Could This Work?

A couple of weeks ago, a commenter posted a YouTube video from February of 2019, in which actress Jennifer Lawrence introduced viewers to a nonprofit organization called Represent Us.

You really need to click through and watch it, because the summary I’m about to provide is incomplete, and doesn’t do it justice.

The basic premise upon which the organization proposes to function is that mending American democracy must come at the state level–that only when we end corruption in a sufficient number of states will we be able to move the federal government and federal courts in a positive direction.

The video was made in 2019, and I haven’t heard anything about this effort in the intervening years, but according to its website, the organization remains active. It’s harder to tell whether–like so many other efforts to salvage the American Idea–it has failed to energize enough people to get the job done.

I had two competing reactions to that video.

The first was triggered by the imminent victory of the pro-fetal-life movement, which will overturn (explicitly or by eviscerating) Roe v. Wade. That will return the issue to the states, and in a “best-case” scenario, will activate a significant percentage of the 60% of Americans who want Roe retained and send an impressive number of them to their respective statehouses. If that happens–if voters in large-enough numbers are sufficiently enraged and motivated–the state-level reforms identified in the video are much more likely to occur.

That scenario is the optimistic one. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my optimism is at death’s door.

Over the last few months, I’ve had multiple discussions–with my children, with friends, with former colleagues–about the state of American and global governance. Attitudes ranged from deep depression to resigned acceptance, but virtually everyone I’ve talked to believes that–as one person put it– America is over. Democracy has had its day.  Autocrats  and their fearful and tribal supporters are on the ascent worldwide.

Of course, none of this may matter in the end, thanks to our unwillingness to confront climate change when we could have moderated its effects.

It’s hard to argue with this gloomy analysis.

When I look at the collection of deranged and incompetent people serving in Congress, when I think of the millions of people who cast their 2020 vote for a man whose terrifying inadequacies and mental illness were impossible to miss, and the large numbers who still believe in the Big Lie and QAnon…when I think of the state-level lawmakers focused on protecting the “rights” of nutcases with guns but who are unwilling to protect citizens from a pandemic (not to mention the culture warriors willing to die to “own the libs”) …It’s really hard to envision a happy ending.

If any of you can talk me off the edge, I’m listening…..


  1. I too am on the edge, but I refuse to give in to the despair that has smothered the country in this time of political, environmental, and medical crisis. I watched the video, shared it on FB and signed up to join Represent Us. Please fellow bloggers, take this chance to join the fight for our freedom.

  2. This is an interesting statement, “America is over.”

    Washington just approved a $2 billion a day budget for the Pentagon. Think about that while you are on the cliff.

    Turn off the TV and read Robert Kennedy’s new book about Fauci. I had my suspicions by Robert is accurate and has the science to back him up – Fauci doesn’t.

    For some of you, it will blow your mind.

    The truth always does because of all the massive amounts of propaganda we are fed daily. Turn off the TV, put down your newspaper, and read Robert’s book.

    I’ve said for a decade when the doctors return to serving their Hippocratic Oaths to their patients versus the dictates of Big Pharma, everything in America will change. Everything!

    Get ready…

  3. It seems to me that when a major issue has arisen in this country, it always ‘been solved’ on the national level – and basically has to be.
    Yes, some states do address the issue and have some success, but eventually to really get it going nationally it has to be done in the Congress.
    Slavery, is probably the best example :: just imagine where we’d be today if we HAD just let it remain in the states, and the South had been willing to let Ft. Sumpter be supplied by the rightful owners of it – The United States of America. And, thus, no Civil War had occurred.
    Or think of the Progressive social movements that led to the end of child labor and humane care for the mentally ill. These programs were gradually expanded into other states, but never had the success needed because these ‘other’ states always had their own axe to grind and certain groups of people to deny them to.
    I suppose I should go ahead and say this – I think it’s long past time for the states to have any individual power at all, and their only purpose should be limited to just serving on an administrative level to carry out the duties delegated to them by the Congress.
    That would help unify the society of the nation, and arrest the sectionalism which has always cursed it.

  4. Considering Indiana a lost cause and until I see evidence that we will have qualified Democratic candidates in upcoming elections; I am supporting other states at the federal level to maintain…and hopefully increase…our slim majority. I am including Georgia and Texas gubernatorial candidates with my support.

    Indiana ran John Gregg TWICE and we saw less campaigning during his second run than we did in the first. His name on the ballot was the strongest indication Indiana had a Democrat running for governor.

  5. Yet another scenario might be a fantasy made for film based on a sequel to Lord of the Flies where upon saved unwanted babies grow up as misfits organized by Ralph and Piggy to target vigilantes who threatened their mothers considering abortion. If it’s Hollywood, the more bizarre the better box office. 😇

  6. If we talked you off the edge we’d be lying to you. We are at one of those ‘which side are you on,’ moments in history. Seems to me there are Wizard of Oz type leaders on the Conservative side who are hidden and unaccountable pulling strings to undermine many of our main democratic institutions without a care in the world of what their outcomes might produce or that there is even the slightest chance they will be exposed. Turning school board elections into partisan affairs as well as politicizing election boards are their latest salvos into sticking daggers into our democratic institutions. It ought to scare the hell out of all of us. And it all stems from the one simple concept that unlimited and unaccountable campaign contributions by the wealthy and corporations is somehow the same as free speech.

  7. The republicans want you depressed and immobilized and their media outlets are doing their best to make sure we all hear the most dire and disheartening news. Trump and his crew are going to jail. This whole MAGA movement is funded by very rich oligarch types for the express purpose of ripping off the American people for more profit than they already do. But this is changing. And if we want it to change faster we have to get off the helpless train and start shouting from the rooftops that we support democracy and criminal insurrectionists must go to jail. And that includes trump, Meadows, and a bunch of the rest of them.
    We elected a criminal as president. We’ve done that before and fixed it. We will fix this screw up.

  8. Maybe if more people realized that, as a country we are all on the edge of so many precipices, we might get activated to turn things around.

    Whatever you do, please don’t follow Todd down the antivaxxers rabbit hole. What the science tells us is that vaccines work.

  9. If you was an extreme right wing magat, choices too numerous to name, I would simply tell you to make a fashion statement. Put on a pair of bib overalls, stiped or blue, and jump.

    Your words of wisdom are too valuable to lose. Here is to a long and happy, even more productive future for you.

  10. Tres simple – not voting is a vote. Not working for change is acceptance/acquiescence of now and the emerging future.

    After founding and running CommonGoodGoverning for nearly 5 years, wallowing in partisan politics, I would summarize my thinking today thusly:

    – One would think that the most local action would be one’s best choice. Not sure of that today. People are moving to/living in places where there are people who think/believe what they do. It is no accident that AOC lives in one of the most Democratic districts in the US; likewise does Marjorie Taylor Greene on the GOP side. “Competitive” political races have been few; current redistricting is dramatically reducing them on both the State and Federal level.

    – What’s left of the GOP is pure MAGA, united, highly funded and possessing a massive/active ecosystem of which most of you are aware – all aimed at creating an “autocratic democracy” veiled in “personal freedom”. Unless something very dramatic changes, they will take (perhaps, strongly) both the House and Senate in ’22, ensure no progress is made and be prepared to take over in ’24, likely not needing to challenge the result.

    – The DEMS are hopelessly divided and riddled with partisanship, ideology and no fresh leadership.

    – [ADVERTISEMENT – with Sheila’s permission] CommonGoodGoverning is making progress at the US House. We are 1430+ concerned (40 in 2017) citizens worried about the world and country our children and grandchildren will live in. We fear that our democracy is coming apart at the seams due to partisanship, ideology and issue/identity politics.

    We work together to replace US House typical “pols” with servant leaders of either party who will take American governing toward the common good. In November, 2018 we helped elect four of them: Conor Lamb (PA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Dean Phillips (MN), Elaine Luria (VA). In 2020, we added Kathy Manning (NC) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA). We would gladly share our vision with you for your thoughts. We have a brief “backgrounder” document. We use “high touch” communication rather than a website. More?

  11. Well here’s the thing old pal. The American Garden Party is hope and relief. Because global warming can be reversed. And we can end the daily tragedy of fossil fuels. Abandon the grid and stopper the pipelines. Embrace the liquid nitrogen economy! My work with NASA in the eighties reveals that LN is ready to replace gas and nasty electric alternatives. When you think about it, two things dominate and confuse truth and justice. Oil and drugs. Now, our neighbor Ron Cooper and I came up with the simple solution of using LN to power boilers. LN must expand as it struggles to return to ambient air temperature. Pollution free. Universally abundant and infinitely renewable LN. I call it The Silver Arrow 🗣

  12. Bob Hendren for President. The American Garden Party. There is a better way. There is a tipping point. We have to hurry. I corresponded with an engineer from Tufts U who designed a car powered car. Imagine with me replacing car engines with Turbines powered by The Silver Arrow. In the eighties when I was doing some technology commercialization projects wit NASA. Two cycle engines are a bane. Replace them with simple LN power. The AGP sez. I’m raising funds to build thousands of dirigibles here in Flint to fly over the forest fires to cannibalizes the heat to extract and compress atmospheric nitrogen to a liquid and squirt it back on the fires to quench them. Energy jujitsu. Same with global warming. Use solar and water and wind power to extract and compress atmospheric nitrogen to a liquid and squirt it back on the melt water to refreeze it.
    Energy jujitsu. Bob Hendren has the answers. The American Garden Party

  13. I watched the video and believe it to be good, in theory. However, in a red state like Indiana the gop recently chose to increase gerrymandering to ensure they would not only maintain their control, but to increase the likelihood they could overtake the rare blue areas.

    The state Dem party is currently making an effort in every county to convince people to run for city, county and state offices. They don’t mention offering any type of campaign help to individuals that choose to run. They just want a Dem member’s name on the ballots. In super red counties, like mine, an honest and very capable Dem could run against Satan on the gop ticket and the voters will always choose satan because he is on the gop ticket. They don’t even need to look at the name on the ballot. Straight ticket is the way to vote because right wing propaganda constantly tells them to.

    I believe the national Dem party officials are self-destructing the party. They aren’t making any effort to speak out against the constant lies and propaganda on right wing tv and radio. There is just deafening silence! The state level Indiana dem party officials only help candidates in the districts that they know have a good chance to win.

    As long as the corporate billionaires and multi-millionaires can maintain control over the working masses with low wage jobs and long hours they know their employees will not have the time nor energy to demand positive changes to our Oligarchy.

  14. What created the Confederacy?

    Climate and geography determined that the south depended on agriculture but “condemned” the north to manufacturing and both regions optimized as civilized humans do. What made the few in the south wealthy were slaves but manufacturers in the north found a cheaper way, kids which they needed in abundance for old-age insurance but were useless most of their lives.

    The few prospered while the many worked very hard in both locations.

    The competing States previously United never moved beyond those times in any ways but shallow ones.

    But now new economic forces are in play. Human diversity, geography, and its creator, climate have turned cities into huge global economies on the coasts and left the rest comparatively struggling, but the waste from the necessarily huge fossil fuel supply chain, which feeds the economy, is creating a new unprecedented climate that threatens everyone.

    Science and engineering have together identified what must be done and created the technology to do it, but the rift between the two economies has destroyed the will to continue to live in comfort for most people and extended the reality of poverty to growing numbers of them.

    We could move on but cannot.

  15. Just yesterday, I believe, the House rejected adopting a law or rule that restricted its members in trading in stocks while they’re in office, even the stocks of companies that may be impacted by committees they are assigned to. I can only shake my head and laugh at how clueless these people are.

    What I find so fascinating is that, after nearly seven years since TFG declared himself a candidate for POTUS, Establishment Dems STILL don’t understand why MILLIONS of Americans are enraged and want to destroy the prevailing power structure in this country, even if it means destroying democracy in the process. And NO ONE has tapped into and inflamed that rage like TFG…it his his singular talent.

    By now it’s possibly if not likely that a majority of Americans don’t see any real difference between what we’ve historically called a democratic republic in America and a future with authoritarianism. Underlying both is and will be a system of crony-capitalist oligarchy that has absolutely corrupted and corrupted absolutely – as the saying goes.

    Unless legislation is passed to federalize the rules of our national, state and local elections, and have the enforcement mechanisms in place before November of 2022 I don’t see this story ending well. All of the US will be run just like the state of Indiana – more or less permanent single-party rule by Big-Lie-Republicans.

  16. Nancy,

    Yup – many CGG (CommonGoodGoverning) community members tell me that Mickey Mouse could run for the House on the GOP side and would win no matter who the DEMS put up. BUT, they don’t give up, they work with us to help elect servant leader DEMs who have a chance in somewhat competitive districts elsewhere…

  17. I cannot talk you “off the edge” as I’m there with you. In my case I’m moving overseas as I honestly fear for the continuation of American democracy. The hate & ignorance has not only permeated American government and politics but also religion. The Southern Baptist CULT is not the only one but certainly is at the forefront of this anti-democracy and anti-Christian movement.

  18. From the Lord of the Rings. Gandalf says, “Oft evil will mars evil will.” On NPR today, I listened to them talk about the bickering between Republican representatives in the House. Kevin McCarthy is having trouble herding the hissing cats. I can only hope that there is an increased divisiveness between Trumpists and other GOP members who are moderates. I also hope their divisiveness is greater than that of the democrats.

    And then there’s Samwise. He has crossed over into Mordor with Frodo. In the midst of this poisoned land, the ugliness of Sauron and his minions, he sees a star(maybe the star of Earendil). He realizes that the shadow is only a passing thing, that there is something beautiful and transcendent that lasts and remains untouched.

    Samwise inspires me to believe that QAnon and the MAGA cult will be a passing thing. I don’t know how long it will take for people of good will to rise up and counter them, I just keep believing that they will. I believe it will be a bipartisan response. After all, you can’t kill the truth. It just gets up and walks again.

    I would bet that right now in Ky., no one is thinking about blue or red. They are thinking about lifting each other up and helping each other survive a horrific tornado.

    And as for global warming, I just saw on Good News an architectural and engineering platform that collects plastic waste from the ocean. It looks like something straight out of Star Trek. It runs on solar, has gardens where food is grown etc. It’s amazing. Also people are working long hours to restore coral reefs and are genetically engineering coral that can withstand the warming of the oceans.

    I so wish we could all unite to contain the pandemic not just here in the US but all around the world.

  19. Sheila, one comment was right — please don’t jump. We need you and more like you. The folks who comment have great insight and THEY give me hope that we will somehow survive – – although I admit it won’t be easy as I see the looming disasters gathering speed.
    Have a wonderful holiday season with as many friends and family as you can gather around you.

  20. There have always been certain harbingers of doom. But, there have been those who have kept their ear to the rail so to speak. educated but poo pooed, they definitely described what is going to happen when it gets to beyond the saturation point.

    Will Durant Stated in his book, The story of Civilization, “We have tried to show that the essential cause of the Roman conquest of Greece was the disintegration of Greek civilization from within. No great nation is ever conquered until it has destroyed itself.”

    A statement in the world book encyclopedia in 1978 version, volume 7 page 24, Reads as follows: “Family is the oldest human institution. In many ways it is the most important. It is society’s most basic unit. Entire civilizations have survived or disappeared, depending on whether family life was strong or weak.”

    In his book ‘civilization on Trial,’ AJ Toynbee says; a survey of the historical landscape in the light of our existing knowledge shows that, up to date, history has repeated itself about 20 times and producing human societies of the species to which our western society belongs, and it also shows that, with the possible exception of our own? These representatives of the species of society called civilizations are already dead or moribund. ………When we examine the aforementioned civilizations we find what looks like a reoccurring pattern of breakdowns, declines, and falls……..

    The author then asks the question, “Is the pattern of decline and fall and store for us in our turn, As a doom from which no civilization can hope to escape?”

    He then makes a statement that, In his opinion, “the answer to this question is emphatically in the negative There is nothing to prevent western civilization from following historical precedent……”

    2nd Timothy 3:13 reads, ” but wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.”

    In the words of Jesus Christ, He said; Many will betray one another and will hate one another, And, “the love of the greater number will cool off” Matthew the 24th chapter.

    The Apostle Paul wrote in his second letter to Timothy; “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient appearance, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.”

    You have to admit, that There is not much natural affection out there anymore. Do you love your neighbor? Do you love God? Do you love your enemy? compassion and empathy are in short supply. There is no cohesion in society anymore. So, there’s going to be much more turmoil. Eventually the governments are going to half to put their foot down Not allow people to Refuse public health protocol because of religious grounds!

    The Apostle Paul also stated that individuals will have “a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power.”

    This time in history is very unique, because we carry our window to the world and our shirt pocket or purse. We can talk to people on the other side of this planet in a couple of milliseconds. The connectivity of every society on the planet allows the worst of us to spread and the best of us to be ridiculed. And then, when society collapses, individuals will cry for help.

    As it says in the Bible book of Luke, ‘Then they will start saying to the mountains, fall over us! And to the hills, cover us over!’

    I would say, that It is getting to that point now. In scripture the mountains refer to governments. amongst other things. People want the government or the superior authorities to help, but there will be no help or for them, because Neither government nor the people are open to any natural agreement.

  21. The best I can offer is to sit with you at the edge. Perhaps others may join us, and some good soul will bring along some craft beer. 🙂 We can enjoy the vista together in peaceful companionship. There is beauty in the world, so it’s good to sit (and sip) and enjoy viewing it occasionally.

  22. P.S. Robin, I enjoyed your post immensely. I’d certainly appreciate some ale from the Green Dragon, or some other small brewery in Middle-earth. You are welcome to sit and enjoy the view with me anytime.

  23. RFK is largely wrong about Fauci. Big Pharma is, however, capitalism on steroids. American taxpayers pay for the research, Big P reaps enormous financial benefit. Must change our campaign funding formula.

  24. Since I’ve already abandoned the homeland, give me reasons to return?
    Please, give me something besides hope!

  25. Agingl.Girl,

    More than hope. The six DEM servant leaders CGG has helped elect ALL won in districts won by THE FORMER….

  26. RFK Jr waxing poetic anger about Fauci? Please. That’s ridiculous.

    The edge isn’t all horrible, SSK. It’s reality, and we’re surrounded by the 40% shouting as if they’re 90%. It’s literally….everywhere. Otherwise-sane Republicans whom I’ve always respected are saying things like:

    “Vaccines? Meh. Omicron is in the water now. Waddaya gonna do?”

    The above quote is from a master’s level chemist. Seriously.

    Their ignorance has transferred to the polling place. They’re blindly following a tanning-bed-addicted lout.

    We outnumber them. We need to stop being polite.

  27. Wow! This blog sparked a lot of comments! But I thought I’d make my comment before reading them:

    I’ve been a member and contributor to Represent.Us for about 2 years now. I’d love to connect with like minded people and activate the movement in Indiana.

    While the climate crisis is the major issue, government will do nothing about it if we don’t fix the broken government we have. So, functionally, we have to implement the Represent.Us solution first.

    Together we can do this. Who’s with me? Blessings!

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