Every so often, someone will wonder why the American people seem so disinclined to engage in the kind of paralyzing street demonstrations that occur in other countries. I think that to a certain extent, it stems from a recognition that our political institutions are so moribund and non-responsive that the returns would be negligible. Let’s say that peaceful demonstrators shut down every major city for a month — at that point, we might reasonably suspect that one or two “centrist” senators would vote for cloture on a bill they’d otherwise have fillibustered. Armed revolution would only get us as far as the moderate, sensible reforms that everyone has known about for forty years but we never get around to implementing. And somehow even outright Stalinism would fail to get us all the way to single-payer health care.
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