Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.
The original of this is a Facebook post… I really wish people would stop doing that. Facebook is a terrible publishing platform. Anyway, above is a link to a web site that has permission to reproduce the entire thing.
But there’s a line between legitimate partisanship and lack of patriotism, and this is where it runs: After a decision is made, after it is upheld as constitutional, after America has decided to do something, you don’t root for your country to fail — and you certainly don’t take action to make your country fail.
~ Doug Muder, from Rooting for Your Country to Fail is Unpatriotic
A central part of the American Right’s false Founding Narrative is that the Tenth Amendment trumps the Constitution’s creation of a powerful central government that possesses a mandate to do what’s necessary to provide for the country’s “general Welfare.” In Right-Wing World, the Tenth Amendment gives nearly all powers to the states.
~ Robert Parry, from The Right’s Tenth Amendment Myth
So how did the People vote (narrowly) for a Democratic Congress but get a Republican one instead? That’s certainly not what the Founders intended: The reason there are more House districts than Senate seats and all congressmen have to go back to the voters every two years is that the House is supposed to closely reflect the will of the People.
Why didn’t that work? Why didn’t the House come out with a slight edge for the Democrats, or something closer to a 50-50 split reflecting a close popular vote?
~ Doug Muder, from How Gerrymandering Painted the House Red
Hint: It’s not you. A pull-quote would be mis-leading from this one. it’s short, so just go read Who do representatives represent?
Yes, let’s honor those who died in the nation’s many wars.
But if we do not want to keep adding to the soldiers’ graves, let’s also ask why they died.
~ Howard Zinn, from On Memorial Day, Words from the Late Howard Zinn
If you know a little history, you might see some of this, and think that today’s culture battles are part of a tradition that goes back to FDR …
If you know a bit more history, you might see that this culture war stems from North Eastern progressive tradition dating back to the US Civil War.
The truth is that our culture war does date to the Civil War. Just not the US Civil War in 1861. It’s the English Civil War in 1640s I’m talking about.
~ by Clark, from Strange Seeds on Distant Shores
Everybody seems to agree that Congress doesn’t work.
If you’re liberal, you’re appalled that even something like universal background checks for gun purchases (90% public approval!) can’t pass. If you’re conservative, you’re horrified that nothing can be done about the mounting national debt or the projections for exponential growth in entitlement spending.
And even if you care not at all about parties or ideologies, it’s just embarrassing to watch our leaders create one artificial crisis after another. We’re the richest country on the planet, and yet we’re constantly threatening to shut down our government, default on our bonds, mint a trillion-dollar coin, or do some other weird thing that would shame the generalissimo of a banana republic.
Is this any way to run a super power?
~ Doug Muder, from What’s Really Wrong With Congress?
Summing up: Liberals and conservatives agree that we have a long-term problem, but they argue about what kind of problem: a government spending problem or a healthcare cost problem.
Recently I ran into a potentially game-changing question: What if there is no problem? In other words, instead of being trapped in the dismal liberal/conservative argument about which apocalypse we’re headed towards, what if we’re actually not headed towards an apocalypse at all?
~ Doug Muder, from What If There Is No Spending Problem?
But democracies need to be able to talk. I have to know more than just what you want to do or want me to do. I need to understand why you want what you want, and I need to be able to explain why I want something different. We have to be able to discuss the nuances of our hopes and fears and plans — what’s absolutely essential and what isn’t — so that we can cobble together a solution that we can all live with.
~ Doug Muder, from The Republic of Babel