This is part of an ongoing essay that will try to find a way through our current political crisis to a peaceful resolution. I don’t offer final answers, just suggestions, so please feel free to comment.
Does democracy work? It’s a fair question, though rarely addressed. In America we take it as an article of faith more than anything, that democracy is the best form of government there is (“except for all the others,” perhaps, attributed to Winston Churchill). But really, does it work? Can deep moral problems be resolved by a majority vote? Can a democratic leader govern a divided population?
When I say divided here, I do not mean in the manner of a disagreement over policy, funding, or even administrative competence. I mean a deep division over purpose and mission.
Can we have a simultaneously secular and religious state?
The answer that seems right to me is: not within a single institution. It will be one or the other, and the dream that the religious and secular people will reconcile if only a majority has decided the matter, can never be realized. What this means is you cannot have a mutually satisfactory union with one another. There must be a separation: of church and state, yes, but also of church state and free government.
Until this is realized, however, there will be an internecine war between the two parties. Each will try to win a majority of the vote, but if that is not obtainable, to destroy the vote, because to lose is unacceptable for either side if they are going to be forced to finance the other’s establishment and so pay for their own perceived subjugation.
What has happened is the Republicans, representing the pharisee religious state, went to war first.
Knowing they cannot hold a majority to rule, they have wrecked the vote.
Please read Brad Friedman for more.