CSotD: Notes from a Crumbling Democracy

Tom Tomorrow lays out the State of the Union, and it’s good that he goes into such detail, because a large number of cartoonists are either going into end-of-the-year round-up holiday mode or else pointing out that tornadoes are sad, leaving a reduced number of watchdogs at the gates.

The destruction in Kentucky is indeed unfortunate, but we’d be better off if that were our only current disaster. In fact, we could take a lesson from survivors who note that they can rebuild their houses but consider themselves lucky to be alive.

Tornadoes tend to force people to focus on priorities, while political crises seem more hypothetical and prone to dismissal.

It should, however, be clear that the nationwide swath of destruction we face threatens to destroy things we may not be able to rebuild and replace.


Paul Fell makes a bitter joke of our current reality, and it’s the type of joke that isn’t intended to make you laugh.

Of course, the claim has its limits. There are hundreds of people being charged in connection with the insurrection, and jail sentences are being handed out.

But, so far, it’s reminiscent of the American Revolution, in which POWs who were enlisted men were confined to rotting, aged, out-of-service ships serving as prisons, while captured officers were not only released on parole but often invited to elegant parties by their captors.

It’s easier to try and convict someone caught on tape smashing windows at the Capitol than it is to prove that they were following the commands of administration officials, although it is not illogical to expect that, as the evidence is gathered and as more specific details emerge, we will see those higher-ups also held accountable.

But it’s certainly impractical to sit back and watch, assuming that justice will triumph.

And it is foolish in the extreme to assume that, if there are trials, and guilty verdicts, and sentences are handed out, that the country will awaken, shake the cobwebs from its eyes and accept the outcome.


To return to the American Revolution, we were taught in school that only about a third of the colonists were involved on either side, that the rest continued to tend their crops and go about their business. And Bill Bramhall notes that we’ve got plenty of people who will lay back in their Barcaloungers and sleep through this crisis.

Thus was it ever, and the key to changing things is to nibble at the edges of that mass of lumpenproletariat and see how many you can awaken, if only for the next election.


As Kal Kallaugher points out, that has been the mission of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, and, like demagogues throughout history, they succeed not with appeals to logic and social consciousness but by ginning up fear and resentment.

That has always been a heady and successful approach, not simply when arrogant French nobility was crushing peasants under their carriages, and not just in the economic chaos of the Weimer Republic, but even when it took considerable skill to make people feel they were being picked on and exploited.

The people charging through the Capitol shouting to hang the vice-president were not impoverished peasants but reasonably comfortable. If an equal effort had been made to assure them that they lived in the best of all possible worlds, they’d have been proclaiming their loyalty to the government instead of seeking to overturn it.

But ratcheting up jealousy and a sense of persecution is easier. It may not produce a responsible, governable citizenry, it’s a surefire way to summon the mob.

You don’t need to study either the Third Reich or the French Revolution to figure this out. You can get it by watching “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” as long as you recognize that Dennis, the intellectually sophisticated member of an anarcho-syndicalist commune, is presented as a joke, while the more realistically portrayed people in the kingdom are those witless, easily led, mud-spattered morons intent on burning a witch.

This doesn’t offer much of a key to preserving the American Dream, unless you bear in mind that the muscle behind the Civil Rights Movement was a fully justified sense of persecution, while the Antiwar Movement of that era was energized by a sense that the government wanted to order you off to die in a distant rice paddy.

People are motivated by self-interest, when that self-interest is righteous, but also when it isn’t.


Steve Brodner has been chronicling lies and exploitation, with his latest piece this summary of the emails Mark Meadows has turned over to the Jan 6 Committee but now refuses to confirm.

Brodner’s on target, but he leaves open an important question: So what?

Being right only helps when you’re talking to Dennis, not when you’re in front of that witch-burning mob, and Dennis is already convinced.

The mob doesn’t respond to logical arguments, even ones in which it is absolutely shown that their leaders and heroes have been lying to them.

In part that’s because they’ll never see it except through a Rupert Murdoch filter in which it is explained away as libtard propaganda.

Once the mob is at the gates, it’s a little late to open a fresh dialogue with new sources.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Michael de Adder)


(Mark Murphy)

The futility of reason can be seen here, where de Adder has the Christ child question the values of the mob, while Murphy simply points them out.

In de Adder’s place, I might have said “these people” instead of “those people,” but it still comes down to pleasing Dennis without reaching the mob, despite the fact that the cartoon sums up the disconnect between Christian teaching and current practice.

Murphy is equally accurate, but more iconic in his approach, demanding that the reader confront the bizarre disconnect of heavily armed families worshipping the Prince of Peace.


Again, it’s a demand for logic, consistency and reason in a venue where they have never applied, not in the Crusades and not in more recent times.

I hope you didn’t read this far expecting an answer.

The only answer is to spread the word, and to stand by those who do likewise.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Notes from a Crumbling Democracy

  1. As this year draws to a close, I’m finding my hope for the future is that I die (I’m 71) before the county does.

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