Daily Bread for 9.13.22: A Feature of Democracy Applicable Everywhere, Including Whitewater, Wisconsin

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with high of 73. Sunrise is 6:33 AM and sunset 7:07 PM for 12h 33m 56s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 88.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

 The Whitewater Unified School District’s Board goes into closed session, not to reconvene, at 5 PM

  On this day in 1862, Union soldiers find a copy of Robert E. Lee’s battle plans in a field outside Frederick, Maryland. It is the prelude to the Battle of Antietam.

Sean Illing and The Greatest Threat to Democracy Is a Feature of Democracy

For more than a century, knowledge has been created and mediated by elite institutions, particularly by major national TV networks and newspapers, that anchored a discourse driven by norms. But the deluge of social media in the 21st century has collapsed that arrangement and has been used as a tool to undercut our democracy. That is inevitable.

To fortify liberal democracy, leaders will have to defend the rule of law, even if they risk political blowback from devoted Trumpists. The Jan. 6 committee hearings were not in vain: They have established a forensic record of a deliberate effort to undermine a peaceful transfer of power, and the proceedings may have made for good television, leaving more citizens informed about what actually happened. But it’s not enough. In the end, the only way to confront a seditious conspiracy is to prosecute the criminals and defeat the people who support them at the ballot box.

If that means indicting Mr. Trump if there is sufficient evidence for possessing classified documents at his beachside club and lying about it or barring him from political office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, so be it.

Democracy’s claim to superiority over other political systems is that it offers free expression and the opportunity to confront arbitrary power. Mr. Trump and his supporters are entitled to the former, using all the available means of persuasion at their disposal. They are not, however, welcome to permanent impunity.

The good news is that our system has shown itself to be resilient: Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election were repulsed on Jan. 6, 2021. That’s a victory for American democracy.

But like every democratic victory, it was provisional. As long as there is democracy, there will be demagogy. And the ability to check power remains just that: an opportunity.

Well said.

The Trumpists of Whitewater, these dyspeptic conservative populists, are noisy faction within this community. It is a faction to which I am opposed: they are an autocratic, mendacious lot. They proclaim liberty but would deny liberty to those with whom they disagree. They make plain that whole classes of American are, to them, unworthy of equal rights under law.

Nonetheless: if they, themselves, advocate within the bounds of the law, however misguided and irritable they may be, they’ve as much right to speak as anyone else.

Although the Trumpists gleefully offend others while insisting that they not be offended, their hypocritical weakness is not crime. There’s no reserve, no stoicism, among this ilk. Their leaders are almost stereotypically undisciplined: fits over masks, tantrums over immunization, conniptions over election losses, while yelling in public buildings and meetings about this or that. 

It’s common for them to gather trolls among their ranks, nativist goblins who’d happily ban books, afflict others based on sexual orientation, and torment immigrants. All the while, they often lack evidence — even as native born Americans — of a moral or general formation that one should expect from a proper K-12 education. 

One cannot say that I have not been plain: Trumpism is both wrong and repulsive.  

And yet, so long as they stay within the bounds of the law — even those laws that they would readily overturn should they come to power —  they have a right to speak. They are a malevolent political and cultural movement to be opposed and overcome only through lawful means. 

Old Whitewater always wanted those with whom it disagreed to go away. If they wouldn’t go away, then as alternatives it tried ignoring, pretending, concealing, hiding issues behind closed-session exceptions to Wisconsin’s Open Meeting Law, speaking vaguely even in open meetings, etc. One either addresses the topics of the day, or becomes yesterday’s news. 

And look, and look: it has been Old Whitewater that’s faded, that’s gone away. Wishing people away won’t do. That’s a childish, petulant perspective. Some might be unsuited to their roles, but no one should be wishing others away from the city. There’s a difference between fierce political debate and dreaming of others’ exile (or worse, causing it). Far from prevailing, what’s left of that outlook is withered and brittle. 

A place one loves, a place worth defending, requires a daily commitment to support or oppose as conscience suggests.

Each day one begins anew, always meeting the day with the humble perspective of a dark horse underdog

We’ve a long slog ahead. 

 Is this Halloween themed maze the world’s largest corn maze?

The Halloween themed maze in Minnesota covers 44.5 hectares and features the giant faces of Freddie Krueger, the Chucky doll, Michael Myers, and Pennywise the clown.

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