Born in 1952, I’ve lived through periods of political and social turmoil, but I’ve never been more concerned for the future of our democracy than I am today. Our President delights in breaking rules and placing his interests above those of the country and Constitution he has sworn to serve. His lies and disparaging comments about our courts, our military, our allies and the press set the angry and uncompromising tone for our political and social discourse.
Anyone claiming to love freedom should read How Democracies Die, by Harvard Professors Livetsky and Ziblatt. This book is an extensive examination of how balance is maintained in a democratic society, how formal restraints and informal political norms have operated to check the rise of autocrats in the U.S., how the breakdown of political norms has led to the failure of modern democracies in both Latin America and Europe, and how similar breakdowns have been developing in the U.S.
The journey from democracy to totalitarianism often happens in increments. The breakdown of political restraints did not begin with Trump, but he has unleashed a full arsenal of tactics that operate to undermine democracy and escalate political polarization. When someone with strong autocratic tendencies, like Trump, gains power, and those who could exercise restraint over those tendencies fail to act, it is time for serious concern. As the autocrat’s invective against his perceived political enemies escalates, those being attacked retaliate in kind. The situation escalates to the point of polarization and the deadlock created by polarization becomes the justification for the autocrat to usurp power.
Republicans and Democrats must come together to check the President’s power. We need leaders who choose country over party. The powers of advice and consent, Congressional investigation, and lawmaking can be powerful tools of restraint, but both parties must be willing to work together to use them. Name calling and over-the-top rhetoric do not foster cooperation. While the breakdown of political normalcy did not begin with Trump, it must end with him, or our body politic will be forever polarized and well-meaning, reasonable people will no longer be able to keep us from an autocracy equal to, or worse than what we see in Putin’s Russia.
The next Supreme Court appointee will almost certainly be deciding issues about the extent of presidential power and the degree to which the courts and legislature may check that power. The position of any supreme court candidate on these issues must be closely scrutinized. Our senators must get this one right, our democracy depends on it.
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Our senators should get what right, Ms. McCrea? I submit they should get right the concept that we are a Republic and not a democracy. I must say no thanks for the recommendation on the Harvard professor’s book on democracies dying, because his premise that we are a democracy is wrong from the start. We don’t need another Harvard expert perpetuating false narratives like Elizabeth Warren or Lawrence Tribe as the Senate considers Judge Kavanaugh and future justices.
I would suggest folks read Plato’s Republic in contemplating the idea of justice in a society that values justice, not shifting emotions. We’ve had Democrats appointing Supreme Court justices and federal judges who base their rulings on emotion and not on the law for far too long. Read their opinions along with Plato.
The response by so many over the last two years regarding the electoral college system further reinforces my point that many don’t understand the difference between a democracy and a republic.
And continuing that discussion I would encourage the readers as they consider the two candidates for U.S. Senate in Tennessee to ask yourselves: do you confidently and unhesitatingly believe Phil Bredesen will vote for President Trump’s nominees for Supreme Court and federal judges?
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I'm not that much older than the original poster and I too have been terrified for our country up until 2016. Any American who loves freedom, loves America and the Constitution should read Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, you will gain a true look at what has happened in America over the Obama years.
Yes, President Trump doesn't speak "presidential", he speaks the truth. He says what he means and means what he says. Unlike previous administrations he gets things done and that is what Americans have hungered for. We didn't want a President who bows before every country, draws lines and backs down, and lies to us and that's exactly why President Trump was elected. (Remember "if you love your doctor you can keep your doctor" and the best one...every family will see a decrease of $2,500 per year for your medical insurance)?
Antifa, Maxine Waters, Obama himself are responsible for the unrest of the radicals. We've got unemployment on the ropes, companies like steel, textiles and automotive are returning to America. If you want someone to pay attention to you hit them where it hurts, in the pocketbook. How anyone can be against economic progress is a difficult one for me to follow unless it's more beneficial to have high unemployment, lots and lots of folks drawing entitlements and being dependent on the government for those that are power hungry.
I gave Obama a chance even though he wasn't my pick and he fell flat on his face. He did nothing to help his country, nothing to even help his own race. Now we've got this guy who's going to help you no matter who you are, no matter where you stand on the economic ladder and in spite of the fact that you'd rather not work or be self-respecting and contributing. I'm 110 percent for what he's done and what he intends to do. You can follow Saul's rules if you wish but you may want to be careful about exactly who you challenge because the forgotten men and women are now more determined than ever to make America Great Again.
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There is none so blind as he who will not see.
I have voted in every presidential election beginning with Dwight Eisenhower. I shall say with confidence that none of them has lied and disgraced the presidency or the rule of law or the welfare of the nation and the people as the current occupant.
I voted for Bob Corker every time he ran for office. I shall do the same for Phil Bredesen. I do not vote for political parties. I vote for the best candidate to do the job under the circumstances that exist at the time. The present circumstances call for a joint effort for all those present to get it right. It is obvious to most that that will take all hands on deck who care about this country and its future and that of the people.
Senator Corker sincerely cares about this country and so does Phil Bredesen. They both have held high offices in our government for many years and I have watched them progress to their present positions of importance in this government. We need that experience, talent, and professionalism to reestablish us in our position in the world as it was after World War II. I remember it well. The time was critical but our leaders were not too blind to see or too absorbed in their own importance and interests to recognize what needed to be done or too ignorant to take the action necessary to save this country and the rest of the world then under threat. Money cannot buy security and freedom as we know it.
Finding a hero is not difficult if we look deep enough among dedicated Americans. We need leaders who see all as one based upon their ability to contribute. They always have come forward. They are not all in the same political party. That diversity is why they are the best. It is what they are made of and it is what makes us proud as one nation indivisible.
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You know, overuse and inappropriate citation of historical statements does nothing more than make them trite and cliché.
Selective blindness and hearing, ignorance of the obvious due to an emotional love affair with a politician, any person, is nothing more than living in a dream world isn't it. It's easy to make accusations toward others without citing specific instances, provable instances, if our goal is nothing more than to impugn the other's character.
I, too, am a '52 model. Back in those days we learned in school the difference between a republic and a democracy, in Civics classes... of which there were several, in many grades, and they started in at least the 5th grade. The first time I voted, because of residency requirements and being too busy traveling the world on Uncle Sam's dime, I voted for President Carter. I'm still paying penance for that one, but I also learned to look past the suit to what a person has truly accomplished in life.
Anyone espousing the glories of former Governor Bredesen really ought to take the short trip to Realville, then a long hard look at his history. Everything he's ever done has been at the expense of hard working, tax paying, and sometimes voting, citizens.
Before anyone touts his creds really, really needs to take a long hard look at what former Governor Bredesen and his two homeboys, Matt Kisber and Reagan Farr, did to form their Silicon Ranch corporation. I'll bet few remember they started with TaxBucks and taxpayer grants... and those ObamaBucks contracts that paid for failed results. Anyone starting a business should be commended. It's absolutely frightening to step out there and put everything on the line, hang one's tush out for the sharks to snap at. No accolades are deserved for doing so on the backs of others' hard work and resources seized with the force of a government gun. There is no honor in using what others have worked hard to earn for personal benefit.
Dem bones, dem bones... taking advantage of knowledge and resources not available to the average taxpayer, Rolf and Bobby Jean Thelma Lou Schmuckatinez, is actually sort of sleazy isn't it.
I think I'm going to abscond with my favorite TreeHugger's phrase about those wealthy white people with a sense of entitlement.
Three more attributions... then it's mine.
Royce Burrage, Jr.
A Proud Deplorable