The End of America?

Being a great president has to do with a lot of things, but one of them is being a great cheerleader for the country. And we’re going to show the people as we build up our military, we’re going to display our military. That military may come marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. That military may be flying over New York City and Washington, D.C., for parades. I mean, we’re going to be showing our military. - Donald Trump

A few minutes from now, as I write, a man who is utterly unlike anyone who has ever served as President of the United States of America will ascend to that office. A know-nothing demagogue with an authoritarian worldview. A man intent on wrecking the institutions of American governance so that he can replace them with a system of personal vassalage, a machine to serve his own interests and those of his chosen circle. And if those interests include the destruction of the Atlantic Alliance and the postwar framework that has stabilized the world for almost 75 years, that will not trouble our new Caudillo.

Democracies are only as strong as their institutions, and if there is such a thing as American exceptionalism, it resides in the exceptional strength of our institutions – in the consensus understanding that, as John Adams put it, “We are a nation of laws, not of men.”

We are about to find out just how strong our institutions really are.

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