And this “people” is not very happy. I want my country back. The only ray of light over the past seven months has been the discussions on the country’s Constitution and our democracy. It reminds me of a 7th grade civics class, but kicked forward for everyone.
Recently, there have been several essays exploring the subjects, and earlier times when the United States seemed to be falling apart.
A piece by Jill Lepore in The New Yorker reached back to the late 1930s and the Great Depression (and war clouds over Europe), when there were significant efforts to introduce the meaning of “democracy” to those who did not really know what it was. As a New Yorker staff writer — and a professor of American History at Harvard University — she shines a light on important topics.
This past weekend, The Washington Post ran a column by former FBI Director James Comey looking back to the 1960s, a time of assassinations, the Vietnam War, and riots. They were terrible times, but the Congress did its duty in forcing out a president in 1974 after authorizing a crime (among other things).
Today’s Atlantic ran a lengthy column by Adam J. White, which is part of a project called “The Battle for the Constitution,” working with the National Constitutional Center. This piece is pretty weighty, getting into the Federalist Papers and the role of judges (among others), but the ending sums it up: “Benjamin Franklin did not promise ‘a republic, if your judges can keep it.’ He promised something far more challenging: ‘a republic, if you can keep it.’ “
And the “you” in that comment is all of us.
Though this is instructional, the past few months have become difficult to watch the news. Trying to wean off the impeachment hearings and the impeachment trial, knowing that a whole bunch of people who govern us pretend that bad is good, and up is down, it’s tough. That will be wrapped up on Wednesday, and we pretty much know how that will play out.
But we persist, because what else can we do? It did not help that last night’s caucus in Iowa was gutted because of a “coding issue” on an app that the people who were supposed to report to the Iowa Democratic Committee didn’t know how to use it or it didn’t work. Here’s hoping that in the upcoming elections in Colorado don’t run into problems (and why having a primary back is a good thing.)
Watching the news now takes a strong stomach. A column by New York Times opinion writer Charles M. Blow this past weekend discussed “election stress disorder.” Three paragraphs in “The Exhaustion Caucus” lays it out:
“A 2017 ‘Stress in America’ survey by the American Psychological Association found: ‘More than half of Americans (57 percent) say the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, and nearly half (49 percent) say the same about the outcome of the election.’
“Early on, therapist Steven Stosny named this phenomenon ‘election stress disorder.’
“The A.P.A.’s former executive director for professional practice, Dr. Katherine C. Nordal, has advised people, ‘If the 24-hour news cycle is causing you stress, limit your media consumption.’ “
Like limiting aspirin or Tylenol or alcohol? Perhaps, I might suggest to turn to re-runs of Criminal Minds, where serial killers and demented sadists terrorize cities until the good guys catch the bad guys. Just keep the lights on.
The links below lead to the pieces in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, as well as Charles M. Blow’s column in The New York Times. Also, there are links to the aftermath of the Iowa Democratic Caucus, and a piece in The Colorado Sun on how much money those running in the Colorado race for the Senate have raised. Eye-opening, for sure.