Will 2023 Be a Watershed Year for America?

A vague memory of a relevant Thomas Jefferson quote kept preying on my mind as I was reading about the Dominion v. Fox News litigation.  After some research and I found it on the Internet: “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.” 

I do a lot of thinking about how well-informed Americans are these days and frequently wonder if they will be perceptive enough to recognize the “far wrong” things and diligent enough to correct them.  Well, many of these things are occurring this year, in Republican state governments, in Congress and in courts.  As a result, I believe the end of this year is almost certain to find us dealing with enormous change.  The extent to which Americans stay informed on critical issues – even though they may be depressing – could determine if America’s future will be brighter … or darker.

A critical step toward affirming the rule of law was taken in a Manhattan court room.

The allegations of criminal acts committed by former president Donald Trump are numerous and stunning: fraud in his business dealings, election interference in Georgia, obstruction of justice in the handling of classified government documents, seditious conspiracy related to the January 6 insurrection and more.  His status as a former president and his candidacy in 2024 have made indicting him politically challenging.  Fortunately, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg took the first step by indicting Trump for falsifying business records to conceal criminal conduct.

House Republicans, however, are attempting to harass and intimidate Bragg and his staff, even holding a Judiciary Committee hearing in Manhattan near Bragg’s office.  How the public reacts to Republicans defending Trump will indicate if they believe the former president is above the law or not.  It could also influence other pending indictments and establish how strongly the rule of law is upheld in the United States, which is hugely important. 

How can Americans stay well-informed when continuously fed misinformation?

Shortly after the 2020 election, several Fox News hosts began supporting conspiracy theories that Dominion voting machines had rigged the election against then-president Trump.   Dominion sued the network for defamation, seeking damages of $1.6 billion.  Fox claimed that it was merely reporting newsworthy allegations by Trump and his supporters.  But their hosts’ nightly barrage of false and misleading support of Trump’s big lie caused millions of Fox viewers to be misinformed and angry, which probably helped incite the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Dominion’s lawyers had a very high bar to clear in proving that Fox presented false information with “actual malice.”  But written exchanges among Fox executives and several primetime hosts that were made public in Dominion’s court filings, along with deposition testimony, provided strong evidence that Fox network employees acted with reckless disregard for the truth, which implies the requisite malice.

On the first day of trial, however, Fox settled the case for $787 million, almost half of Dominion’s alleged damages.  But that huge amount didn’t end Fox News’ potential liability for spreading misinformation.  Smartmatic, another voting machine company, also has a defamation suit against the network for $2.7 billion in damages and members of the Capitol police and others may add to Fox’s litigation woes.

I believe Fox News and right-wing media have been grossly misleading their audiences for decades.  Well, the Dominion case has dramatically revealed how the premier player in their mendacity echo chamber disseminates false messages while believing the opposite to be true.  And pending litigation against Fox should further educate the public and make them more discriminating viewers in the future.  That’s a very good thing.

Default on U.S. debt poses the greatest threat to America this year

President Trump authorized trillions in deficits but Democrats supported three debt limit increases during his term without demanding offsetting tax increases or causing a crisis.  House Republicans, however, eschew such reasonable accommodations; they want massive spending cuts as their condition for allowing the nation to pay its bills.  And if the limit is not raised before August, the United States could default on its debt obligations for the first time in history. 

A default will crash the stock markets, depress the U.S. and global economies, lower the U.S. credit rating, seriously weaken America’s status in the world and play into the hands of China and Russia.  It will also cast a pall on the dollar, which many nations have treated like gold for decades.  In short, a default will have catastrophic economic consequences,

I am certain that some Republican representatives favor a debt default.  And they won’t relent unless concerned Americans adamantly object to their dangerous antics.  If they persist, however, no one will win their horrendous political game, least of all Americans, including most Republican voters. 

Today, I’ve included only a few “far wrong” things that should be attracting the people’s notice; far-right conservatives are pushing many more, including on guns, abortions, books, transgender medical care and many more.  And the Fox News misinformation machine is backing all of them.

Fortunately, the many suits against Fox are providing a wakeup call, cautioning Americans to disregard what Republicans and Fox News’ commentators are saying and pay very close attention to what they are trying to do.  The nation’s future depends on it.


PS: I have become concerned that my blog emails may end up in spam because of pictures I include.  That’s why I didn’t add one for this post.  If you have found one of my blog emails in spam please click on “not spam” or the equivalent in your email service.   If you haven’t received my blog email for over 30 days, please let me know with an email (eeldavis@aol.com).  This is the sixth blog post this year.

About eeldav

I am a retired corporate attorney who has lived in both Europe and Asia. While working my responsibilities took me to over 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
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2 Responses to Will 2023 Be a Watershed Year for America?

  1. vicky bell says:

    I just sent you comment but it looked like it didn’t go through. Let me know if you received.



    Sent from my iPhone


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  2. Fred says:

    We couldn’t agree more. As pointed out in NYT today by the father of AI, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, AI probably will only make the tidal wave of misinformation worse.


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