Cultures and civilizations go through cycles.  Over time, many civilizations and cultures have risen and then fallen and when we study the past, we learn sometimes it was one person who changed things.  We in the United States of America live in exacerbating times with challenges of a lack of truth and transparency, lies, greed, trust and personal assignations all caused by demented individuals, one in particular and a bunch of weak cohorts who achieved power by donating money to his cause, lieing and cheating acceptable. 

Finally the pattern is clear, for some before he even rose to power, after winning a crooked election, we knew the game plan because we have seen it before with Adolf Hitler, Der Fuehrer, and our fat mouthed Italian asshole Benito Mussolini who certainly added flavor to T-RUMPS cause,  just as Basil is added to spaghetti sauce. 

Cultures and civilizations come and go and with them so do the core values that made them what they were and gave them strength.  For those of us who love our country and our culture, the pain of the negatives is real.  

The spirit of Nationalism and the twisted words of those who defy truth on any given day are upon us and we will eventually succumb.  The GOP base and the Evangelicals are example of  “ Nationalism”  as a theme of simple minded believers, not a government. 

A theme, a chant, an excuse but not a government.  It  is misleading and easily corrupted.  It appeals most to the ignorant, naive, simpletons who still have beliefs on the level of the tooth fairy.

Threats To Democracy… We Are In Danger  ( Protect Democracy.Org)
The growth and spread of democracies that defined the 20 th century peaked in the early days of the 21 st. Over the past decade, one in six democracies has failed. In countries around the world—places like Hungary, Poland, Turkey, and Venezuela—autocrats have slowly dismantled democratic systems, leaving governments that are for the most part democracies in name only. 

Larry Diamond, one of the world’s foremost scholars on democracy, says, “The death of democracy is now typically administered in a thousand cuts. In one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities, and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies, and the police.”

While the story of the United States has been one of constantly seeking to perfect an imperfect democracy, for most of our history we moved as a nation towards delivering democracy’s promise to more and more of our union. In recent years, however, this progress has stalled and reversed. The global autocratic threat has arrived on our shores and our democracy is facing challenges not seen in decades, perhaps longer. 

Recent years have been marked by deeply concerning presidential abuses of power, deliberate efforts by political leaders to stoke hatred, racism, and misogyny, and failures of our system of checks and balances that have sounded a powerful alarm that—if we are not careful—our democracy could suffer a similar fate. 

T-RUMP Is A Symptom, Not The Cause…
Donald Trump is not and never was the sole cause of America’s democratic crisis. His rise to power was a symptom of political forces that are eroding support for democracy at home and abroad. Long before Trump’s election, economic and demographic changes led to growing social divisions, and technology began to reshape how we communicate, helping us filter ourselves into separate ideological and demographic bubbles. 

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 53% of Americans believe that the country is not “able to overcome political divisions to solve problems.” Furthermore, 49% of all adults and 56% of Democrats believe that our democracy needs a “total overhaul” or “major changes.” Even before Trump’s presidency, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2016 Democracy Index downgraded the United States to a “flawed democracy,” citing further erosion of public trust in government and elected officials.

The weaknesses in our system of constitutional checks and balances pre-date the T-RUMP administration and will continue unless we take affirmative steps to reinforce our democracy. 

Checks And Balances Are A Metaphor, Not A Mechanism
It has become painfully clear that the long-standing guardrails that constrained past presidents from abusing executive power have turned out to be only as strong as the personal qualities and norms of the oval office occupant. As David Frum, a writer for The Atlantic, put it in his 2017 article “ How to Build an Autocracy“: 

“A president determined to thwart the law in order to protect himself and those in his circle has many means to do so.” What’s more, populist leaders and parties have “exploited legal and constitutional instruments [and] weaponized the law, turning it into a means of hollowing out democracy,” says Aziz Huq, a law professor focused on constitutional law and democracies.

Moving forward, the greatest threat to our democracy would be to wipe our hands of the problems that have been exposed in our system, leaving us vulnerable to Trump 2.0: the person watching all of this from the sidelines, recognizing that the American electorate is open to a strongman style of governance, but who is more capable than Trump and will rise in time to implement an autocratic model even more effectively. 

If we don’t take action, we risk further weakening our system of checks and balances and putting our democracy at risk of declining into a more autocratic form of government.   Protect Democracy.org  formed to prevent that decline from happening. We are committed to restoring our checks and balances and building a stronger, more inclusive democracy.

Meanwhile, in President Donald Trump’s Reality…

The Rise And Fall Of Governments
Sociologists and anthropologists have described the stages of the rise and fall of the world’s great civilizations. Ted Flynn’s, The Great Transformation is free available on line and is incredible. Its a bit deep, though great learning, good for the mind, take your time reading it.   There are eight steps in the process of change in civilization.  For brevity I have shortened examples here but I suggest you read it , it is very revealing.

STEP1:   FROM BONDAGE TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH  Great civilizations were formed  from suffering, Jews were in bondage for 400 years, the Christian faith and the Church were persecuted for 300 years. Western Christendom emerged from the Roman Empire and American culture was formed by the injustices that grew in colonial times.   
Resulting: The grand immigration to a new world...

STEP 2:  FROM SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO GREAT COURAGE  After the suffering,  courage and the ability to endure great sacrifice came forth.  Anointed leaders emerge, and people are summoned to rise and courage and sacrifice.  People who have little or nothing, also have little or nothing to lose.  A battle is begun, a battle requiring courage, discipline, and other virtues.  
A nation is born and develops...

STEP 3:  FROM COURAGE TO LIBERTY – As a result of the courageous fight, the foe is vanquished, liberty and greater justice emerges.  At this point a civilization comes forth, rooted in its greatest ideals.  Many who led the battle are still alive, and the legacy of those who are not is still fresh.  Heroism and the virtues that brought about liberty are still esteemed. The ideals that were struggled for during the years in the crucible are still largely agreed upon.  
The established establish justice, seeking a more perfect union, freedom for all...

STEP 4:  FROM LIBERTY TO ABUNDANCE – Liberty ushers in greater prosperity, because a civilization is still functioning with the virtues of sacrifice and hard work.  But then comes the first danger: abundance.  Things that are in too great an abundance tend to weigh us down and take on a life of their own.  At the same time, the struggles that engender wisdom and steel the soul to proper discipline and priorities move to the background.  Abundance and greed weighs down the souls of the citizens.  
Freedom allows those with great skill and foresight to drive the engines of development...

STEP 5:  FROM ABUNDANCE TO COMPLACENCY – To be complacent means to be self-satisfied and increasingly unaware of serious trends that undermine health and the ability to thrive.  Everything looks fine, so it must be fine. Yet foundations, resources, infrastructures, and necessary virtues are all crumbling.  
Success in a way breeds the complacency and the important issues are not as important any more and some issues new to the scene are invented like the Wall... instead of feeding and sheltering the hungry masses.

STEP 6:  FROM COMPLACENCY TO APATHY – The word apathy comes from the Greek and refers to a lack of interest in, or passion for, the things that once animated and inspired. Due to the complacency of the previous stage, the growing lack of attention to disturbing trends advances to outright dismissal.  

Many seldom think or care about the sacrifices of previous generations and lose a sense that they must work for and contribute to the common good. “Civilization” suffers the serious blow of being replaced by personalization and privatization in growing degrees.  They park on someone else’s dime but will not fill the parking meter themselves. Hard work and self-discipline continue to erode.  Relate to today, leaks tell us our President only works 40% of the time...
The old let the other guy do it, lets back away from what we believe and withdraw... false promises, lets build a wall.

STEP 7:  FROM APATHY TO DEPENDENCE  Increasing numbers of people lack the virtues and zeal necessary to work and contribute.  The suffering and the sacrifices that built the culture are now a distant memory. As discipline and work increasingly seem “too hard,” dependence grows.  Some call it liberalism. 

The collective culture now tips in the direction of dependence.  Having lived on the sacrifices of others for years, the civilization now insists that “others” must solve their woes.  This ushers in growing demands for governmental, collective solutions. 

This in turns deepen’s dependence, as solutions move from personal virtue and local, family based sacrifices to centralized ones.  This is when decisions by the top do not reflect good decisions for the bottom.
As Wilber Ross said,  “ Let them eat cake”  while they were struggling through the shutdown of the government.  But if the government fails the collective fails too…  ED:  Let Wilbur the Schmuck eat sh*t for all I care…

STEP 8:  FROM DEPENDENCE BACK TO BONDAGE – As dependence increases, so does centralized power.  Anarchy, and dependent people tend to become increasingly dysfunctional and desperate. Seeking a savior, they look to strong central leadership. But centralized power corrupts and tends to usher in increasing intrusion by centralized power. Injustice and intrusion multiply. But those in bondage do-not have other solutions.

Family and personal virtue (essential ingredients for any civilization) are now effectively replaced by an increasingly dark and despotic centralized control, hungry for more and more power. In this way, the civilization is gradually ended, because people in bondage no longer have the virtues necessary to fight, and have to go other routes.  See Step 1:.  
And anarchy,  revolution  to the streets and back to the beginning.   The Oligarchy formed by Nationalism and power in the hands of the few will lead to revolution…

 12-07-2020 aljacobsladder.com