The Jan. 6 anniversary again brought out the predictions that American democracy is in decline.
And it appears that Canadians are especially worried. I got a note from our historian Feliks Banel about a new book titled: “The Next Civil War: Dispatches from the American Future,” in which Canadian writer Stephen Marche describes a system on the brink of collapse:
“The American governmental system is in such crisis that it can no longer do basic functions. It was only in December that they managed to establish a diplomatic core. They’re flirting really regularly with defaulting on their debt. The Build Back Better plan — I mean, it’s not much more than a budget. And they’re really incapable of doing the bare minimum of what you might call government.”
Marche was on CBC Radio’s Sunday Magazine, and said that our combination of private militias, racial tension, climate refugees, and a Senate that gives a MINORITY of the population a MAJORITY the power – is reaching critical mass:
“The erosion of democracy is quite real, and the violence is increasing. That’s not a prediction, that’s happening. And also, in this book, I’m very careful about the numbers. I mean, the chances of a next civil war, according to the experts, is about 70%. This is not a done deal. But the hope that things are just going to work themselves out, that there’s going to be the burning of the 60s and then the 70s will come along and it will all be disco, … that’s not what is going to happen. A crisis is imminent.”
But he said his book does end on a hopeful note – and the CBC host was VERY happy to hear that:
“Where is that hope, where are you finding it, where are you seeing it?” the host asked.
Marche said it’s America’s talent for re-invention:
“… And if any country can re-invent itself in the world, it’s the United States. What is required is some profound reevaluations of the Constitution, which is a 240-year-old document of great genius that simply doesn’t really speak to 21st century reality. Thomas Jefferson said that you should rewrite your Constitution every 19 years. Well, it’s been 240, so it’s time.”
So there’s where Canadian author Stephen Marche sees the happy ending. All America has to do to avoid a civil war – is rewrite the Constitution, the way Jefferson recommended. Piece of cake.
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