This is an answer to a good friend who thinks we have crossed a watershed in the history of our republic:
Wisdom comes from knowledge which comes from painfully acquired information about reality—facts. Since, as you say, you have little knowledge of the current political scene and even less of history, your concerns do not really involve rational thought but are a reflection of depression, and unfortunately, this is a mental condition that leads the sufferer to be happy to see, as the French say, “tout en noir”, all in black.
Let me be very blunt to the point of saying what will seem cruel. The fiction of democracy encourages the subjects of democratic states to think they have a voice, when they don’t. You reap what you sow. You sow the wind you reap the whirl wind. Americans, step by step for 150 years have repudiated the foundations on which the revolutionaries of 1776 and 1787 hoped to build a republic. The cynical Franklin doubted it would work, and the idealistic Jefferson knew it would only work if American households were economically independent, did not depend on government, did not lust after wealth and luxury, and were content to leave other people the hell alone. None of this happened. As a culture, this country is not worth saving. As a travesty of republican government, it has been a monster of corruption at least since the 1860’s. As an Empire it has wrought death and destruction around the planet. If we can salvage something that will permit our grandchildren to live in peace, if they mind their own business, that would be a great triumph, and it does not matter which party is in power or who wins which election.
Put very simply: You are wrong, completely wrong, on every simple point, and the error springs partly from lack of knowledge but even more from a melancholic condition that is the inevitable result of naive optimism. You are like the man who falls in love with a prostitute. Friends tell him what she is really like, but he won’t believe them. She’s really cute and very sweet, and after they are married, when she goes back out on the street because it gives her a kick to manipulate men and see them grovel, he has a broken heart.
This is cruel, but you have two choices. Either buckle down and study—philosophy, literature, and history—or be content to cultivate your own garden.