American Democracy Fighting for Its Life

Thursday, the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection begins a series of public hearings aired on prime-time TV. Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne rightly observes that the Committee’s task is “to demonstrate that day’s viciousness was not some spontaneous outbreak of mayhem but an organized, radical and dangerous assault on democracy itself.”

The fate of our democracy may turn on how effective the Committee is to awakening a large element of the public to the enormity of the concerted effort by powerful figures in the Republican Party and their media and big money-supplying allies to overturn the 2020 election and, when necessary, future elections, thereby subjecting our country to authoritarian rule.

The house is on fire. Some are sounding the alarm. A lot of people are denying it. A lot of people are brushing it off as “partisan bickering,” or “polarization,” or more of the “same old, same old.” Would that it were nothing more than that.