Our Rhythm of Democracy

Is Not New

For a relatively young country, we’ve had at least our share of strife.

In the late 1700s we had a lot of conflict first with the British and then ourselves. In the early 1800s we had a shaky period under President Andrew Jackson that led to a genuine civil war between North and South.

We then had a rough stretch with the industrial revolution and robber barons. The first world war took an unfathomable toll, and the relative peace and prosperity that followed quickly gave way to the Great Depression. Which after a decade of suffering ushered in World War II.

Since then, we’ve been riven by internal conflicts, interspersed by overseas battles (Vietnam, terrorism) that one side or the other suspected of being more about domestic politics than war and peace.

Aren’t you beginning to sense a rhythm of sorts?

Our democratic system and society was never planned — or even expected — to be either smooth or static. The Framers gave the world a nation in which its people would determine its fate. It always was going to be a roller coaster – the push of ideals against the pull of tradition, the emboldened against the entrenched — mixing excitement and opportunity with change, fear and joy.

If we did not experience periods of craziness like today, we would likely not appreciate and enjoy the smoother periods in the normal rhythms of democracy.

This is NOT an excuse for Trumpism in any of its forms. They are miserable, and justifiably condemned. But those moments inevitably come with the democracy we treasure and, measured against previous divisive moments in our young history, I suspect they will dissipate pretty quickly, if only into the woodwork to lie in wait for another day and another despot.

If we look at our democracy this way, we are less likely to ‘give up’ and move to Canada.

And, we are more likely to be looking for the next swing of the process that inevitably will restore our confidence in our fantastic democracy!

If we can beat the tendency to despair!


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