Letter from the editor: In 2022, democracy is at stake

I thought about it a lot last year what a modern manifestation of fascism in America might look like, and I decided that while I can’t give you a solid definition, I can give you examples. It’s like this other thing – you know it when you see it – and over the last year (the past five years, really) we’ve seen fascism take shape here as much as I’ve personally thought about it. the way I define an interpretation of fascism in our 21st century society.

That is to say, we have seen a lot of what amounts to fascism.

The year 2021 started with an attempt Rebellion in Washington DC, where disgruntled Trump supporters rampaged through the nation’s Capitol building, attempting to stop the congressional vote count to assert Joe Biden as the country’s 46th president. Democracy took place that day, but, as we learn, it was held by such a thin thread that there is not much to keep it from breaking the next time a Trumpster, or Trump himself, will want to steal an election. We might have Mark Meadows’ moron number this time around, but what’s stopping someone less awkward from successfully reversing that American experiment?

To say that democracy is faltering is to adopt an optimistic point of view; in some ways it’s already collapsing. This year, Texas enacted an abortion law so extreme that academics noted its deep roots in what we would traditionally recognize as fascist states, Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini. The US Supreme Court – a conservative 6-3 majority even though two Republican presidents who appointed five of those conservative justices lost the popular vote – refused to block the law. The tribunal looks set to overthrow Roe vs. Wade next summer.

And, locally, Wake County Public Libraries have just taken the drastic step of banning a graphic novel aimed at teenagers that explores LGBTQ relationships. It’s been a year dedicated to suppressing academic free thought in some circles, and I don’t think I need to remind anyone who bans or burns books who espouse ideas they don’t agree with.

The year to come, at this moment, promises to be bleak. The third wave of the pandemic threatens, disinformation rages like wildfire, forest fires rage like wildfire as the planet warms and democracy is on the brink of precipice. It’s hard to find anything positive to say.

My wish for the New Year is that Congress, if it can muster the political will to do nothing else, pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. While it does not fix gerrymandering in states and Congress, the bill will at least protect voters from unfair, racist and undemocratic attacks on their rights. Despite the recent setbacks, I still have high hopes for the passage of the Build Back Better bill and, less realistically (or more idealistically), for the abolition of filibuster and the expansion of the Supreme Court of the United States. But I don’t get carried away.

I’ll close by saying, at a time when conspiracy theories and disinformation are rampant and elected officials are less responsible than they probably have ever been in recent history, the Fourth Estate — journalism you can trusted and trusted, especially at the local level — is essential to sustaining something resembling a democratic society. Your support for our work through our Press Club is invaluable, and I sincerely thank you all for your contributions. I expect some changes to INDY in the new year, which I intend to share with you as soon as possible.

In the meantime, thank you for reading me. I hope that despite everything, you all have a safe, happy and prosperous year 2022.

Support local independent journalism. Join the INDY press club to help us maintain the viability of intrepid reporting and essential arts and culture coverage in the Triangle.

Follow Editor-in-Chief Jane Porter on Twitter or send an e-mail to [email protected].

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