accidental anarchists

I've found the phrase which describes my present political posture. "Accidental anarchist." It's an interesting development for a democrat.

In "The Big Chill," a piece which appears only in the print edition of the current The Nation, Alisa Solomon examines the erosion of our right of dissent. In the article Gerald Horne, a professor at the University of North Carolina, tries to explain the demoralization of American youth in this environment where any opposition seems downright futile. He says we have been all been left accidental anarchists, with "no electoral vehicle through which to express dissent." This is the consequence of the reconfiguration of our judiciary by decades of Reagan-Bush, the failure of the opposition party to rise to the occasion and [my addition] the disaster of a compliant mainstream press.

Solomon comes close to despair herself. While recalling the chants heard in the February and March demonstrations, "This is what democracy looks like," she warns:

But that can't be all that democracy looks like. It takes powerful civic institutions to provide checks and balances, meaningful enfranchisement and vigorous open debate to make democracy function.

. . . .

Historically, civil libeties have sprung back to full force when hot or cold wars have ended, thanks in large part to the perseverance, or the resuscitation, of the press, the courts and the opposition party. But in an open-ended "war on terrorism," the day when danger passes may never come. Even if it does, the democratic muscle of the courts, the press and the opposition party - already failing so miserably to flex themselves - may be too atrophied to do the heavy lifting needed to restore our fundamental rights and freedoms.

So, is anarchy to be our last refuge now that the U.S. has discarded democracy?