How To Mend A Broken Nation

There are two distinct socio-political ideologies in the United States:  liberals & conservatives.  Now, most of us are not completely one or the other but lean toward one more strongly than the other.  Of late, however, it seems sometimes as if the two sides are so divided that they live in two separate universes.  There simply is no connection, no common ground, no set of values that binds us together.

Robert Reich’s weekly column/newsletter this morning rather supports this notion … I’m glad I’m not the only one who wonders what alternate universe we’ve been dropped into!  Reich also has some common-sense ideas for how to help the two sides come closer together before we destroy ourselves and how to break the Trump-trance.

Trump left behind a monstrous predicament. Here’s how to tackle it

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

One of the nation’s two major political parties has abandoned democracy and reality. We must now move a vast swath of America back into a fact-based pro-democracy society

Next week’s Senate trial is unlikely to convict Donald Trump of inciting sedition against the United States. At least 17 Republican Senators are needed for conviction, but only five have signaled they’ll go along.

Why won’t Republican Senators convict him? After all, it’s an open and shut case. As summarized in the brief submitted by House impeachment managers, Trump spent months before the election telling his followers that the only way he could lose was through “a dangerous, wide-ranging conspiracy against them that threatened America itself.”

Immediately after the election, he lied that he had won by a “landslide”, and later urged his followers to stop the counting of electoral ballots by making plans to “fight like hell” and “fight to the death” against this “act of war” perpetrated by “Radical Left Democrats” and the “weak and ineffective RINO section of the Republican Party”.

If this isn’t an impeachable offense, it’s hard to imagine what is. But Republican Senators won’t convict him because they’re answerable to Republican voters, and Republican voters continue to believe Trump’s Big Lie.

A shocking three out of four Republican voters don’t think Joe Biden won legitimately. About 45% even support the storming of the Capitol.

The crux of the problem is Americans now occupy two separate worlds – a fact-based pro-democracy world and a Trump-based authoritarian one.

Trump spent the last four years seducing voters into his world, turning the GOP from a political party into a grotesque projection of his pathological narcissism.

Regardless of whether he is convicted, America must now deal with the monstrous predicament he left behind: one of the nation’s two major political parties has abandoned reality and democracy.

What to do? Four things.

First, prevent Trump from running for President in 2024. The mere possibility energizes his followers.

An impeachment conviction is not the only way to prevent him. Under Section Three of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, anyone who has taken an oath to protect the Constitution is barred from holding public office if they “have engaged in insurrection” against the United States. As Constitutional expert and former Yale Law professor Bruce Ackerman has noted, a majority vote that Trump engaged in insurrection against the United States is sufficient to trigger this clause.

Second, give Republicans and independents every incentive to abandon the Trump cult.

White working-class voters without college degrees who now comprise a large portion of its base need good jobs and better futures. Many are understandably angry after being left behind in vast enclaves of unemployment and despair. They should not have to depend on Trump’s fact-free fanaticism in order to feel visible and respected.

A jobs program on the scale necessary to bring many of them around will be expensive but worth the cost, especially when democracy hangs in the balance.

Big business, which used to have a home in the GOP, will need a third party. Democrats should not try to court them; the Democratic Party should aim to represent the interests of the bottom 90%.

Third, disempower the giant media empires that amplified Trump’s lies for four years – Facebook, Twitter and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and its imitators.

The goal is not to “cancel” the political right, but to refocus public deliberation on facts, truth, and logic. Democracy cannot thrive where big lies are systematically and repeatedly exploited for commercial gain.

The solution is antitrust enforcement and stricter regulation of social media, accompanied by countervailing financial pressure. Consumers should boycott products advertised on these lie factories and advertisers should shun them. Large tech platforms should lose legal immunity for violence-inciting content. Broadcasters such as Fox News and Newsmax should be liable for knowingly spreading lies (they are now being sued by producers of voting machinery and software which they accused of having been rigged for Biden).

Fourth, safeguard the democratic form of government.

This requires barring corporations and the very wealthy from buying off politicians, ending so-called “dark money” political groups that don’t disclose their donors, defending the right to vote, and ensuring more citizens are heard, not fewer.

Let’s be clear about the challenge ahead. The major goal is not to convict Trump for inciting insurrection. It is to move a vast swath of America back into a fact-based pro-democracy society and away from the Trump-based authoritarian one.

Regardless of whether he is convicted, the end of Trump’s presidency has given the nation a reprieve. But unless America uses it to end Trumpism’s hold over tens of millions of Americans, that reprieve may be temporary.

Thankfully, Joe Biden appears to understand this.

16 thoughts on “How To Mend A Broken Nation

    • I wondered if anybody would connect the title to the Bee Gees song, and you didn’t disappoint me! An oldie but goodie … I wonder if I’ve included that one in my music posts yet … I’ll have to check! Thanks, Michael! Cheers and hugs back to you!

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  1. I tried, Lord knows I tried to avoid using comparisons between Hitler and Trump for two reasons:
    1. It is inflammatory and by its use you can devalue your own argument.
    2. Hitler had a vision, a warped twisted evil vision and knew how to bring the vast swathe of a nation under his spell, Trump only cared for praise and perks and did not have a clue how to run his own car. Trump didn’t come close to the operating capacity of a Hitler…for which we can all be thankful.
    THAT said, there are parallels between the twisted visionary and the spoiled brat.
    One of these is that those with the big money and the media who assisted in their rise thought once ‘their boy’ was ‘in’ he would be theirs to control. Not realising in Hitler’s case he could set up a fearfully efficient state within a state (SS, Gestapo & SD- security troops) who would ensure everyone stayed in line. Not realising what a complete class idiot, and brat with no clue Trump was, but that his Mob wanted their toy in place and would not behave.
    And this is the problem That Money and That Media have, The Mob is out and howling and are not willing to get back in their cages.

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    • You make a compelling argument for minimizing the comparisons between Hitler and Trump, for other than an authoritarian tendency and extreme lack of conscience (cruelty, evil, call it what you will), the comparison does fall short and can devalue the argument. On the other hand, you also make some excellent points of comparison. No, Trump hadn’t the intellect of Hitler, but he has the same authoritarian tendencies. But, where Hitler had a vision, no matter how evil, Trump had none, but was concerned only with his own fortunes. There is no comparison, and yet … there is. Evil. Cruel.

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  2. Jill, good piece. I saw on The View that Van Jones and Meghan McCain have joined forces to do a documentary on the same topic. It looks interesting. I think we must start by focusing on the truth tellers for their courage and spotlighting the conspiracy parrots for their inanity. And, we need to focus more on the issues that affect all of us, in a less adversary way – the pandemic recovery, jobs, healthcare, civil discourse, civil rights, climate change prevention and reversal investment, etc. Keith

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    • That should be an interesting documentary … I like and respect Van Jones. I think you’re right … we must keep pushing facts and truth … perhaps eventually people will learn to understand the difference between truth and lies. There are many top priority issues to be dealt with in the next four years … more than at any other time I can remember.


      • Jill, just before coming here, I read the defense of you know who will be the ‘derangement syndrome” that we all have. You see, the former president is really not a prolific liar, bully or corrupt person, we all just do not like him. This is a toddler’s explanation to a mother. Keith

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