Sunday, November 11, 2007

Democracy Is Over?

Fr. Frank outdoes himself in his Sunday sermon today. He mentions a new poll that shows that 24 percent of Americans think the country is "on the right track," a ten-year low and that folks hate the Democratic Congress as much as the Bushian exec. But the heart of the piece is a running comparison between the Presidents of the U.S. and of Pakistan as parallel tyrants. Which leads to this:
In the six years of compromising our principles since 9/11, our democracy has so steadily been defined down that it now can resemble the supposedly aspiring democracies we’ve propped up in places like Islamabad. Time has taken its toll. We’ve become inured to democracy-lite. That’s why a Mukasey can be elevated to power with bipartisan support and we barely shrug.

This is a signal difference from the Vietnam era, and not necessarily for the better. During that unpopular war, disaffected Americans took to the streets and sometimes broke laws in an angry assault on American governmental institutions. The Bush years have brought an even more effective assault on those institutions from within. While the public has not erupted in riots, the executive branch has subverted the rule of law in often secretive increments. The results amount to a quiet coup, ultimately more insidious than a blatant putsch like General Musharraf’s.
We had a coup d'etat! Yow! Oops - who knew?

Rich is right that representative democracy has ended at the federal level. Congress and the President can't even get up to 25 percent approval ratings, but, well, they don't really need our approval any more, do they?

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