Last night I realized that Luke Harding had not mentioned another strong element of U.S. democracy, when he wrote (in his book Collusion) that Putin made a mistake when he interfered in our elections because he does not understand the United States:
Putin’s operation was bold, cocky even. It involved cyber hacking, fake Facebook accounts, and classic KGB techniques of deceit and cultivation. But it had backfired, you might argue. Kremlin officials often imagined America to be a mirror copy of Russia. They had a poor understanding of U.S. institutional politics. They failed to appreciate the separation of powers or the constraints on a president–any president. [My bolding]
How could I have forgotten our pro bono organizations committed to civil rights, human rights? The ones I donated to immediately after the 2016 election, because I felt they’d be our guerillas fighting Trump.
And they have been. The ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, Citizens for Ethics, a/k/a CREW, Common Cause, Planned Parenthood…and so many more. Public Citizen. The pro bono group, National Democratic Redistricting Committee, founded by President Obama and Eric Holder, working to take down gerrymandering.
So many more. Can you imagine any of them working untrammeled in Russia?
And what about the Attorneys General of our states, who it seems file lawsuits against the Trump administration on a daily basis? And win them–as Eric Schneiderman, New York’s AG, did the other day against Citizens United. And as did the AGs from a number of states who got federal courts to block the initial Trump travel ban.
And I continually think of the contrast between two particular forces. First, the Russian political protest group, Pussy Riot, who were whipped outside the Sochi Olympics venue by actual Cossacks, and have been imprisoned by the Kremlin for their actions.
Then, our own Women’s March in January 2017, and last month. We were not whipped and not imprisoned.
Women, and the way we are treated when we protest, exemplify the radical difference between Russia and the United States.
Putin is a thus. He knows only how to whip and imprison or murder protesters. He does not understand us Americans. He would not know what to do with us if we marched in the hundreds of thousands, and voted in the multi-millions, against him and his autocracy.
Which, really, is what we’re doing, aren’t we?