Saturday, March 04, 2017

Short history of the decline and fall of American democracy


I switched on Twitter for 15 minutes at 7:00 a.m. this morning and felt I was watching democracy die before my eyes as a fascist and possibly traitorous president threatened to prosecute Obama.

That led me to a flash review of our decline and fall as the narrative has taken shape in my mind in recent years:
  • The Kochs plotted long and hard, building their network of extremist think tanks, fake news sources, astroturf advocacy groups and corporate lobbying groups.

  • Reagan ripped the lid off inequality and disinherited the middle class with a cocktail of tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, weakened antitrust enforcement and union-bashing.

  • Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes prepped 30-40% of the population for fascism with twenty years of progressively more extreme gaslighting.

  • Newt Gingrich began the destruction of our governing norms with his playbook for the politics of defamation and demonization and assault on the research resources of Congress.

  • George W. Bush and his henchman-in-chief Cheney prepped the country to reject the core values of liberal democracy by instituting a program of systematic, officially sanctioned torture -- and terrorized the population by metastasizing the terrorist threat with their invasion of Iraq.

  • John Roberts and a cohort of Bush I/Bush II/Reagan Supreme Court appointees opened the floodgates of oligarchy with Citizens United and greenlighted massive voter suppression in Shelby v. Holder.

  • Mitch McConnell and his lockstep legions destroyed bipartisan, fact-based legislating -- by design -- and raised partisan disinformation to an art form.

  • A clown car crammed with corrupt demagogues running for president humored, flattered and ultimately fell in behind a lifelong fraudster promising fascist regeneration through purge of demonized minorities and protectionist nostrums.

  • Our antiquated Constitution pushed us past the tipping point that creeping oligarchy and progressive gaslighting had brought us close to, handing power to the popular vote loser.
So here we are, sewn tight in a bag with the worst of the worst in charge and a corrupt crew of fellow travellers enabling assaults on targeted minorities, the media, courts and protesters in the name of massive tax cuts for the rich, cuts in social spending, across-the-board deregulation and despoilment of the environment. Can we claw our way out? We'll know soon enough.

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