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Why I Disagree about "The Unraveling of America"

Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis posted a savvy article in Rolling Stone, entitled The Unraveling of America.  Its thesis that America's generally atrocious handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, under our "buffoon of a president," laid bare a decay and decline that already was well underway, in racism and income inequality, is well-evidenced and well-argued, and undeniable.   But I disagree with Davis on two important points, one historical, the other up and coming.

1.  Davis says Americans elected Trump.  That's not quite the case.  Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million votes more than Trump, which means Americans elected her not Trump president.  It was the antiquated, anti-democratic Electoral College - our inane way of electing a President - that put Trump in office.

2.  Davis concludes by observing that "even should Trump be resoundingly defeated [in November], it’s not at all clear that such a profoundly polarized nation will be able to find a way forward. For better or for worse, America has had its time."  I agree that the future is always opaque, and not at all clear.  But I don't agree that "America has had its time".  If the Democrats take back the White House and the Senate, the United States could have a progressive government akin to what FDR had in the 1930s.

That government, back then, got us out of the Great Depression, and then went on to crush the Nazis.  It did that, even though America still suffered from racism, sexism, and extreme income inequality.  It did that with a far less effective community-building media system than we have now - i.e., no television and no Internet.  I think there's every reason to think that the election of Joe Biden to the Presidency, and a Democratic majority to the Senate, could indeed reverse most of the damage that Trump has done, and result in America being a better leader of the world than it ever was. 

But all of that depends on Americans getting out and voting or their ballots in the mail.

This post first appeared on Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress, please read the originial post: here

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Why I Disagree about "The Unraveling of America"


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