Here is how we save American democracy

The week after Labor Day weekend usually signals the start of a return to serious business — summer vacations over and kids back to school, fiscal years ending and new ones beginning, cleaning up and battening down for winter.

Robert Reich
Robert Reich [ Provided ]

This particular week after Labor Day also marks the start of a terrifyingly high-stakes ride for America — five months until the beginning of the primaries, eight until Trump’s trial for seeking to overturn the 2020 election, 10 until the Republican convention, in which Trump is almost certain to be nominated, 14 until the presidential election of 2024.

All the while, Trump and House Republicans will be throwing up every conceivable distraction and roadblock — threatening to or actually closing the government, impeaching Joe Biden, and holding more hearings on “woke” capitalism, Hunter Biden, the alleged “weaponization” of the Justice Department and the FBI.

At this point, the polls are too close for comfort.

The question we must all ask ourselves, I believe, is what can we do between now and the election to help save American democracy? Let me try out a few answers:

— Do everything within your power to ensure that Donald Trump is not reelected president. For some of us, this will mean taking time out of our normal lives to become more directly politically involved — up to and including moving to a critical swing state.

— Do not succumb to the tempting anesthesias of complacency or cynicism. The stakes are too high. Even if you cannot take much time out of your normal life for direct politics, you will need to organize, mobilize and energize your friends, colleagues and neighbors.

— Counter lies with truth. When you hear someone repeating a Trump Republican lie, correct it. Which will require that you prepare yourself with facts, logic, analysis and sources.

— Do not tolerate bigotry and hate. Call it out. Stand up to it. Denounce it. Demand that others denounce it, too.

— Do not resort to violence, name-calling, bullying or any of the other tactics that Trump followers may be using.

— Be compassionate toward hardcore followers of Trump, but be firm in your opposition. Understand why someone may decide to support Trump, but don’t waste your time and energy trying to convert them. Use your time and energy on those who still have open minds.

— Don’t waste your time and energy commiserating with people who already agree with you. Don’t gripe, whine, wring your hands and kvetch with other progressives about how awful Trump and his Republican enablers are. Don’t snivel over or criticize Biden and the Democrats for failing to communicate more effectively how bad Trump and his Republican enablers are. None of this will get you anything except an upset stomach or worse.

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