A Republic if you can keep it

The following are excerpts from what I believe is a very relevant and important article and sadly very accurate. Will anyone listen to the message or will we continue to be driven by misinformation?

Are you guilty of playing the misinformation game? Do you pass along information from questionable, biased, hoax sources? Do you bother to check for facts before accepting what you want to believe?

Jimmy Carter: I Fear for Our Democracy

Jan. 5, 2022

By Jimmy Carter

Mr. Carter was the 39th president of the United States.

Politicians in my home state of Georgia, as well as in others, such as Texas and Florida, have leveraged the distrust they have created to enact laws that empower partisan legislatures to intervene in election processes. They seek to win by any means, and many Americans are being persuaded to think and act likewise, threatening to collapse the foundations of our security and democracy with breathtaking speed. I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally — the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power — has become dangerously fragile at home.

For American democracy to endure, we must demand that our leaders and candidates uphold the ideals of freedom and adhere to high standards of conduct…

…First, while citizens can disagree on policies, people of all political stripes must agree on fundamental constitutional principles and norms of fairness, civility and respect for the rule of law. Citizens should be able to participate easily in transparent, safe and secure electoral processes. Claims of election irregularities should be submitted in good faith for adjudication by the courts, with all participants agreeing to accept the findings. And the election process should be conducted peacefully, free of intimidation and violence…

…Third, we must resist the polarization that is reshaping our identities around politics. We must focus on a few core truths: that we are all human, we are all Americans and we have common hopes for our communities and our country to thrive. We must find ways to re-engage across the divide, respectfully and constructively, by holding civil conversations with family, friends and co-workers and standing up collectively to the forces dividing us…

Lastly, the spread of disinformation, especially on social media, must be addressed. We must reform these platforms and get in the habit of seeking out accurate information. Corporate America and religious communities should encourage respect for democratic norms, participation in elections and efforts to counter disinformation…

Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.

New York Times 1-5-22


  1. Sorry, Al,
    There is absolutely no credible evidence that illegals and dead people voted in sufficient numbers to invalidate the election (or which party they voted for). There are numerous examples of those who publicly claim election fraud, but privately admit Biden won fair and square. A pox on their houses.

    Missing from the excerpts above…
    “Second, we must push for reforms that ensure the security and accessibility of our elections and ensure public confidence in the accuracy of results. Phony claims of illegal voting and pointless multiple audits only detract from democratic ideals.”

    Secure AND accessible. Not phony restrictions based on the Big Lie that make voting more difficult for target groups. The 2020 elections have been called the most secure in history.

    The problem, of course: “…Lastly, the spread of disinformation, especially on social media, must be addressed. We must reform these platforms and get in the habit of seeking out accurate information.”

    There’s the rub. Who gets to decide what’s true and what isn’t?

    Quote of the year: “Someday, Trump will be gone, but your dishonor will remain.”


    1. Thank for posting that. The Big Lie is so destructive and should be challenged/refuted at every opportunity. It is a true threat to our democracy and way of life. Yes, the question about how to address social media and disinformation, and still conform with our principles of free speech, is fiendishly complex, and perhaps not even possible to solve. And with AI and the capability to easily make fake videos and audio, it may get even worse. I have seen a lot of research on this subject, and until now there really hasn’t been an effective proposal on how to mitigate the threat of misinformation, especially when many people voluntarily choose to put themselves in a bad information bubble, such as the election deniers.


    2. As I see it, the problem was that the courts and politicians never allowed an in depth verification that the vote was proper. Apparently, a very high percentage of Americans do not believe it was an honest election, including a good number of democrats. Whether you believe it was an honest election or not, given the number of people who believed it wasn’t a valid election should convince you to let it be examined to allow the citizens to have faith in the process. Between rule changes not approved by state legislatures, dubious counting and attempts to prevent observers from observing the counting, I have a hard time in believing the results. Without a belief that this country can hold fair elections, I fear this country will not survive for very long.


  2. Have you followed the release of the “Twitter files”? The Hunter Biden laptop “Russian Disinformation”, or now the COVID-19 lab leak theory? The truth was being stifled by disinformation from the government practically embedded in the media. I fear any attempt to fix social media – the cure would be worse than the disease.


    1. RDQuinn: “…Do you pass along information from questionable, biased, hoax sources? Do you bother to check for facts before accepting what you want to believe?”

      Did you actually read the DOE report, or the seven other agencies assigned to look into the source of Covid?

      There is no smoking gun.


      1. No. But I’ve read Matt Ridley on the subject. There was a concerted effort to label anyone who thought it may have been from a lab leak as a conspiracy kook, a science denier, etc. That was the disinformation. The Hunter Biden laptop story. Have you read Clapper’s walk back on this?


      2. “…The truth was being stifled by disinformation from the government…”
        “There was a concerted effort to label anyone who thought it may have been from a lab leak as a conspiracy kook, a science denier, etc.”
        “That was the disinformation.”

        I haven’t read the same sources you have, obviously, but I think it is much more nuanced. What you call the “truth” rightfully should be countered if questionable. I just glanced at the Politico article on Clapper. The letter was very carefully written from the start to NOT claim that the e-mails were Russian, though they bore all the earmarks of such. It’s called truth. We cannot prove it is Russian, so will not claim it.
        The trouble comes when someone reads speculation and repeats it as gospel. Someone posted a few weeks ago that the CDC says masks do not prevent the spread of Covid. CDC never said that. Neither did the recent Cochrane Review. Close, but no cigar.


  3. In my opinion, this article could be considered a politically biased example of disinformation.

    Jimmy Carter may have been a great former president, but his inability to listen to advisers and admit that his way might not be the best way led to a failed presidency.


      1. Perhaps he considers the article disinformation because it doesn’t agree with his viewpoint. The irony of the real disinformation issue that former President Carter is referring to, is that it is completely self selected, ie people plainly prefer openly biased sources of media, like Fox News, because it is more important to them to have their views reinforced than to be confronted with hard truths that make them uncomfortable. Then the echo chamber takes them further and further from reality and you end up with a whole party openly trying to overturn our democracy. And the same danger is clear on the extreme left wing as well. I think this voluntary selection of disinformation is the greatest threat to our peace and prosperity. It prevents solutions to important issues like social security and consistently results in crises like the upcoming debt ceiling.


      2. Yes, he was wrong. Ensuring fair elections by CITIZENS is not a threat to democracy… cheating in elections is by using the dead or illegals is.


  4. The discord in America is not just about elections and Democrat versus Republican. If it were that simple it could be dealt with much easier. There are great divides among religious and non religious, enforcing laws versus not enforcing laws, maintaining discipline in schools versus relaxed enforcement, and attitudes over what behavior is acceptable generally. The political side is a product of all this division.
    It’s not so much misinformation as much as what one believes is the way things should be.


  5. Out of habit, my first thought was to check the authenticity of the quotes, no offense, then read the entire original opinion in context. Not quite so easy because I don’t subscribe to NYT.

    Even though the opinion confirms my inherent “bias”?

    One thing that popped out was the irony that Carter was a (nonviolent) election denier himself…

    “I personally encountered this threat in my own backyard in 1962, when a ballot-stuffing county boss tried to steal my election to the Georgia State Senate. This was in the primary, and I challenged the fraud in court.”

    And ultimately won the seat. The rest is history.


  6. Thank you for posting this. One of our greatest Presidents and absolutely amazing what he did after he left the White House also.


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