In a recent post I used the term "sham democracy".
I had pointed out that if the republicans get their way, rewrite what happened on 6 January 2021 to look as if donnie had some friends over for a barbeque, extend their already decade long national gerrymander and eliminate huge swaths of eligible voters - all within easy range of accomplishment - the United States will become a member of a growing club of sham democracies.
A sham democracy has regular elections, apparently has political parties and goes through all the motions of a democracy.
But what is really going on is that the always-elected head of government is the de facto dictator calling all the shots, executive, legislative and judicial (a sham always packs the court system with toadies and sycophants who know which side their bread is buttered on and will do anything to avoid losing their butter).
The executive is always elected because he or she controls all components of the administration and operation of all functions of the country, including the elections; ballots are all voted in advance, and they always elect the executive in control.
There is, of course, a press, but it is a department of the executive, so the only requirement for its continuance is to, usually, stay just on the believable side of fantasy.
Fox News is too far into fantasy to be allowed in a sham democracy.
Poland, Egypt and Hungary are good examples of sham democracies.
Europe has a number of others in development.
The New York Times podcast "The Daily" recently devoted five or six installments to a survey of the European Union.
They started in Germany and traveled around to many other member states talking to everyday people and everyday local leaders.
They spent some time in a few of the shams as well as some time in some of the actual still functioning democracies.
It was interesting that the attitudes, satisfaction with government and overall satisfaction with life across an apparently dichotomous group of countries were not themselves dichotomous.
And they all sounded pretty much like what Americans say about their satisfaction with their lives and their government: plusses and minuses; on balance things are pretty good.
The Times's summary assessment of what the citizens of the shams thought about things was that democracy is an eight letter word; they like the periodic opportunity to do sham voting, but as long as the resulting sham victory of the dictator creates an environment where they can binge watch whatever it is that one binge watches in a sham, and have jobs that make them feel like whole humans and feed their kids, and have a place to live, they don't care a fig for eight letter words.
As alarmingly distant as that viewpoint is from the views of the Children of The Enlightenment who architected the United States of America, that viewpoint sounds pretty much like what I hear from most contemporary Americans.
I guess that's the reason there seems to be no way to stop the republicans from making America the newest member of the sham democracy club.
It's too hard a nut.
And that nut can't be cracked.
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