What I Am Most Proud Of

In his Atlantic article, “Are We Doomed?” George Packer has two lines that went to something I’ve been saying ever since the rise of Trump. Packer wrote:
“It’s hard to accept that the foundation of democracy is quite this fragile.”
“Can Civics Save America?”
I taught government or civics for a couple of years back in the 80s. Over and over, I emphasized that this democracy and the government that bears it is held together by spit and chewing gum (bailing wire is in the somewhere, too), i.e. it takes each citizen to hold it all together and make it work. I wrote a blog item a while back titled “What I Am Proud Of.” I just thought it needed repeating because maybe one or two of my students are thinking about that now.


  1. 伟思礼 says:

    Took Hitler less than nine years to go from prison to absolute dictator. Two months after becoming Chancellor. Was it Trump’s incompetence or our “checks and balances” that kept Trump from doing in four years what Hitler did in tw months?

  2. Pat Barrett says:

    The Germans are just more competent than we are. Incompetence can be a blessing or a curse, depending.
    Barrett’s Maxim #27

  3. Paul Widergren says:

    Found this interview informative. Would make a good civics lesson if you could get away with showing it without outcry from outraged parents. I remember one social studies teacher at my old school, however, would religiously listen to Rush Limbaugh during lunch and show Fox news to students, so what you can get away with can be based on school culture.


    In answer to the question,

    Was it Trump’s incompetence or our “checks and balances” that kept Trump from doing in four years what Hitler did in two months?

    Article 48 of the Weimar Republic gave the President almost unlimited emergency powers. A dysfunctional Reichtag during the depression created a situation where Article 48 was being invoked more and more by the president to get around the German congress. Hitler used the “Reichtag Fire” as the excuse he needed to declare an emergency and round up the opposition (Communists) thus creating a dictatorship and a one party state.


    Now those conditions, of course, are no longer possible in Germany.
    You might say, that they have learned their lesson the hard way.


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