Mixed Results: We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.

Ok, while the Red Wave didn’t materialize, especially with Trump election deniers doing poorly, control of the Congress is still up for grabs[i]. A major factor was the fact that Republicans seriously underestimated the effects that overturning Roe Vs. Wade would have on voters[ii]. Yes, fears of crime and inflation were still concerns, but not as much as forecast. So, while there’s still hope for U.S. Democracy, it’s taken a serious beating internationally.

For instance, whereas in 1991 Canadians were evenly divided as to whether they or the U.S. had the better political system, last year only 5% preferred ours[iii]. Trump was the turning point.

The fact that millions of Americans voted for someone with clear Authoritarian tendencies was too much. Where once America was viewed as the vital defender of Democracy, if not its Guarantor, and thereby the preeminent model worldwide, it’s no longer held in high esteem. Indeed, in terms of providing Health Services, it’s ranked precariously low.

The fact that for so long Americans have viewed themselves as Exceptional has prevented us from learning from other countries, thereby hampering our adopting the best ideas from abroad. In short, we’re suffering from nothing less than Collective Myopia.

In the words of Kevin Casas-Zamora, former vice president of Costa Rica, and Head of the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance, “In general democracy has degenerated, it has become useless…It’s become more like anarchy. Unlimited tolerance for everything destroys the foundation of democracy.”

While I don’t believe that Democracy has become useless, given the state of Political Disorder and Polarization, we’ve become ripe for Anarchy.

Writing in Le Monde, Stephanie Foucart declared that political violence is just one of the many symptoms of a nation in decline. In particular, she decried the “tsunami of misinformation that drives Americans to take horse medicine and shun vaccines…”[iv]

[i] Nick Corasaniti, Reid Epstein, and Jonathon Weisman, “Big G.O.P. Losses in 3 Crucial States,” The New York Times, Thursday, November 10, 2022,PP A1 and P6.

[ii] Lisa Lerer and Elizabeth Dias, “Anger Over Abortion Rights Fueled Democrats,” The New York Times, Thursday, November 10, 2022. PP A1 and P2.

[iii] Damien Cave, “Allies Wonder Why America Can’t Fix Itself,” The New York Times, Wednesday, November 9, 2022, PP. A1 and A11.

[iv] “How they see us: Will political violence engulf the U.S.?” The Week, November 11, 2022, P 14.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He Is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid, Springer, New York, 2022.

Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash



Professor Emeritus USC

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