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Is Democracy Really Threatened?

Now that the second Trump impeachment trial is beginning to unfold, my opinion-making liberal pundit friends will get another opportunity to remind us of how much we came within an inch of total, political collapse or even worse. And since Trump probably won’t get convicted, this leaves him free to continue his efforts to smash and destroy all the Constitutional protections that we hold dear.

Thanks God the mainstream media will still have Trump to kick around.

Think I’m being just a bit too sarcastic? Here’s the pre-impeachment judgement by Amy Davidson Sorkin in The New Yorker Magazine: “The Republican Party isn’t ready to walk away from the former President, but the senators know how close the country came to catastrophe.”

Exactly what ‘catastrophe’ is Amy talking about? Swiping the laptop from Nancy Pelosi’s office? Writing a loony note to Mike Pence and leaving it on the Vice President’s desk?

I’m not trying in any way to dismiss the degree of fear that many felt as we watched the gang of fools running up the Capitol steps. But according to Merriam-Webster, the word ‘catastrophe’ means a “momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow.”

Was January 6th a tragic event for the cops who got killed? Of course. But cops get killed in the line of duty all the time – it’s part of the job. On the other hand, the Capitol was so utterly destroyed that within 48 hours it looked like nothing had happened there at all. When Joe and Kamala took their oaths two weeks later, an event which the rioters on January 6th were doing their best to prevent, it was a beautiful, dignified ceremony without the slightest hint of anything having previously gone wrong.

I just received an email from a good friend, a woman my age who has been an advocate for all the right things her entire life. She has been disappointed in the tone of some of my columns because she says, “sometimes what you write sounds angry instead of constructive.”

My dear friend is absolutely correct. I sometimes do write out of anger, and it’s not by accident, it’s by design.

I spend several hours every day listening to and watching alt-right media and reading what they have to say. After all, I need to keep the enemy closer than my friends.

But I don’t get angry when someone on the other side says something that’s either stupid or simply untrue. I don’t expect anything more from them. The narratives promoted by the alt-right, MAGA bunch today are really no different from what I heard Barry Goldwater say in 1964. And the kids in my college dorm who were the most fervent and aggressive Goldwater champions were also for the most part stone, cold racists through and through.

On the other hand, I do expect more from my side. It goes without saying that I expect liberals to be honest, thoughtful, and polite. I also expect liberals to be somewhat humble because the world is an extremely complicated place, and nobody necessarily knows how to explain everything that goes on.

Finally, I really wish that youngsters like Amy Davidson Sorkin would stop pretending that they have a monopoly on what should be thought and what should not be thought. And if Amy thinks that I’m impressed by the fact that she went to Hunter College High School, my grandson is now the fourth generation of my family to attend Hunter – big deal.

Maybe what we need at elite educational institutions like Harvard is a course called Humility 101. It would be a required curriculum for anyone who is thinking about a public editorialist career. And perhaps what the course would focus on is the idea that what anyone thinks or believes may be important to them but might be utterly meaningless to everyone else.

Or as the Buddha would say, “When respected, be mindful of humility.”

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