The Twilight of Our Democracy?

Washington DC, Jan 6, 2021

Whatever the revelations of the January 6 Committee hearings, including Trump’s obvious coup attempt, this humble spirit is once again struck by the terrible anger harbored by Trump’s MAGA minions, how furious they are, how wronged they sincerely believe themselves to be.  It appears that much of their anger and resentment is driven by fear that an increasingly multi-cultural, multi-racial society is leaving them behind.  Sadly, these people no longer feel at home in their own country—and they want it back!  Do they really hate “liberal elites” and the “radical left” enough to kill them?  We know they feel their values and culture are under assault, but does that justify executions?  For some of them I fear the answer is overwhelmingly yes.  And it’s pointless to tell them they’re wrong, that their anger and resentment are misplaced; if that’s how they truly feel, the rest of us need to take a good hard look at what brought our country to this point. 

Unfortunately, MAGAs have come to view America’s educated professional class, who constitute a substantial portion of the “elites,” as adversaries leaving them behind in a new globalized, information-based economy. Thanks to globalization, automation, and technology, many of them are struggling to maintain a “middle class” existence.  And this new economy’s losers are falling further and further behind, with no hope of catching up.  They are bitter and angry, and once again it’s pointless to tell them they have no right to feel that way. The increasing divide between globalization’s winners and losers helps fuel the already alarming income inequality in our society, what is very possibly the biggest problem we have—and the greatest contributor to our polarization into two warring tribes.

MAGAs Hate Democracy Because They Think it’s Failed them, or Worse, is Their Mortal Enemy.

Many of these people question whether our supposedly democratic government works for them and scoff at the idea that our Capitol is the “temple of democracy” rather than a corrupt den of lobbyists. And right now the Democrats, including the Biden Administration, have allowed our democratically elected government to appear an unmanageable mess that can’t get anything done.  When government is dysfunctional, democracy looks like a farce, a waste of time. We hear phrases like the “legislative process” and “how the sausage is made,” but at the end of the day there better be some sausage or you’re going to have some very unhappy citizenry.

And I’m still amazed at the MAGA’s total lack of regard for their fellow Americans who voted for Joe Biden, never mind constituents of Democratic lawmakers like Speaker Pelosi and AOC, both of whom they would have happily killed.  It always comes back to why MAGAs think they are the “real Americans” who have the right to take over the Capitol.  Our country’s ruling class—call them the “elites,” the wealthy, the top 10%, meritocracy’s winners in a globalized world, you name it—can’t keep getting richer while the majority gets poorer. The pie can’t keep getting smaller while economic inequality increases.  Talk about a formula for revolution!  It should be clear that happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th is just a preview of the ticking time bomb created by our country’s ever-growing social and economic inequality.

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