(Thread) What we can do, Part II

After I wrote this thread 👇people asked “But what can we do?”
https://twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield/status/1246169298302722049

This is what we can do, Part II.

Warning: People often like my assessment of what went wrong, but dislike my advice on what to do about it.
1/ I think we agree that our democratic institutions are being battered and undermined.

By democratic institutions I mean courts (independent judiciary), laws, reporters, (free press), elections, prosecutorial discretion, Congressional oversight, etc.
I'll include truth itself.
2/ Trump is a literal wrecking ball. He has openly declared war on democratic institutions and batters them at every opportunity. (He calls them the “deep state.”)

Recall that a goal of Active Measures is to cause people to lose faith in democratic institutions.
3/ Whisper campaigns are just dangerous. By whisper campaign I mean campaigns like this:

🔹All politicians are corrupt
🔹Democracy failed
🔹Why bother voting?
🔹There's nothing we can do, and
⭐️We may as well give up now because it’s all over; we're already in an autocracy.
4/ There is a fine line between healthy concern that motivates people to get involved, volunteer, and do their part to save democracy, and despair-mongering and institution bashing that causes people to shut down and give up—and further damages institutions.
5/

Q: So how do we counter a direct attack on our institutions?

A: By becoming an institutionalist.

What the heck is an institutionalist?

It is person who likes (and defends) institutions.

I’ll pause here to tell you that I spent my legal career criticizing institutions.
6/ I’ve argued in court that prosecutors over-reached, that searches were illegal, etc.

In fact, I wrote this book👇 offering a critique of our criminal justice system.

As a progressive, my goal is to improve our institutions.

Being run by mere human beings, they are flawed.
7/ But what’s happening now is something else: An effort to destroy our institutions altogether.

Most people actively undermining our democratic institutions right now would miss them when they’re gone.

They don’t know what it’s like to live in a country that has none.
8/ My husband and his family experienced the Pinochet dictatorship. From the experience of people close to me, I say to anyone who is undermining our institutions: Stop it now.

Semantics matter. Words matter.
9/ In a healthy, functioning democracy there isn’t much harm if a band of people go around saying “all politicians are corrupt” or “our courts are completely corrupt" or "we need to burn it all down and start over."

But right now, our institutions are under siege.
10/ Many of our institutions are teetering on the brink. The more damage done now, the longer they will take to rebuild

So we have to do everything we can to preserve them.

That's why "Defend Institutions" is #2 on Timothy Snyder’s list for how to fight against tyranny👇
11/ Apparently, in some quarters, “institutionalist” is a nasty name to call someone:

I received this criticism 👇from someone who claims to be on the political left.

“Swift decisive action” is very difficult in system with so many built-in checks and balances.
12/ It’s these checks and balances that are slowing the Trump-bulldozer.

This person claims👇to be frustrated that his candidate didn’t win the primary.

(I don't think he's really a Democrat😉)

(My preferred candidates so rarely win primaries that I suspect my vote is a jinx)
13/ The problem with democracy is that—in addition to being slow grinding work—we have to compromise and usually don’t get our way.

Hence the appeal of autocracy: An autocrat always gets his own way.

The autocrat doesn't have to compromise. The autocrat can be a “purist."
14/ Steven Levitsky (co-author of How Democracies Die) explains that it’s best to treat this transition like an earthquake👇

https://twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield/status/1246866153533657088

There is much rattling and shaking as a minority party tries to hold onto power by attacking the very institutions of democracy.
15/ The way to respond to an earthquake isn’t to put more pressure on the weakened structures.

Instead, you rush to strengthen and prop up the structures so that there will be less rebuilding later.

You become an institutionalist.

OK, so, how do you do that?
16/ Get busy. Find a voter protection organization and join. Turn our anxiety and outrage into action.

When courts made terrible decisions, say, “This was a terrible decision. We need to win the next few elections so that we can get better judges onto the courts.”
17/ Don’t say, “our courts are so corrupt, it's all over."

Semantics matter.

If you persuade enough people to give up, it WILL be all over.

Remember: the GOP is fighting tooth and nail because they are a shrinking minority with an unpopular agenda. https://twitter.com/Teri_Kanefield/status/1246865888252325888
18/ If you feel discouraged, listen to Taylor Swift👇

She knows the demographics are on our side, and people are angry and eager to vote these democracy-bashers out, so it’s just a matter of time.

Swift knows how to turn outrage to action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=GJU-S1t2r1M&feature=emb_title
19/ This kind of question often comes from unrealistic expectations. Consider, for example, what would have happened if the Democrats had lost the midterms and the GOP held the House.

For one thing, Operation Ukraine Shakedown would have succeeded. . . https://twitter.com/toddcudd/status/1248996831180267520
20/ . . . we would have never learned the truth. Instead, because of the procedures and institutions, the underhanded dealings have been exposed.

Look at all the people who came forward to expose the deception.

The single most important "institution" of Democracy is Truth.
21/ I had that one, but ran out of room. I probably should have kept it and bumped one of the others, because we'll see a lot more of it.
https://twitter.com/demsfightnwords/status/1248998420972548101

Nobody who watched the Impeachment hearings can say such a thing.

Nobody who cares about the truth can say it.
23/ . . .deny the legitimacy of a democratic process.

It's also naive about what a corrupt election looks like. My husband had to vote for Pinochet or suffer consequences.

"Corrupt" is a dangerous word, and I advise people to be careful with it right now.
Here you go
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