University Professor David Driesen’s important new book—”The Specter of Dictatorship: Judicial Enabling of Presidential Power” (Stanford, 2021)—reveals how the U.S. Supreme Court’s presidentialism threatens democracy and what the United States can do about it. To celebrate the publication of the…
‘The Coming Election and the Political State of Fugue’
Danielle Smith, professor of African American studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Renée Crown University Honors Program, wrote an op-ed for History News Network titled “The Coming Election and the Political State of Fugue.”
In the piece Smith argues that the American public is on the edge of collective fugue. Smith says a fugue is defined by extreme distress following an event, ultimately making one question their identity and values. Over the past four years, Smith feels that as an American public “our collective memory and awareness of who we are as a people and our shared aspirations to perfect our union appear to be at the point of dissolution.”
Smith attributes this dissociative mental state of the nation to a variety of unprecedented events: the COVID-19 pandemic, racism and police brutality, and the constant changes to government institutions such as the Supreme Court. “These seismic shifts nationally and internationally perpetuate our state of heightened anxiety,” says Smith.
Ultimately, Smith believes that the results of the 2020 election will either serve as a turning point for the nation or as a catalyst for further havoc. If the latter, Smith says “our system of checks and balances, the foundation of the American democracy, will be dismantled. Our identity and who we are as Americans and our aspirations for a perfect union will cease to exist. Our government will be so fundamentally altered from what we know it to be, that we will have entered a collective political fugue.”