Understanding what is at stake here is imperative. The discomfort we feel from simply considering the truth of this moment will be seen as serenity in the rearview should be choose to avoid it.

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In the distant future, roving minstrels passing through the hardscrabble villages will be singing tales about the strange and not-so-wonderful people of the fossil-fuel age who built the crumbling ruins dotting the landscape.

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Thom, a brilliant piece, especially in respect to the history of election rigging. I don’t think the answer for us, though, is to take to the streets fighting the Republican Party’s corruption. The Democrats are not currently engaged in election rigging, but they are equally as corrupt in serving not their constituents, but as agents for corporate/billionaire interests. Democracy is long gone. (You written about all this, too.) This is the root problem, so I have a modest suggestion to address it: a citizens’ tax revolt, refusing to pay federal taxes until restoring democracy is underway. That will be signaled by cutting the defense budget sufficiently to finance a generous program of guaranteed universal health care. After that we’ll continue paying taxes, but threaten to withhold them once more until Citizens United is overturned and corporate campaign financing prohibited by law.

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That's some word sorcery! Where we are as a species is beyond disappointing. I look at all the "things" we're capable of and see nothing but a fatal misdirection of potential.

Thank you for using the word minstrels.

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Thom's site is a Star Wars bar of roving minstrels. 🎸🎻🪕

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The biggest lesson I have taken away from the pandemic is predicting what our American society will or won't do is fruitless. And I might add that applies to my own behavior. I have had to check the length of my "fuse" from time to time. When things already suck, I don't want to make them worse for someone else.

There is a development between the 2000 election and those through to 2020. The lawyers have been working on this; they were there for Kerry if he had decided to continue. He is a lawyer too. As a matter of fact, Dan Quayle is a lawyer and so is Pence, perhaps that's why they both came to the same conclusion concerning the process and what is legal.

The law won't matter to the Proud Boys types or the Kyle Rittenhouse's of the right, but it will to some on that side. It most certainly will matter to the left, and our leaders won't be cheering on a civil war. And I would like to think I would be in the streets peacefully, but my lesson has taught me never say never.

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Hard truths.

Yup, this could get intense. And we think it's bad now? It could get so much worse if the normal patterns in history hold true today. Republicans are doubling down on insurgency and Trumpism, which is just another "ism" for fascism, plain and simple.

These remarkable historic events are actually happening during our turn stepping into the breach. The ultimate outcome is a-blowin' in the wind. And it's not much comfort to hear Pollyannish pundits -- stuck in the happy-talk, grade-school version of America in super-hero tights and cape -- play down the threat with their usual refrain, "Well, our nation has survived worse."

It's truly a wake-up call to even put that axiom into question. But never before has the Gordian Knot been so thick and tangled. It's doubtful even the mighty mythical Alexander the Great could slice through it this time. It's up to us to untangle the cursed situation we created, an exceedingly polarized nation deeply divided between fundamental truths and despicable lies. And in the real world, time is running out fast.

So how does one reverse the momentum of a revolution inspiriting crazy bastards by the tens of millions, predicated on one big lie, spawning hundreds of lesser lies, metastasizing and spreading in every direction?

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Great photo! The noble gray wolf, the top dog, ancestor of all canines. Call of the wild. Appropriate.

As the bad guys with guns mobilize their forces readying their final assault on our democracy next fall, the hapless protagonists of this tragicomedy are the naive fools actually trying to govern. Hah -- what a total waste of time. Valuable time! Infighting, wrongheaded, blunders, boondoggles, socialism, deficits, and ... INFLATION! OMFG!

Notice the pattern? Look at the left hand, not the right. Democrats this, Democrats that, Democrats should, Democrats shouldn't, Democrats, Democrats, Democrats -- it's all the buzz in DC, mostly negative, as usual. Meanwhile ... the Republicans are up to what?

Oh, who cares? That's old news, Rip Van Winkle. Yawn -- just Republicans being Republicans, the little rascals. No big deal. Don't exaggerate. It's just bad behavior that's expected from our friendly neighborhood domestic terrorists and insurgents, worshipping guns and death and unadulterated power. And who needs squeaky, pesky DemocRATS scurrying around underfoot anyway? What good are they? And, ah, so, now, let's get back to those damnable, worthless Democrats and stay focused -- THAT'S the real story.

No. It isn't.

The real story -- the biggest scoop of all time -- is the glaring fact of an honest-to-god coup happening right in front of our innocent cow eyes right here in the good old US of A by the once-upon-a-time Grand Old Party. And almost half the country is okay with that! JFC! Yet, right on cue, attracting eyeballs for advertisers, the corporate punditry class is all over the ineffectiveness (not entirely true) of Democrats in stopping the Great Mar-a-Lago Putsch.

Okay, sure, it's more entertaining watching Democrats fumble the ball, but that's just the side story. For what it's worth, their hearts are (mostly??) in the right place anyway. (Integrity should be 100% of any voter's consideration; nowadays though, with the internet, it seems perception is 100% of reality with so many malleable, spectator-only citizens.)

Peanut galleries aside, the big fat media finger should be pointing directly at Republicans and the seeds of election chaos they are sowing for the crops in 2022 and 2024: voter suppression, highly partisan vote-counting, extreme ink-block gerrymandering, targeting the weaknesses of the Electoral College (There are many .., actually, it's the whole stupid thing.), dark money, foreign influence, and, of course, lie your ass off about everything all the time in true Trumpian fashion.

Goddamn, scary! NOT entertaining at all!

And that's just to get in the door. Can you imagine the dystopian nightmare in store for the nation once this minority party of ruthless authoritarians somehow magically assumes the reins of power?

It's time for all good democrats (with a small d) to do more than just shudder to think about it. This analogy is overused, but, really, Winter Is Coming -- eleven months and some change before the next big battle with zombie wingers in the real-life Game of Thrones. This dire warning is also overused just about every election, but, REALLY, 2022 could very well decide the fate of 2024, thus, our 244-year-old democracy for several generations to come if indeed it can even last that long. (btw: The Articles of Confederation were adopted today, November 15, 1777.)

This is real, folks. We're in a war. Republicans are the bad guys. But we're Democrats, the good guys, and this is still just a political front, war by other means, Gandhiesque nonviolence, which is by far more effective than stooping to crude violence, in both the short term and the long term. So act accordingly, and "don't take your guns to town, son." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTAZ7xzZKAw (I wonder how many times Kyle Rittenhouse will hear versions of that song in prison when the lights are out?)

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There is a way around this, but I don't see most states doing it, certainly not in the time left. Each elector is tied to a specific Congressional district and must vote the way that district does. The two electoral votes tied to senators will go to whichever candidate gets a majority of electoral districts in that state, or be split if there's a tie. That would make the popular and electoral votes much fairer. It would end the winner take all situation we now have in all but two states. Ideally gerrymandering of districts would stop too, but I know that's a dream.

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