Getting Rid Of Evil Isn’t Easy But Now Is Vital To Our Democracy. And Perhaps To World Survival?

By Donald A. Collins | 13 March 2022
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

Events unfolding in Ukraine and in America were brought sharply to focus by a profoundly important March 7th article entitled “How to Keep the Rising Tide of Fake News From Drowning Our Democracy” by Richard L. Hasen which I read in the Sunday March 13th NY Times and which I strongly recommend you read in full here.

Its essence depicts the overtaking of reliable media coverage by the proliferation of “fake news” as the result of the facilitation of cheaply funded (and profitable) false news outlets.

Simultaneously, as these outlets proliferated, many media sites including newspapers, especially local hometown ones, were vanishing. These arbiters of balanced truth who often unmasked lies at their source, were not there or able to stem the attacks on the credibility of our core democratic (small “d”) institutions, an action spearheaded by Donald Trump as he became President and even before he won in 2016.

As Hasen tells us:

According to reporting in The Times, President Donald Trump took to Twitter more than 400 times in the almost three weeks after Nov. 3, 2020, to attack the legitimacy of the election, often making false claims that it had been stolen or rigged to millions and millions of people. In an earlier era, the three major television networks, The Times and local newspaper and television stations would most likely have been more active in mediating and curtailing the rhetoric of a president spewing dangerous nonsense. Over at Facebook, in the days after the 2020 election, politically oriented “groups” became rife with stolen-election talk and plans to “stop the steal.” Cheap speech lowered the costs for like-minded conspiracy theorists to find one another, to convert people to believing the false claims and to organize for dangerous political action at the U.S. Capitol.

A democracy cannot function without “losers’ consent,” the idea that those on the wrong side of an election face disappointment but agree that there was a fair vote count. Those who believe the last election was stolen will have fewer compunctions about attempting to steal the next one. They are more likely to threaten election officials, triggering an exodus of competent election officials. They are more likely to see the current government as illegitimate and to refuse to follow government guidance on public health, the environment and other issues crucial to health and safety. They are comparatively likely to see violence as a means of resolving political grievances.

Any legislation curbing free speech can be difficult to mount as unscrupulous types like Trump see how successful the use of fake news and unremitting lying can be as a route to authoritarian political power.

Will the unholy Putin war on Ukraine and the close ties exhibited on numerous occasions to underline Trump’s close affinity to Putin derail Trump’s evil path to re-election or the defeat of his numerous elected or to be elected anti-democratic (again small “d”) Trumpians?

Putin’s war has brought a measure of cooperation from the GOP some of whose members must now be coming to realize the enormity of what Trump has precipitated.

Often it is postulated that the most significant enduring Presidential legacy are his (can we hope for a female President?) Supreme Court appointments.

The present SC’s likely disregard for Stare decisis over Roe and the proven biased politicking of Justice Thomas coupled with the ideological orientation of his right-wing colleagues bodes an uncertain future for an institution that historically, despite horrific laps such the 1857 Dred Scott decision and the 1895 Plessy vs Ferguson “separate but equal” decision, has kept the majority of Americans keeping overall faith in the SC’s delivering of justice.

But no human institution is perfect, so the value of trust in our primary institutions stands as a prime enabler for the endurance of our fragile democracy.

The legacy of the theft of one of our major parties can certainly be restored but only if its leadership can replace such Trump accommodationists like Ted Cruz, Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, or the Governors of Florida and Texas, as unlikely as that is to happen.

Thus, as my latest book entitled “Vote—Your grandchildren’s lives and your country will be defined by (if) you vote in the 2022 midterms and in the 2024 presidential race” spells out the only recourse for voters of both parties is to administer a drubbing to these purveyors of racism, hate and misinformation which can restore the GOP from the political purgatory into which it has fallen.

As Putin’s dangerous war escalates, full, careful US bi-partisan coordination becomes urgent and vital. The late Senator Vandenberg’s long-standing admonition that disputes over foreign policy should stop at the water’s edge have been long unobserved to our detriment as you can read here.

Our democracy urgently needs to get back on track!

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?: Leaders Commit to Reduce Human Population” and “Vote”.

Trump and Putin (1/2) | DW Documentary

Trump and Putin (2/2) | DW Documentary

How Trump took over America’s courts

Why Putin’s military strategy in Ukraine has not gone according to plan

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