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This Is How American Democracy Ends

This Is How American Democracy Ends

Bill Blum

“If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over it, go around it. But get to the other side of that wall.” —Donald Trump, 2004 commencement address, Wagner College, Staten Island, N.Y. (unearthed by “The Daily Show”)

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The only emergency I see is the “man” residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (along with Mother’s boy at Number One Observatory Circle). I hope that the appropriate law enforcement mechanisms will activate when heinous illegal orders are issued. An oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic surely should include obeying the Constitution over the president when necessary. I for one am tiring of living in these “interesting” times.


I’ve called almost one third of senators and begged them to hamstring Dump now as a precautionary measure. Two thirds to go. I’m not interested in impeachment or Amendment 25 action. Just bind and gag him until after the elections. Congress does have the power to constrain him—they just need the guts, will, and brains to do it. Notice I didn’t say integrity.


This is one small example of how democracy ends, but it is a workable example.

A law is passed in 1976, with wording to circumvent Constitutional balances of power against presidential initiative. It returns to our attention in 2019 because the current president is flamboyant and makes certain of his abuses easy to spot.

Checking, it turns out that the act has regularly enabled the abuses for which it was designed in every administration since 1976. Were we to check again, it would turn out that other such measures have been passed, and that they too get renewed over and over and over or else simply do not expire. We might see the so-called “Patriot Act” as a significant example.

As of 2019, few of you are surprised, though there is a kind of stubborn shock some of us do not get over as the now-obvious repeats again and again.

Notably, “How it ends” in this example is not the rise of any particular demagogue. It is the subversion of checks and balances by a legislature, a judiciary, an executive, a raft of intelligence agencies unspecified by any constitution and outside of legal controls, and a press who all mostly share an interest in centralized control.

American democracy is 242 years old, an infant among other nations of the world that can trace their governance back thousands of years. At the moment, our future looks bleak indeed. So what now my fellow Americans, what now? See ya at the food court in the mall.