June 17, 2019 | Reading Time: < 1 minute

Taking Democracy for Granted

The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer is always a must-read. Last week, he wrote a piece in keeping with key themes in the Editorial Board. Black Americans did not abandon liberal democracy because of slavery, Jim Crow, and the systematic destruction of whatever wealth they managed to accumulate; instead they took up arms in two world wars…

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The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer is always a must-read.

Last week, he wrote a piece in keeping with key themes in the Editorial Board.

Black Americans did not abandon liberal democracy because of slavery, Jim Crow, and the systematic destruction of whatever wealth they managed to accumulate; instead they took up arms in two world wars to defend it. Japanese Americans did not reject liberal democracy because of internment or the racist humiliation of Asian exclusion; they risked life and limb to preserve it. Latinos did not abandon liberal democracy because of “Operation Wetback,” or Proposition 187, or because of a man who won a presidential election on the strength of his hostility toward Latino immigrants. Gay, lesbian, and trans Americans did not abandon liberal democracy over decades of discrimination and abandonment in the face of an epidemic. This is, in part, because doing so would be tantamount to giving the state permission to destroy them, a thought so foreign to these defenders of the supposedly endangered religious right that the possibility has not even occurred to them. But it is also because of a peculiar irony of American history: The American creed has no more devoted adherents than those who have been historically denied its promises, and no more fair-weather friends than those who have taken them for granted (my italics).

Thoughts?

—JS

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition open and available to all. Find him @johnastoehr.

1 Comment

  1. realsaramerica on July 30, 2021 at 7:48 am

    I wrote this three years ago after reading Deborah Eisenberg’s introduction to Gregor Von Rezzori’s Memoirs of an Anti-Semite. Living in Greenwich, CT, I see and hear the “malignant hazard of privilege” on a regular basis. Remind me to tell you about the questions I ask during school author visits that help me learn about the prejudices of my audience in a roundabout and subtle way. http://sarahdlittman.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-malignant-hazard-of-privilege.html

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