Opinion: Democracy under threat in the United States

By George Geczy, Taos County
Posted 5/9/19

Our world order, built on collective security, where the United States was the keystone for peace and prosperity, is now coming apart. Our reputation on the international scene is being diminished, …

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Opinion: Democracy under threat in the United States

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Our world order, built on collective security, where the United States was the keystone for peace and prosperity, is now coming apart. Our reputation on the international scene is being diminished, as our allies are getting as bewildered as we are by the unprecedented conduct of the president. On the domestic scene, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan created a strange mix of patriotic, political deadlock and a much-divided country.

Our country has morphed out of normalcy into a new reality that we have to recognize. China has "awakened" and Russia has also reinvented itself into a cyber nation state, creating a new threat environment, one that we have been trying to understand for the last two years. Domestically, we now live in an Amazon and not Sears, Roebuck catalogue world, a world where the "1 percent" is cleverly managing a "Chinese labor there, cash registers here" economy, as Rust Belt left-behinds get more drug riddled, and Amazon gets billions in tax refunds. Our Congress lost its mojo and can no longer accept compromise and build consensus to resolve a myriad of burning issues that simply just should not wait.

The media, taking advantage of the digital environment, is in full command of the political scene where the general public now is overwhelmingly under the influence of competing MSNBC, CNN and FOX "bubbles." The 24/7 spinning of the two-party system into two, rock-solid, inflexible, hostile camps has created the congressional deadlock and brought about the fixation on "presidential elections" as a last resort of hope for political change to resolve our long-festering problems. Trump is both an example and master of this phenomenon, a media-produced, tragic, reality-TV winner whose legitimacy needed to be reviewed soon upon arrival by the best of legal minds for two years.

The much-awaited Mueller report not only did not meet expectations but received a serious blow by Attorney General William Barr, literally sweeping it under the rug. The Democratic congressional committees are similarly going to be rendered more and more ineffective by a stonewalling president and his unyielding Republican support. One wonders when and where the separation of powers legacy of the Founding Fathers will kick in and harness the runaway executive putting democracy in peril.

Projections for 2020 and beyond are not good. It appears now that 2016 was a dress rehearsal for 2020 - another Russian interference, compromised election and the reelection of the current incumbent. The Democrats, much divided, have too many candidates, each trying to find a niche among the long-festering problems but most likely will be shot out of the saddle by the media-vetting process and Trump's tweets. Possibly, the emerging cyber-threat environment and a chief executive that has gone off the rails will serve as a wake-up call that Americans could unite over.

George Geczy lives in Taos County.

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