How to Live in a Failed Democracy

After our last cheery posts on movies to watch at the end of a trip, it is time to return to our roots. Dark ranting about the universe we all find ourselves in. We don’t often write about politics on this site, other than to poke fun at the DEA’s inability to read. But we’ve been thinking a lot on this topic lately, we live in the United States and there is an election coming up. So let’s discuss some ideas on how to live in a failed democracy.

As always, the artwork on this site is provided by our stable diffusion instance.
What Happened?

As we mentioned there is an election coming up soon in the United States. We actually did our mail-in ballot today. That’s right, acid-heads like us vote – you better get out there too! That isn’t the only reason we’ve been dwelling on politics though… In recent months there have been two events that truly highlight just how far from democracy we’ve fallen. Both involve our Supreme Court, but they highlight a fundamental issue.

First, back in June our Supreme Court overruled Roe vs Wade; this was the precedent that protected a woman’s right to an abortion. Really the legal text was more about medical privacy generally, but abortion was the primary reason the conservative-appointed justices wanted to overrule it. No liberal-appointed judge even came close to agreeing with the ruling. Crucially nobody should have to label a judge, especially a supreme court judge, with a political affiliation, but here we are.

Then, today a single supreme court judge, again conservative-appointed, acting unilaterally, decided to stay a deposition order in a Georgian grand jury trial. That trial was related to the conservative attempts to overturn the last presidential election. The deposition was for a sitting senator, Lindsey Graham, and the judge acting unilaterally was of course Clarence Thomas.

That this was going to happen, the Supreme Court staying this deposition, was a foregone conclusion. Everyone expected it, it’s why Mr. Graham never complied with the subpoena in the first place, he knew he was safe. The trick is any of the conservative-appointed judges could have issued this stay, any of them. But they let Mr. Thomas do it, the man who’s own wife is directly implicated in the same exact case.

That kind of open corruption for show is something you only see at the very end of a democracy. When the corruption is beginning, people still have some shame and try to hide the things they are doing. At the end the shame is gone and the evil is done in the most flamboyant way possible, simply to show everyone else that they can. This is how we know we are now living with multiple failed democratic institutions. The history books show how this works, just look at any failed country in recent times for a glimpse of our future.

Corruption has arrived at the supreme court
Failed institutions

What is meant by “failed institution”, it isn’t as simple as corruption. For example, our congress has been a failed institution for most of our lives. The last seated congress to pass more than one major piece of legislation was over 20 years ago. In the past 10 years only two or three have passed, and all on partisan lines, all were immediately thrown into the court system by the other side.

The purpose of Congress is to pass laws, this is why we pay them to be there after all. Not doing that implies that this institution has failed. It may also be corrupt, but that is beside the point.

Note we are not coming at that from either political agenda, conservative or liberal. Congress is a failed institution. It does not matter who is elected or what team they play for, the institution itself no longer functions correctly. We know the conservatives are very excited about taking the Senate this year, but what will that achieve? Nothing was passed in the last 2 years, and nothing will be passed in the next 2 either, not even things conservatives might think they want.

During the last administration, our courts were packed with lifetime, sock puppet judges waiting to do the bidding of those who appointed them. That isn’t paranoid ranting either. Just look at how brazenly Ms. Cannon is jumping to Trump’s defense. She is issuing orders his lawyers didn’t even ask for. The right hand is firmly on the scales of justice, but at least that is in open court and can be appealed.

What Mr. Thomas did today cannot be appealed or overruled. We suspect you didn’t know that was possible. We don’t have kings in this country do we? Oh no, we actually do, one member of the Supreme Court is given the duty of handling emergency requests, although any sitting judge may stay any given order at their discretion.

This power allows them to reach deep into the system and tip the scales as they choose, in this case overruling a unanimous federal appeals court decision. This person is not elected, and cannot be removed from office due to the disfunction of our Congress. Now that this power has been shown to the people, expect to see it used in certain other cases involving former presidents.

It is difficult to remember, but we wanted to create this samsara to escape our loneliness
This was our choice?

So we have 2 failed democratic institutions at the Federal level in this country. One is failed through engineered gridlock, and the other failed through open corruption. Neither can be fixed by the citizenry. If we elect new leaders to congress they just continue on the same broken path. We have no power to elect or change the Supreme Court by any legal means.

So we’re living with these corrupt judges, at least for another 20 years or so. There is a trick though, we wanted this. As the lonely god, we created samsara, this world, and separated our egos to populate it. We did that to play this game, to experience these exact things, this was our choice. The alternative is too lonely to consider.

The anger we feel reading news like this is one of the emotions we were seeking out. The egos doing these things are all playing their roles marvelously, this samsara has been going on for a long time and we’ve gotten quite good at it. That likely doesn’t blunt the pain much, so lets talk about what we can do about that.

Democracy might be broken in the United States, but we still have to live here.
Living in a failed democracy

Until the revolution comes, we’re kind of stuck here. We could kill ourselves, but that isn’t really the end we hope it would be. We could move, but we like where we live and none of this has directly impacted us yet, our state has not failed the basic needs of the people yet. We could organize the revolution ourselves, but we are pacifist, incapable of violence, this is equivalent to suicide for us. What can we do?

Band together! Our federal government has mostly failed, and nothing is going to fix that. Around half of our state governments have also failed, either partially or entirely. When you can’t provide clean water for your people, you are a failed government. When you spend more money on political stunts then helping your people, also a failed government.

Find others and form a community. Help each other. We are not religious ourselves, but certain books provide a clear template on how to do this. Offer to help a woman in need get the medical care they need, even if that means getting them out of a failed state for a week or two. Protect the persecuted, don’t trick them into getting on planes, instead give them food, water and shelter. Do what Jesus would have done, do what conservatives say to do, not what they actually do.

Donate! There are many great groups that are still trying to make progress in the face of this open air corruption. Groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and many others. The right will shout day and night that these are terrorist groups, but consider the source. The reality is these groups are simply fighting for basic legal rights, basic medical care, things that should be available to everyone. Even conservatives voters deserve these rights, no matter how much they fight to destroy them – they deserve to have them.

Speak out! Like this site itself, we all have a voice. Conservatives feel so emboldened because the other side is not really fighting back, or even saying anything at all. One side destroys the rights of half of our nation, the other side is too comfortable making millions in insider trading to rock the boat. In the same way you likely allow people in your lives to hold certain beliefs as speaking out would damage that relationship. This is a problem, do better.

Peaceful Resistance! If a stolen Supreme Court is going to unilaterally issue unjust rulings, then it is our duty to resist. But do so peacefully. When they pass a law ordering you to turn in anyone who gets an abortion… just don’t. Maybe you get arrested, maybe they even kill you, but don’t compromise your ethics for these monsters. When they make psychedelics illegal for 50 years, just keep making and taking them anyway. Laws and rulings are only worth the weight we give them, so give them none.

Join In! Look, if democracy is going down the toilet we might as well loot as much as we can on the way down eh? Why not run a liberal blog and sell liberal t-shirts, maybe next year you can start a conservative blog instead — after all your beliefs only go as far as the money does. This suggestion is a joke, but also not, a vast majority of political positions in this country are won by uncontested candidates. Just look at some of the folks conservatives put up for election, we are certain you can do better than that. In most states you wouldn’t even have a rival to run against.

Revolution never works out the way we hope, instead we just get more piles of bodies to clean up.
Revolution? Don’t do that

While those are great suggestions to help you deal with living in a failed democracy, you may be tempted to take more drastic measures. We warn you against this. Working outside the law will only result in your own arrest, or death, The police have firmly aligned with one side, and it is not ours. Further, the purpose of the police is to keep the peace, so if you disturb the peace — they will disturb you back.

Revolution is never productive in the way we hope. At the start it seems easy, there are way more of us than there are of them, like way, way more. As things progress, the dying starts. This is not pleasant, and not something any of us really want to live through.

Then, in the end, it never works out quite right. If the end game of the revolution is to rule over the same society we started with, how will anything ever change? We’ll just repeat it again, and again, and again. No matter how good your intentions are, you will grow old and die, the next person may not be has kind hearted. We don’t think you are ready to become an eternal emperor yet either.

Instead let it fail, let it fail slowly just like it is now. This is really the best way for it to go down. The conservatives will try to take over, but they don’t have the brain power to actually put any of their hopes into practice on the scale of the United States. Sure, the proud boys can march up and down the street in the boonies all day long. Send them to any major city and they run like the scared animals they are.

That really is the best outcome for us all. Let the federal government fail slowly, keep fighting until the end just to prevent the worst, but let it fail. In the rubble we will rebuild a series of smaller countries. Egos were not meant to be ruled in groups of 300 million, it’s too big. Sure some of those new states will turn into North Korea, but that is unavoidable at this point, just think about what it would really take to stop that.

Other new countries will not be so bad, some might even turn out ok. California, for example, can easily stand on its own. In the meanwhile, do the things from above to help you maintain sanity as this system collapses. Don’t seek revolution, or if you do, don’t call us to help.

A privileged life

Ah, it feels nice to return to the dark philosophical ranting doesn’t it? Like a warm blanket on a cold winter day.

We’re sure to get flack for our “let it fail” stance. After all many are already being persecuted, many have been since the founding of our country. That will only get worse as the rot progresses.

We live a life of privilege, we understand that, we were born into it. Our life has been easier simply due to our assigned gender, our height, the color of skin. We didn’t choose these attributes but they allow us to hide comfortably in even the most conservative hell-scapes.

None of that changes anything, we can’t save everyone, nobody can. We will do the things we said above, if anyone comes to us for aid they will receive it. Reducing harm is not eliminating harm. We all must do the best we can, and that starts with basic empathy for your fellow ego. We are all trapped here, conservative and liberal alike.

Or, as Matt Bellamy famously puts it: WE ARE FUCKING FUCKED.






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