he’s singing about vaccines all of a sudden. That’s probably more it than anything else. He’s got no help in figuring out which way MAGA is headed and their are lots of competitors. He’s just looking for a new direction to get MAGA attention.

                  Still, why continue once it is clear that it is wrong? Can’t admit it? He’d just switch directions mid-word and pretend it never happened, right?

                  He’s off his game. He’s rattled. I think between that and his isolation, even from his kids, who his paranoid imagination tells him that they are turning on him, are not coming round as much any more. He’s got no real money of his own, so they don’t need him. Ivanka and Don, Jr have their own sources. It’s just Eric who was left without much. I think this is much more the reason. He’s just rattled and is thrashing.

                  Huzzah!
                  Jack

                  Liked by 1 person

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