The Noble Challenge Of Salvaging American Democracy – Part 1

Salvaging American Democracy, depicted in context of the flag and the constitution.

There is a lot in the way of salvaging American democracy. Probably it starts with a reluctance or inability to see the truth. Any successful effort would be noble – and then some. It can be done, and in some manner, it will be done, to the desire and good of the people. But it is always a matter of degree on such things.

America has lost much in recent years and people are weary. But evil does not relent. So, it is necessary to stay informed, to see the situation for what it is, to strive to influence our fate, to ensure the transformational arc stays steadfast toward the light and good. Time and change are relentless, and this is a most critical juncture for the American experiment. Consider this write-up even if (or especially if) you contend there is no problem or that America is on track to be “fixed”. Please consider, even if you like or support what’s happening to the country.

This represents a field of opportunity that needs to be plowed wide and deep, as Lincoln might say. Suffice it to start with a look at history.

A Story of Fascism Over Democracy

In early 2020, Professor Benjamin Hett discussed the collapse of democracy in Germany’s Weimar Republic, which paved the way for fascism. Weimar had a good democracy going, but it proved ripe for Nazi picking. There are too many similarities to today’s America, as manifested in America’s Democrat and Republican shenanigans, to ignore the Weimar example. Among them:

  • Adoption of rule-by-executive-order and emergency decrees in response to gridlock the government itself had created. This diluted and negated laws in order to function more like a dictatorship;
  • Nazis and Communists at extreme opposites and unable to work together on any governmental issues, yet steadfastly together against democracy;
  • Nazis as buffoonish actors aligned with rural middle class, in open opposition to metropolitan Communist unionized workers;
  • Ruling elites grossly underestimated the Nazi force to whom they had given power. Nazis stripped back the rule of law and manipulated economics. In response, the elites worked to make “useful idiots” of the Nazis;
  • Manipulated and enlisted religious organizations to create a “moral revival” for political purposes. This fed an ability to spin-up discrimination and racism at will, without outwardly saying anything;
  • Preyed on peoples’ simpleness by telling and reinforcing the biggest lies possible (irrationality works best, per Hitler). They knew the lies would have a residual “stickiness”;
  • A cunning relentlessness among party leaders, leaving people to search for the lesser of evils, at the cost of morale.
Professor Hett’s Summary Remarks

Hett said the most concerning tactic used in the Weimar instance, the one that could affect the total failure of American democracy, was the weaponization of untruths and associated irrationality. Second most troubling was elitist use of Nazis as “useful idiots” to control the population. Also, he cited a meaningful positive difference between the US and the Nazis: that the US military does not have the level of cultural capital and perception as did Germany’s. More is available in Hett’s book, The Death of Democracy.

The Conundrum of Salvaging American Democracy

As a piece of established history, there is nothing new or hyperbolic here. But we display powerful resistance, many closed minds, and other ways to explain it away or discount. Mostly this is people in power or their legions hoping to get there.

Feel free to call this another in the continuous spew of worry and attempts to make a positive difference in the plight of the USA. Sadly, no substantial corrective steps have yet been taken, those that actually help common people. So, you too can throw your hat in – we are allowed for now.

A lust for power is not inherently bad, but a lack of will to fairly share in America’s bounty is evil. Establishment politicians cannot define fairness (or preserve democracy) as doling out remnants after taking out the most they wantonly can.

The next part might address the need for selfless informed leaders to have that necessary power; they are out there somewhere.