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Strip and Flip: Democracy in a Cage


Strip and Flip: Democracy in a Cage

Robert C. Koehler

The wound burst open in November. History, suddenly, could no longer be avoided. Reality could no longer be avoided. American democracy is flawed, polluted, gamed by the oligarchs. It always has been.

But not until the election process whelped Donald Trump did it become so unbearably obvious.


We are on the verge of something alright Robert - but it could go many ways - what's that expression - the situation is fluid.

Here in Canada, the British Columbia elections have just elected what looks to be a minority government on Greens and New Democrats (left).

The Green party leader is a professional climate scientist (Weaver).

The Greens got ~ sixteen percent of the popular vote, but only a few seats - and they want proportional representation, and money out of elections.

All these ideas, like the ones at the end of your article Robert - but can we make them happen?


Love your writing, Robert. This one is so brief, yet so very true.


What the election of Trump illustrated was the danger of populism. Both major parties have turned their primaries over to the people. The Democrats have retained a few hundred super delegates who are supposed to stop a Trump-like person who is unqualified to be president from being nominated but the Republicans have left themselves with little room to stop someone like Trump from being their nominee. The Republican establishment favored Jeb Bush as a candidate and he far outspent the other candidates. Trump spent his own money and spent relatively little but he benefited from many hours of free air time on TV because he boosted ratings. The election of Trump should not only make us re-examine the electoral college but also the primary system which we now can see is able to produce a candidate who is not only unqualified for office but a danger to democracy and the future of this planet with regard to supporting human life on a large scale.


mike, after last week's fine koehler piece i began thinking of how "to make it happen," too many westerners fail to grasp the seriousness of our current situation. so inundated with "politically correct" analyses blaring from the tv set, they are blind to the handwriting on the wall. those of us who do see what's coming down the pike must act and speak for peaceful, fair and compassionate solutions--but these must generate from the people. i don't put much faith in political solutions because politicians get bogged down by divide and conquer rhetoric to fulfill the goal of winning the election. we are outnumbered by those yet believing in the validity of the electoral system and tech answers to the problems our species has created on this small planet. more and more people are growing disillusioned, but also feel helpless. you know, recently, i've been hearing my "talking points" coming back at me from a few neighbors. "good point!" i tell them. maybe little by little sanity will return!


fantastic job, mr. koehler of explaining this empire nation's history of "exclusive" democracy! pure democracy, as i define it, means the people--all of us together--participate in all decisions which effect us. we are a social species. so how did we become so greedy and war-like? the answer would entail a long trip through the history of humanity. actually, i have a philosophy which goes all the way back to the neanderthal and those more gracile primitive humans who ate mostly fruits and grains. in my opinion pure democracy cannot exist with slavery built into its cornerstone. also, lets not overlook the genocide committed against first nations people who didn't even count as 3/5 of a person.

just heard yesterday that our brave water protectors have been called "insurgents!" well, nothing new. colonial writings show that first nations peoples were seen as insurgents from the git-go.

‘'There is no functioning democracy in America. It is really just an oligarchy where political bribery determines who is nominated and selected for all presidents, governors, senators and congress members." Jimmy Carter


A brilliant history which will help all of us to better understand our Nation's character and politics.


Wow! Robert Koehler, once again lays bare the facts that most of us already knew, and some that we possibly didn't know, but suspected, and then connects the dots to help us see the ugly reality that we must see and accept in order to ever have any hope of change.

The Ehrlichman quote explains so much. That period is when the seeds of the political climate that bore fruit in 2016, were carefully nourished. They certainly suceeded!

Bravo, and thank you, Mr. Koehler!


The threat of nuclear holocaust and the extremely rapid advance of human caused climate change do not allow for a " little by little" return to sanity!


Thanks for the Jimmy Carter quote. While far from perfect, he is still the closest thing to an honest President that we've had in my 70 years.


Thank you for bringing up First Nation people.


I am hoping Lincoln was right - "Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people...?"

As a scientist, I believe we are flirting with extinction or something akin to it.

Like many, I have grown cynical about all of politics, and our lack of understanding of what an economy is - and is not - thinking as most do today that capitalism is somehow political economy - which it is not - it is a suicide cult.

I just discovered Robert Redford's movie "The Milagro Beanfield War" which I borrowed from the library a week or two ago.

It has vaulted into first place hands down for my favorite movie of all time - I have now the DVD for myself and my family - and the book by John Nichols is on order.

I have been adding to a growing list the reasons why this movie has so captivated me - I think there are echos of John Kennedy's Peace Speech - "In the final analysis, we are all human, we all breath the same air, cherish our children's future - and we are all mortal..." (or words to that effect).

All the generations are present - there is music, like "Fidler on the Roof", there are no superheroes or supervillains - just people - like me and mine - mortality is front and center as well - and indigenous and civilized blending of world outlook - even a little magical thinking - an acknowledgement of the place of religion in this world and in our past - and I say this being an agnostic.

There is a certain inevitability about the collapse happening now - it is long overdue - and it is going to get very very hard for a bit - until we gain humility.

But it is the only path to survival.

Space exploration is part of who we are - and I can only hope we do throw out the baby with the bathwater - but perhaps that is a theme for later discussion.

The Paris Accords are nearly meaningless for me - too little too late.

Again - if we the people don't wake up - we will all go for the long sleep that has no end.


yeah, but i try to keep a stiff upper lip. maybe we can start a snowball!


thanks! i've already made a note to find that movie! :slight_smile:
and yes i'm not too enthused about the paris accord, either. bureaucrats seldom solve problems.


I remember watching that very movie and decided to watch it again tonight!

The Milagro Beanfield War:


More to add. There is a fascination in Western media with royalty that almost totally elbows out new players in the political arena. By royalty coverage, I not only mean what the princes overseas are wearing today, but also the family members of recent and current leaders being paraded for future slots, and as yet another distraction from covering real news, real leaders, real events.