What is democracy?

A form of government in which the citizens retain the power to determine their own self-destruction.

What does democracy look like?

This is what democracy looks like: it’s kind of pear-shaped. It also sometimes resembles a likeness of the Virgin of Guadalupe on a grilled cheese sandwich.

How does democracy work?

Not so great, it turns out.

What are some alternatives to democracy?

Winston Churchill is famously credited with declaring “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Among those are Survivor, Shark Tank, and The Apprentice.

What are the origins of our democracy?

American democracy was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by the founding fathers. The founding fathers took some of their cues from as far back as the ancient Greeks. The ancient Greeks came up with democracy because they needed a way to create an illusion of order and fairness during orgies.

What is happening to our democracy right now?

Basically, it’s slowly dissolving in a corrosive sludge of human nature, fate, and karma.

How did we get to this point?

Culture wars, the internet, six-dollar coffee, 90 Day Fiancé.

Can this possibly be what the founding fathers had envisioned?

Hard to say. It’s easy to romanticize their lofty ideals of liberty, justice, and penmanship, but just as easy to vilify them for hypocrisy, punting on slavery, and wearing powdered wigs during a Philadelphia summer. Best bet: they probably hoped for better, but wouldn’t be shocked.

Who’s responsible for the current state of our democracy?

It’s been a collective effort, so it’s hard to pin on any one group or individual; political leaders, the donor class and the media all share some blame. If you absolutely have to have a name, Marjorie Taylor Greene is as good as any in a pinch, but she’s really more of a product than a catalyst. Probably best just to look in the mirror.

Isn’t there anything we can do to turn this around?

Compromise, cooperation, and sacrifice might slow the decline, but they’re going to cut into your screen time.

What are our prospects for success if we do that?

I wouldn’t buy any green bananas.

Are you saying we can’t fix this mess even if we really try?

Absolutely not. But I’m betting you can’t fix this mess because you won’t really try.

Can we at least go back to the way things were?

If by “back to the way things were” you mean back to when only white men could vote, one slave equaled three-fifths of a citizen, and men wore powdered wigs, that’s exactly where it feels like we’re heading.

What comes next?

Not clear, but if history is any guide, nothing good. Likely more of the same, only worse.

Will it be scary?

Not scary enough, apparently.

How should we prepare for it?

I guess you didn’t hear me when I suggested compromise, cooperation, and sacrifice. OK, let’s see then. Ignorance, negligence, and denial are how we got here in the first place. How about self-medication, the fetal position, and 90 Day Fiancé?

Was this inevitable?

Of course not. Well, not exactly. Maybe a little. All right, yes. Totally inevitable.

How will we know when it’s over?

You won’t really ever “know” it’s over. You’ll just sort of gradually realize it after it’s too late. Much like the frog in the pot of water on the stove scenario.

At least we’re all in this together, though, right?

You are so cute.