by Nebojsa Malic
Nebojsa Malic is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger
and translator, who wrote a regular column for
Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer
Follow him on Twitter @NebojsaMalic
FILE PHOTO © Global Look Press
Having changed drastically since its founding, America's continued
existence rests on the system of government created by its
Constitution. If that is sacrificed on the altar of power, there
will be no country left.
The US is obviously a drastically different place in 2020 than it
was in 1776, when thirteen colonies declared their independence from
the British crown.
Yet for all the dramatic
changes in the shape and size of the country, the number and
diversity of people living in it, or the technology they have at
their disposal, it is still "America" because it maintains
continuity of the political system set up in 1789.
Joe Biden, who is about to declare himself president-elect,
has himself made a reference to this, calling,
"democracy" in the US
a "system of governance that's been the envy of the world" for
over 240 years...
So it's a supreme irony
that his election may well be the wrecking ball that demolishes the
last vestiges of what's holding the country together.
Politics and sports arose as a way of settling disputes between
people without violence.
Both rely on rules that
all participants accept and abide by, and a sense of elementary
fairness in how they are applied.
When one side
perceives - and perception these days is 90 percent of reality -
that the rules are being broken, the implicit "social contract"
is violated and the system becomes unstable.
Everything may be fair in
love and war, but there are things that are definitely
off-limits in politics and sports.
For the past four years,
however, we've witnessed every rule, norm and even law thrown out
the window, in the relentless effort to delegitimize the 2016
A lesser country
would have long devolved into civil war.
Thanks to the
American system, which promises redress of grievances in a
public forum and at the ballot box, the US has managed to avoid
such an outcome.
That is, until now.
It is certainly tempting
to wave off the concerns about the election, voiced by President
Donald Trump and many
Republicans, as "conspiracy theories" and baseless accusations.
Trouble is, people
declaring that, are the same people that spent the past four years
insisting on 'Russiagate.'
Now they want evidence
for anyone else's claims about anything?
While partisan press is nothing new in the US, the concentration of
both legacy and social media power in the hands of a few
corporations - whose executives and employees are nakedly partisan
and don't bother to hide it - is not helping things.
Nor is the press abandoning their watchdog duty to be guard dogs for
one political party, or preventively declaring anything the side
they dislike says to be "disinformation" and "lies."
That doesn't serve to
persuade anyone, but rather to intimidate the dissenters into
silence and obedience.
There are more disturbing signs that the system is falling apart.
The crackdown on
ideas, thoughts and words lacking Official Approval, already in
evidence over the past year or so, has ramped up over the past
several days, all in the name of "protecting democracy."
censoring the people who are supposed to elect their rulers, to
save them from… themselves?
Just a few years back,
the majority of both Democrats and Republicans defended the
surveillance and invasions of Americans' freedoms imposed under the
on Terror' with the facile argument that innocents should
have nothing to hide.
Now, suddenly, calling
for transparency and accountability when it comes to counting votes,
is evil and unacceptable.
How many countries
has the US sanctioned and "regime-changed" citing statistical
discrepancies in their election results?
Yet anyone so much as
suggesting that the numbers coming out of certain cities in the
middle of the night aren't pure as driven snow is vanishing into the
In their Declaration of Independence, America's founders
wrote that governments derive,
"their just powers
from the consent of the governed."
Right now, there is a
not-insignificant number of Americans on both sides of the political
fence growing inclined to withdraw that consent.
Controversies over this
election are just one of the causes for that.
Recall that hundreds of thousands of people have marched over the
past four years - and this summer in particular - questioning the
legitimacy of their government.
A small but growing
minority of them has called for a "revolution" and their chants
called for "no USA at all."
Research has shown that revolutions tend to happen not
when things are bad, but when there are "rising expectations" and
people believe things aren't improving quickly enough.
revolutionaries will really "settle" for President Biden or
President Harris, or will they push for their utopia even harder, is
a question no one seems to be asking, much less trying to answer.
To borrow Biden's
response when he was asked about some of these rioters, America at
this point is,
"just an idea," a
thought given form through the Constitution and the consent of
its 300 million deeply divided inhabitants...
Experience has shown
"mankind are more
disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right
themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are
wrote in 1776 - in the very document seeking to explain why they
Right now, with identity politics and partisanship running rampant,
what's holding the US together is that enough people still believe
in the system and think that the political contest is fair and can
be appealed in the next election cycle.
What happens when
enough people, of whatever political persuasion, decide that is
no longer the case?
Then again, what do I know?
Only that my country of
birth was held together by a cult of personality and a political
system, only to collapse in a bloody civil war when both of those
caved in and people who cared only about power decided the rules
didn't matter anymore.