An American Editor

October 18, 2013

Worth Noting: Republican Fears of Democracy

Filed under: Politics,Worth Noting — Rich Adin @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , ,

I realize that everything in Washington, DC is done with politics in mind, but this ploy by the Republicans seems to me to strike at the very heart of democracy. Although I disapprove of the Republican tactics to defund the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), I was at least willing to say that the basis was a philosophical disagreement. But after seeing this video, from the floor of the House of Representatives, and thinking about what it means, I wonder if the problem is less about health care and more about Republicans wanting to move our country away from democracy and toward authoritarianism.



  1. I subscribe to you for editing advice, not partisan politics.


    Comment by Cherie Peacock — October 18, 2013 @ 4:40 am | Reply

    • And I like to think I give you your money’s worth of editing advice. However, I am not one-dimensional and some things bother me. This is one of them. My advice is to ignore the political posts; there aren’t many of them. But if it bothers you enough, your other choice is to unsubscribe. Considering that subscription is free, I do not feel an obligation to limit myself to one topic.


      Comment by americaneditor — October 18, 2013 @ 4:47 am | Reply

    • Politics is language. The far right’s coded and (much) less coded language is a legitimate target of editorial scrutiny—it’s very hard not to be disturbed by it (read the comments on any right-wing blog or Facebook page and tell me there’s not much to comment on from an editorial point of view). I would think the crusade against affordable health care for the self-employed is also something that must deeply concern every freelance editor. Yes, you could unsubscribe; but as a thinking, logical person, you might also watch the video, and think about it with an open mind.


      Comment by Miranda Ottewell — October 18, 2013 @ 6:56 am | Reply

  2. Usually, I would have skipped this post. All this situation seems quite difficult to understand, and it now seems to be over (at least, until January, 2014). However, the end comment was so strong that I decided to see what it was all about.

    After watching the video, I must say you are right. It is a very present issue in some Latin American countries. Think Venezuela (although it is not alone in this respect). What happens when a democratically-elected majority changes (democratically, of course) the democratic rules that govern the country?

    I am Spanish editor, living in Uruguay, and I also subscribe to your blog for editing advice –and because I love the way you write about even such boring things as footnotes (smile).

    Thank you for an excellent blog.


    Comment by marcela — October 18, 2013 @ 6:17 am | Reply

  3. As an American living in Europe, I have been watching the American slide to the right with some dismay, and the current drift towards an anti-democratic, authoritarian government with trepidation. The idea that an idea that cannot be passed through democratic means can be forced on people through a threat to destroy echoes many of the worst aspects of human society.


    Comment by Linda J McPhee — October 18, 2013 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  4. Thank you for this blog post. I subscribe to your blog to enjoy your intellect and perspectives – as I would an intelligent, forward-thinking friend, which means I would never demand you restrict voicing your POV or would ignore or consider unworthy any topic that you chose to bring to my attention.

    It’s your blog. People who don’t want to hear your thoughts – about everything – can click off.

    My deep distress about the pervasive pomposity in this country is barely kept in check most of the time – so will rein in my irritation over anyone who would ‘scold’ you for speaking out about something that directly affects every person in this country.

    You do good – keep doing it.


    Comment by Maria D'Marco/TigerXglobal — October 18, 2013 @ 11:09 am | Reply

  5. I agree there is authoritarian thinking involved in right wing GOP politics. John W. Dean in his 2007 book Conservatives without a Conscience also argues that authoritarianism is an element, also accounting for the rise of Christian fundamentalism in politics. Those who like the security of one correct viewpoint–the so-called true believers–tend to drift to right-wing organizations and fundamental religion and even totalitarian regimes. I for one do not mind your writing on topics other than strictly editing. I hope you continue to offer your insights expressed in clear prose on any subject you see fit.


    Comment by oliviadiamond — October 18, 2013 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  6. The beauty of the i’net is that you can say whatever you like–for the time being, at least. Freedom of speech, or more to the point, the curtailment thereof, is certainly germane to editors and the editorial process. The extreme right wing of the GOP is treading dangerously close to the subversion of democracy, and this trend should concern all advocates of open, uncensored communication. This episode wasn’t about the ACA, it was about wresting control of the democratic process through bullying and extortion. The so-called “tea party” is much more Machiavellian than Jeffersonian and deserves to be called out for it.


    Comment by Aden Nichols — October 18, 2013 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  7. I have believed always, that Editors, and Publishers “control” what goes out their door to presentation, we critique, analyse, opinionate, and correct that which comes “in” the door.

    I myself write on topics out of my normal realm a lot . . . although it may offend some blindered purists who read me for a specific subject, the “real world” events from all around us do impact our sensitivities, and our ultimate opinion formulation, creating an always evolving, living impact on what goes out our door.
    Good Job, provacative, and of importance.



    Comment by Wha Zammo — October 18, 2013 @ 12:12 pm | Reply

  8. Wow, that’s quite a video! Actually, this is not just a political post — because parliamentary rules can be used by those who are skilled wordsmiths to either encourage participation and airing of all views or squelch minority, opposing viewpoints. On a smaller scale, I’ve served in groups and boards that use Robert’s Rules (modified for small groups) and have seen up close how these rules can be used in a positive way or, sadly, misused. To me, this is a responsibility especially on the shoulders of those of us who work with words for a living. Sometimes the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.


    Comment by Teresa Barensfeld — October 18, 2013 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  9. They do not like the rules, so they change the rules to suit themselves. This is, to use the venacular, “how they do”.


    Comment by Veronica — October 18, 2013 @ 11:07 pm | Reply

  10. I fear democracy (i.e., mob rule), too. I much prefer the constitutional republic we have (for now).


    Comment by Science Refinery (Lauren Meyer) — October 19, 2013 @ 4:24 pm | Reply

  11. This video is terrifying in a democracy. What are we coming to? Thank you for sharing it!


    Comment by Claire Meirowitz — October 21, 2013 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  12. I was tempted to just comment without watching the video because of my innate distrust of Republicans, but my better side won, and I watched. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. I think it’s not the whole Republican Party, but the fringe elements. What I don’t understand is why the majority of them don’t rise up and take their party back. The cynical snob in me says it’s just their blind jumping on the Palin and Cruz bandwagon mentality, but I don’t really believe that. I do really believe, though, that the fringe element wants a theocracy.


    Comment by VL — October 26, 2013 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

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