Our democracy is in authentic difficulty.
And I’m not even chatting about some of the normal things I focus on, like major and dark cash in our politics, or like gerrymandering or like financial inequality.
Teddy Roosevelt said 100 years in the past, “We can not have authentic political democracy except we have a little something approaching economic democracy.” But we’re not approaching economic democracy. We’re heading in the reverse way.
All those problems are serious, and they’re corroding the foundation of our democracy.
But there’s one thing new and even much more imminently hazardous that I want to discuss to you currently about.
And that is authoritarianism, even fascism.
We have closely armed males traveling Accomplice flags in our streets and in our Capitol, even Nazi flags, as we saw in Charlottesville.
We haven’t seen this open up assist for authoritarianism considering that 1000’s gathered in Madison Sq. Back garden in 1939.
And by no means in my 63 many years has this place been in a lot more peril, other than potentially for the 13 times of the Cuban Missile Disaster.
So which is what is at stake for us now. We cannot lessen it. This is extra-standard, added severe.
All it took was 1 demagogue, whose picture will be in the DSM 6 beneath “narcissistic identity problem,” to expose how fragile our democracy is, as we saw on Jan. 6.
And quite a few men and women will have to reply for it, not just Donald Trump.
Newt Gingrich will have to respond to for inaugurating the period of no-holds barred partisanship.
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Former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will have to remedy for paving the way for Trump, as Dan Kaufman wrote in the New York Times this 7 days. And I recall remaining warned about this during the campaign to recall Walker. I was having a drink with Dave Zweifel, the good aged editor of the Cap Periods, and Ed Garvey, the legendary labor attorney, and they have been stating if we don’t knock out Walker now that he’s down, we’ll pay for it not only right here, but all around the country, since it will give a environmentally friendly light to rightwing forces everywhere. And seem what occurred.
Then there are all of Donald Trump’s enablers, specifically all those who know superior, this kind of as Ted Cruz and Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell.
What we noticed on Jan. 6 is unheard of: A violent riot to interfere with the lawful and tranquil transition of electrical power, and a lynch mob aimed at killing the Vice President and the Speaker of the Home.
Naively, and I’m not quite naïve, I considered that this act of treason, this outdated-fashioned coup attempt, would split the Trump fever.
But it broke for what? 12 hours.
And it is come roaring again ever considering that.
So considerably so that a greater part of Republicans even now assert that Trump won the election and that it was stolen from him.
And now Republican elected officials, even those who know far better like Robin Vos, are feeding their base a lot more of this rancid pink meat not only by accomplishing just one bogus investigation just after one more but also by making an attempt to pass anti-voter bills to suppress the vote.
Fundamental these clear and troubling info lie several insidious forces: white nationalism, racism, irrationalism and the rightwing media that fuels them.
That we now have armed groups in our place that are marching in our streets with their Accomplice flags and Nazi insignias is astonishing in and of by itself. My father, who fought against the Nazis in Europe, is rolling in his grave. Thankfully, he did not are living long adequate to see this. These teams detest Blacks and Jews and democracy, and make no bones about it.
Then there is the residence and backyard garden assortment racism that several white People exhibit, and the feeling of white grievance that is aloft in the land. America’s original sin might do us all in but. Way too a lot of are susceptible to the appeals of any demagogue who will come alongside and performs on these very low sentiments.
Strikingly, there’s also the rise of irrationalism in The usa. I give you Q-Anon. Tens of millions of persons are believing the craziest points, and they’re happy of it. Not just that the election was stolen. Not just that Trump will be president in August. But blood libels that are straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
And of system there’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, who explained that Jews with my family’s last identify sent lasers from space to start off wildfires in California.
Nearer to residence, there’s Robin Vos’s Wacko Caucus, with people today like Janel Brandtjen, head of the Assembly Committee on Strategies and Elections, who wrote her constituents asserting that Donald Trump actually won the election. She even went to Arizona to see about bamboo in the ballots.
My good friends, we’re no for a longer period residing the Age of Enlightenment. This isn’t the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. It’s not the dusk of the Age of Enlightenment. It is midnight for the Age of Enlightenment, as all kinds of prejudices and superstitions and tribalism are working rampant.
Last of all, there’s the challenge of our siloed media. Several of these people on the right seem to be to be on a 24/7 IV drip from Fox Information, Newsmax, the A person The us News Community and rightwing communicate radio. And the social media algorithms enable folks only to hear the news and viewpoints that reinforce the ridiculous sights that they currently hold.
So that is the difficulty we’re in.
How do we get out of it?
First, we have to have to make certain our personal individuals are mindful of the menace, and that they mobilize towards it nonviolently, at the polls, in the streets and in the local community.
Next, we want to lend moral support to individuals Republican leaders who bravely have stood up to Trump and Trumpism. I hardly ever believed I’d say, “Thank God for a Cheney,” but thank God for Liz Cheney. She’s risked her power and her total political career to stand up in opposition to Trump and his assault on democracy. This is a actual profile in braveness. And I think her when she suggests she’ll do anything at all in her electrical power to preserve Donald Trump from ever getting everywhere in close proximity to the Oval Business office once again. I hope that incorporates her operating for President as an Unbiased.
And there are many others. Thank God for Mitt Romney, who stood up to Trump whilst he was president, and urged him to concede immediately after Nov. 3, and built a excellent speech on the evening Jan. 6. And thank God for Adam Kinzinger down in Illinois, and the other legislators who voted to impeach Trump.
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Below in Wisconsin, I’m grateful for previous Republican Congressmen Reid Ribble and Tom Petri and former majority chief of the condition Senate, Dale Schultz. In fact, the healthiest thing we may be equipped to do for our state is send out people three males on a speaking tour of rural Wisconsin and the WOW counties all over Milwaukee to test to talk some sense into their fellow Republicans. Because this is a sickness inside the Republican spouse and children, and they would have a great deal a lot more impact around customers of that loved ones than I do.
Third, we will need to interact in discussion with Independents and Republicans who are not traveling Confederate flags or Nazi flags. You know that fundamentally fifty percent of the people today of Wisconsin voted for Trump, and I’m not geared up to compose them all out of the e book of daily life. They are not all evil persons, and we have received to acknowledge that. And if 53% of Republicans imagine the election was stolen, that sill means that there is a massive chunk that understands that basically it wasn’t stolen. And there are tons of Independents out there, also. It’s value speaking to them, and much more importantly, listening to them. We’re not going to influence any one by calling them names or yelling at them.
The essence of politics is acquiring your individuals out and convincing a portion of individuals who do not however concur with you that your way is the most effective way to go. And to influence anyone of something you 1st need to build a romantic relationship with them. To do that, we want to pay attention to where they are at, and test to hook up with them on some shared values we have.
This is what Kathleen Vinehout and her partner, Doug Kane, have been talking about just lately. And when I do not agree with Doug that gerrymandering isn’t a really serious problem, I unquestionably agree with him about the need to have to convince men and women who are not already on our facet. Which is critical.
There is a excellent reserve out called The Way Out: How to Conquer Poisonous Polarization, by professor Peter Coleman, who was interviewed by Eric Schubring on WOJB this week. Coleman claims come across a few people today who do not agree with you politically but you know are not evil persons, and just consider to see exactly where they’re coming from, discover some typical floor, irrespective of whether it is sports activities or exercising or cards or church or synagogue or e-book club or the PTA, or whatever, and around time, test to bring them close to – not dismissing them, or demanding that they examine the newest article in The Country or The Progressive but by major with shared values about the sort of neighborhood and place you each imagine in. I have bought three I’m performing on.
And really don’t speak in categoricals, like “All Republicans are outrageous.” Or, “All Republicans are in a cult.” Or, “Anyone who voted for Trump is a horrible person.” These statements are bogus, for one detail. And for yet another, this sort of an attitude breeds poor politics.
We will need to check out to get individuals about, not drive them ever additional securely into their own camp.
And at last, when progressives and Democrats maintain electricity, they require to supply the products. Bernie’s been expressing this about and over once again, and he’s ideal.
And I’ve been incredibly pleasantly astonished with President Joe Biden’s overall performance so considerably, especially on domestic issues.
He’s accomplished a wonderful position with COVID, and he’s been much bolder on the financial system than I believed he would be.
Individuals want to see that democracy works for them, and that authorities can be a power for superior.
In any other case, they’ll preserve trashing it, and they’ll seem to Trump or the following demagogue soon after him, and then all bets are off.
So yes, we have got our function cut out for us. But we have a small time, however we’ve received no time to squander.
It is up to us, who think in democracy, to protect it now in it’s hour of need to have.
As Fighting Bob La Follette deliver 100 decades in the past, “The cure for the ills of democracy is much more democracy.”
We desperately will need much more democracy in Wisconsin suitable now.
And we desperately require extra democracy in this place proper now.
So let’s consider the get rid of, and let’s preserve democracy!