Democracy on Life Support

It appears that our democracy may not be the best system there is. It does not seem to be working. It is pretty easy to see that America is a little off, a sick country. Sure, Donald Trump is a big time grifter whose real estate empire is built on Russian crime money, a thief who doesn’t pay his taxes, a liar who exploits our bankruptcy laws, an accused rapist and serial sexual assaulter, a racist and a xenophobe who promotes conspiracy theories, but every country has people like that. The problem is not only that we enabled him to succeed, but that we actually elected him to the most powerful office in the world. And now that he is engaged in a slow-motion coup, refusing to apply sanctions on Russia approved by Congress, attacking the courts, the press and the department of justice, the lackeys that elected him grovel at his feet and sing his praises.

For a long time, Americans have engaged in a form of willful ignorance. It is woven into the ludicrous notion held by three quarters of Republican males that white men are victims in America. You can hear it operating in the treatment of women in the me-too stories and in Trump talking about how he can do whatever he wants and women will like it. As Ta-Nehisi Coates and others have argued, the US was founded on idealism with a giant blind spot about race that we still have not come to terms with. That blindness can be heard in phrases like: All Lives Matter. People who utter that are blind to the mistreatment of black males by the police and the justice system.

That blindness is buried in the shock Americans feel when we are attacked by terrorists. “Why do they hate us?” Americans ask ignoring our endless wars, the presence of our troops overseas, our occupation of Afghanistan. (Why are we there?). How many countries do we have special ops in? Egypt, Oman, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Bahrain…How many drone strikes are occurring each day?

What kind of country ignores bi-weekly school shootings? Our response to them is to buy more guns. Is it really surprising that the suicide rate among white males has gone up? And what is the addiction to opioids but a quest to numb the pain? This is, after all, the same country that legalized torture and gave our government the right to detain people indefinitely without charging them or putting them on trial. Guantanamo is a black spot on the soul of our country.

From this angle, it was the election of Obama that was the fluke, the aberration. Trump is a better representative of who we are. It shouldn’t be a surprise when the Republican Party continues to support him. There’s a deep state all right; it’s the one run by the Koch brothers, and their friends. And it turns out that the internet, instead of being an open source for information, is a great vehicle for propaganda. It turns out we’d rather believe what we want to hear than what’s true.

Part of the impulse to elect Trump was, as Susan Sarandon said, to blow things up. She may have had her finger on the button. Now Trump has his finger on the button and hey, what do we have nuclear weapons for? Meanwhile, Trump and the Republican Party have made it clear that democracy no longer works. Maybe millennials will lead us to the promised land.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
March 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Buhle
A Caribbean Giant Passes: Wilson Harris, RIP
Mel Gurtov
A Blank Check for Repression? A Saudi Leader Visits Washington
Seth Sandronsky
Hoop schemes: Sacramento’s corporate bid for an NBA All-Star Game
Louis Proyect
The French Malaise, Now and Then
David Yearsley
Bach and the Erotics of Spring
March 22, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Italy, Germany and the EU’s Future
David Rosen
The Further Adventures of the President and the Porn Star
Gary Leupp
Trump, the Crown Prince and the Whole Ugly Big Picture
The Hudson Report
Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons and Debt in Antiquity
Steve Martinot
The Properties of Property
Binoy Kampmark
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Surveillance Capitalism
Jeff Berg
Russian to Judgment
Gregory Barrett
POSSESSED! Europe’s American Demon Must Be Exorcised
Robby Sherwin
What Do We Do About Facebook?
Sam Husseini
Trump Spokesperson Commemorates Invading Iraq by Claiming U.S. Doesn’t Dictate to Other Countries; State Dept. Defends Invasion
Rob Okun
Students: Time is Ripe to Add Gender to Gun Debate
Michael Barker
Tory Profiteering in Russia and Putin’s Debt of Gratitude
March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am a Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?