The democracy is dead but it can be resuscitated

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news is that we are no longer a democracy. And no, this isn’t some kind of cute, semantic quibble about how we’re actually a republic or whatever. I mean the systems by which the United States government represents its citizens are no longer functioning. Our current president lost the popular vote. Even though he represents only a minority of Americans, he has stacked the Supreme Court as well as the federal bench. Also, democrats have won more votes during the past three senate runs, yet continue to be the minority. On top of it all, gerrymandering and voter suppression continue to solidify minority rule and distance us from actual democracy.

Yeah. It’s real bad. Pre-apocalypse kind of bad. It’s the kind of bad you read about in history books and think, How did they not see this? Why didn’t they do anything about it? The answer here is actually pretty simple: racism. We’ve never dealt with the problem and now the problem deals with us. If you actually look, it’s pretty easy to see. Every single social issue currently fucking up the world, from climate change to addiction to wealth inequality has already been experienced by Black and brown people as a whole for years. Political representation is not something Black and brown people have ever truly known in the USA. As a country, we now constantly talk about the loss of truth or the lack of belief in things like science, but neither truth nor things like science have ever been permitted to exist for Black or brown people. This country has set a moral precedent and if your morals can exclude one kind of person, then you will eventually and happily exclude another. And another.

Unfortunately, it’s probably all going to get much worse. This is because the problems are systemic, but we behave as though they’re personal. We like to think that we can persuade conservatives out of their conservatism. We act as though the problem is that our shitty uncles just haven’t thought it through. This, of course disregards the fact that conservatism is a fraud and conservatives are cowards and liars. And I absolutely mean #yesallconservatives. Trump’s very existence proves this at every moment.  

Religious conservatives support him, despite the fact that everything about him is and has always been antithetical to Christianity. Fiscal conservatives support him despite the fact that his entire, very public life has only ever shown him to be the very definition of financially irresponsible.

Conservatives will claim patriotism as reason to support Trump despite his proud mocking of the most respected POWs as well as Gold Star Families, not to mention the fact that he openly favors the undermining our elections by foreign powers.

Conservative claims of national security as justification for border walls and Muslim bans are undone by the federally known truth that the biggest threat to the country comes from within our borders.

But this is not just hypocrisy. And, while the fact that these people are totally willing to hurt themselves over and over and over again in support of Trump makes it seem as though stupidity is the problem, but that’s not the entire story, either. There’s something else that ties them all together.

What ties all forms of conservatism together, the thing that their collective actions never falter on is their shared racism. That’s it. That’s all conservatism is. Naturally, they claim otherwise, but as is the case with every coward and liar, their actions contradict their claims.

And of course, along with the racism comes misogyny and homophobia and transphobia and on and on. Their goal is and always has been to prohibit and restrict the rights of others, to go backward—and as long as they have a legitimate voice in politics, that is what they will continue to do. On that path authoritarianism is inevitable.

Now the good news: they are a minority. It may not seem that way due to their over-representation in our political systems and media, but it’s true. That means attacking the systems can result in an actual democracy. But what will never result in a return to democracy is you trying to change your shitty uncle’s mind. You can’t convince him not to be shitty any more than he can convince you to be shitty. Don’t let him distract you. Instead, go here, and here, and here and give your time and/or money.

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Image by Filip Bunkens from Unsplash

2 thoughts on “The democracy is dead but it can be resuscitated”

  1. …and VOTE, for whoever the Dems put up for president and for senator in your state…and tell your friends to vote, too. Tone it down around that uncle, but make sure you plan ahead, get that ID card or piece of mail you need, stand in the line, do the work. It won’t happen unless everyone who sees that the emperor is naked actually goes to the polls and gets behind the candidate. It may not be the one you were hoping for, but it’s the first step in a long chain of events we need to bring back the democracy we have all taken for granted for so long. Thanks for this piece–it’s a good one!

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