Just as humanity’s spread across the globe is disrupting the environment (pollution, toxins, plastics and (probably) greenhouse gas-induced climate change), the twin black swan events of of Trump and COVID are disrupting American democracy. We’re pretty unstable after 2016-2020, as evidenced by some of the headlines from today:
- From the Tennesseean: Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach to minors — not just for COVID-19
- From The Atlantic: There’s a Word for What Trumpism Is Becoming
- From CNN: Politics is causing needless deaths in the fight against Covid-19, and Biden: We Are Facing the Most Significant Tests to Our Democracy Since the Civil War
- From Redstate: Texas Republicans Say Enough and Officially Vote to Arrest Fleeing Democrats
And I could go on and on. The news is full of things that would have been considered crazy just 3-4 years ago. The two-party system is breaking down – two parties can’t govern when they each think the other is evil or crazy or both. Our elected representatives aren’t governing for the good of the people, they’re fighting each other in what they consider a holy war. Politics is the new American religion. The Constitution’s First Amendment clause declaring that church and state must be kept separate has been subverted not by declaring a national religion, but by political parties becoming religions. It’s insidious, and it’s tearing the nation apart.
It’s clear to me what has happened, but it’s not clear at all how to fix it. The national rift over slavery, the definition of a person and an American and yes, voting rights, drove us to a violent solution called the Civil War. Surely we are intelligent enough to avoid this a second time.