Whether or not Bismarck ever said that God looked after creatures in these categories, it's a way of asking whether the U.S. has relied too long on providence and sheer luck.
Thank you for your CLARITY, as always. Tweet here: https://twitter.com/patticrane/status/1470140143885455360
re Tom Fallows: I read the article as a forward thinking and uber optimistic read. In these difficult times, it is hard to see a path forward. But, in my parent's time, they had to fight a world war. Then, in our time, we had the nuclear threat where just one nuclear bomb could devastate all of humanity and the entire planet. I suggest to everyone to watch the film made for schoolchildren, "Duck and Cover." I happened to watch it recently while channel surfing and it was on Turner Classic Movies TCM. Schoolchildren as young as 5 were made to watch a movie that told them, "You are safe when the bomb falls, if you duck and cover." The children were taught that if they saw the mushroom cloud of the nuclear blast, you put your jacket over your head and hide under your desk. When out on the street, just duck and cover in a doorway. When we were college students, we had to fight the persecution and jailing, even the killing, of our leaders in our fight to stop an illegal war and get rid of a corrupt president. We were just college students, but we did that. We never let anyone take our optimism and many peacenik hippies went into Peace Corps, anti-poverty campaigns, and social change campaigns of all kinds - to change the world for the better. " Never doubt that a small group of individuals can change the world. Indeed, that is the only thing that can. " [sic] Be optimistic - let's focus on the good part of the media and on positive, optimistic writers like James Fallows who can change the world. My solution? Elect Greta Thunberg President of the World, and give back all the lands we can to the indigenous Native Tribes to manage. ;) We will be fine. Or, we can just take a lesson from the 1960's and 1970's. We can change the world, one person and one story at a time. As hippies, our motto was, Think Globally, Act Locally and Bloom where you are planted. It works, and yes, we also believed in the Age of Aquarius. The greatest threat that we have is still nuclear proliferation, that all activists tried to stop as soon as the stupid things were invented. Thanks, James Fallows for a very thoughtful, optimistic, forward-looking and forward-thinking map to the rehabilitation of our democracy! Our democracy is still the wonder of the planet, and it will be for all of time, the human creation that transcends everything.
Greetings Jim....I've been reading your blog for awhile and today I finally ponied up a few bucks to express appreciation. This post is much along the lines of what I've been thinking --- and despairing -- about our national political system. At my (our) age I see it as all in the hands of younger people, and I wish our generation would get the hell out of the way on the national stage. Though I don't see that coming voluntarily.
I've been thinking a lot about your excellent explorations of local governance, "Our Towns". Even though (or because) national governance has so failed, the real change is local. Living in Boston, the critical national issues such as abortion, guns, health care etc are kind of "not my problem" (to an obviously limited extent). It is all happening "out there", and I likely can have little real effect on the national level, whereas I can have a lot of effect locally.
I'm an historian, so that the worse things get in the present the further back in history I read in order to get perspective and hang on to sanity. Will my old Dunster friend Al Gore go down in history as a man of old school principle who showed the way, or as a dying breed of Roman Republican. The last President whom everyone agreed was legitimate was George HW Bush -- ever since then the opposing side (perhaps with good reason) has denied the legitimacy of the winning candidate, whether by contesting the election or by impeachment. Impeachment will now become a regular tactic whenever the Congressional and Presidential parties differ.
Your suggestion of increasing representation in the House makes perfect sense, just like changing the size and tenure of the Supreme Court. But the devil is how will anything substantive ever get through Congress, let alone the impossible Constitutional process. I look forward to your thoughts on this, but I cannot see a way out via any regular process.
Trump showed the path to subvert the Constitution in governance and elections. Our fortune was that he was not politically intelligent enough to carry it through. He could so easily have been re-elected had he followed the example of Bush II after 9/11 in his response to COVID. Fortunately he could not see that. The next guy will....
I'll have a lot more to say on this later. For now I am very appreciative to be a part of your conversation...
We inherited a system of government that was designed to evolve; unfortunately it has worked so well for so long we've become terrified of changing it, lest our own self interests be weakened as a result. So maybe it's our self-interest we need to take a look at - and whether we've placed that higher than our shared interests.
The primary lesson I get from the study of our nation's founding is the compromise between self interest and shared interest - given the fact that the two are inseparable. Slave states needed the northern states, and vice-versa. Recognizing these shared needs - and recognizing the symbiosis between self interest and shared interest - gave rise to huge compromises, like the 3/5 compromise you noted. But for some reasons too many Americans today think that strict adherence to documents forged 2 1/2 centuries ago is more important than the concept of compromise that allowed these documents to be created in the first place.
We have to begin by relearning how to trust one another - and I think that's a pretty tall order at this time.
The underrepresented states have great economic power: how could they join together to harness that power to force non-violent change on the resistant overrepresented ones? Boycotts are the most obvious idea—e.g. National Interstate Compact states favoring each other for business and shunning states that won’t join, which might lead to the end of the Electoral College— but how to organize such an action? Is there a Gandhian Salt March equivalent possible in our vastly more modern country whose press has lost its way so badly? The Rev. Barber is a worthy successor to Gandhi and MLK, but look at how much less coverage he and his movement get by comparison! I try not to despair…
Thanks Jim for this. A very depressing read (which matches my own sentiments now in the wake of the Supreme Court hearings on RoeVWade in which the 3 Trump appointees openly violate their own pledges under-oath to the Senate in which they swore to preserve precedent). And very pointedly accurate as well. Will comments like this have any impact in changing the archaic way in which US government functions? The optimist in me says "why not hope?", while the realist in me sees the same chance for improvement here as the chance for restrictions on guns in school...