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A Republic, If You Can Keep It

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Twitter thread posted by @djrothkopf on 1-30-2020

If you thought the end of US democracy & our greatness as a country would come with missiles raining down or battles in our streets, you were wrong. It will come silently, in increments shrouded in the language of the law. They’ve been coming for years. Another’s coming tomorrow.

A memo saying presidents can’t be indicted. The end of the Fairness Doctrine. The end of Glass Steagall. Tax breaks for the richest. Citizens United. Judicial rulings enabling voter suppression. Redistricting. A stolen national election. Barr quashing investigations.

The failure to honor the subpoenas of the Congress. The argument that whatever the president does is in the national interest. Tomorrow’s vote. Each one a sledgehammer blow at the pillars upholding our idea of one person one vote, co-equal branches of gov’t, the rule of law.

Most Americans barely notice them, see them as the fine print on the package our society is delivered in, political white noise. That’s why they are so pernicious. They have come for decades. The country seems the same. But the institutions on which it depends are diminished.

Ideals are paved over to make away for the highways on which the few traffic in corruption and race to their next greed-fueled destination. We stand to lose much in the rigged outcome of this nauseating sham of a Senate trial. But make no mistake, we have lost much already.

Rebuilding is not impossible. But job one is recognizing the urgency of the situation, the fragility of what is most important to us, and the extent of the damage that has been done. We can’t simply remove one leader from power and think we have addressed the problem.

We must recognize that an entire political party, the GOP, sometimes aided by some in the Democratic establishment, has sought this outcome, felt justified in engineering America to work for just a handful of us, the 1%, the biggest companies, people who look and think like them.

They must be defeated and the damage done must be reversed…and then we must take steps to ensure it can never be done again. That means new laws. That means holding the guilty accountable. It means a more engaged electorate. It means a new generation of leaders.

Election days are important…but every day matters. Views must be expressed, political coalitions must be built, strength must be manifest so that politicians recognize that there self-interest must begin again to align with that of the vast majority of Americans.

This is a task akin to rebuilding the country after the Civil War, with re-founding it after the work of our original founders has been perverted and subordinated and ignored. It is a challenge that will take decades because the damage done is the cumulative work of decades.

Are we up to it? Are you up to it? Do you care enough to look up from the comfort of your life and examine what the cost of these losses are, to understand that what you have taken for granted throughout your life is gone? That’s the question on which our future depends?

It is a question not for political leaders or justices of high courts but for each and every one of us. So…where do you come out? Do you care? Will you act? Or will you watch the masterwork of the architects of what was great in our society be demolished, blow by blow?

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David Rothkopf

David Rothkopf

David J. Rothkopf (born 24 December 1955) is a professor of international relations, political scientist and journalist. He is the founder and CEO of The Rothkopf Group, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a visiting professor at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a prolific author.

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