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America Sleeps While Democracy Dies

Updated on October 26, 2007

I was asleep until I read this book!!

The End of America: A Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf was published last month by Chelsea Green. It was actually written by Wolf as a heartfelt wedding gift to two young friends. As is often the case, the piece we write to a very small, specific audience has the widest appeal. This book is drawing political fans from the far right to the far left and all persuasions inbetween.


I personally have read this book four times this week. (And watched Wolf in a brilliant debate on C-Span at least that many times.) For those concerned about the direction we see our country headed, but are a bit rusty in our understanding of civics, this short primer is a no nonsense review of the steps that may alter American freedoms forever. Written by an outspoken advocate of Democratic liberties, Wolf sites hundreds of examples from the past and links them effortlessly to what is happening today.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands . . . is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison.

I must admit that I am as guilty as anyone at letting my civic duties slide. My company, Earth Angel Publishing, was founded on the importance of "independent thinking." I am ashamed of my lapse in the area of big government. First it was, "I just don't have time to read up on all the issues and seriously study all the candidates; after all, what difference will my one vote make??" Then as election day rolled around it was, "Well I am really too busy to vote today, I will do it next time." Next time never came.

Sure, I am an outspoken critic of current policies at dinner parties and cocktails by the pool. Aren't most of us?? But now I am asking myself, sincerely, what have I done to channel my political frustration into solid action??

I agree with Wolf; I have been so caught up in my own business, finances, life, family, friends, and fun that I really hadn't taken the time to connect all the dots. But if we don't start connecting the dots soon, all the wonderful opportunities that "seem" to keep us away from our citizenship responsibilities will be severely impacted.

Wolf passionately urges us to wake up: "We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the Founders asked us to carry." Wolf points to 10 steps that all societies go through when the powers-that-be try to grab even more power thereby curtailing all our democracy.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

2. Create a gulag

3. Develop a thug caste

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

5. Harass citizens' groups

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

7. Target key individuals

8. Control the press

9. Dissent equals treason

10. Suspend the rule of law

"As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe." Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America.

It does not matter to me if we share the same political views. My core belief includes the value of independent thinking. I respect all opinions that are borne of the rigors of self-reflection, honest debate and open perspective. Get involved!! Time is of the essence!!


I try very hard to make each and every Hub I publish original in thought and content. I apologize to HubPages and my readers anytime I inadvertantly step over the allowed boundaries. If you believe it is time for all of us to wake up, please consider giving this Hub a "thumbs" up and leaving a Comment below!! Maybe even become a Fan!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!


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  • Earth Angel profile imageAUTHOR

    Earth Angel 

    7 years ago

    Dearest Mib56789,

    America Sleeps While Democracy Dies

    Thank you so much for your insightful words! Yes, I think this book and subject are even more relevant today than they were a few years ago when first published!

    It is a short, but amazing book that cuts through so many levels and gets right to the core!

    The thing that woke me up was how many other societies throughout history have faced the same critical dilemmas and did not survive!

    America as a nation has many great qualities, but it relatively young compared to societies that are thousands of years old in Asia and Europe!

    As such, America at a little over 200 years is still considered an "experiment in democracy!"

    Personally I believe we are already so far off the mark from the original founding fathers, and I'm not sure we can get back to the first premise!

    I would like us to take the "good" parts from our founding fathers vision, add more "good" parts, and let the bad fall away!

    In order to do that, we have to wake up!

    Thank you so much for your kind insights!

    Blessings Always, Earth Angel!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Hello Earth Angel! I just found your HUB today. But I see from the comments it's been here for a while and since folks are still commenting it's clear the topic you picked is still relevant and folks got sumthin to say about it! So here's my two cents.

    You're right. Harlan Colt is very independent in his thinking. He's probably American. Not just American - but a typical everyday you can find them anywhere - thinking ALL American who believes in his freedom of thought and speech.

    Call me an an eternal optimist with blinders on. America is not going to move very far from the ideals the found fathers envisioned. That's my vision. Power grabbing and oppressed people uprising is nothing new in mankind's history. Did we honestly think it would never happen here in America? Cause if you did you're the one with blinders. It's always been happening!

    So here's the thing. There's enough in the history of the world to tell US what to do when this kinda stuff starts carrying on. So if we don't do what we gotta do, SHAME ON US! Right Joseph Thomas?

    When we do what we need to do to maintain checks and balances AND OUR FREEDOM, your 10-points (11 if you count Harlan's suggestion) will make a handy useful checklist for US to measure our progress.

  • Harlan Colt profile image

    Harlan Colt 

    7 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

    You are so kind in your replies, your slightest touch commands respect and friendship. Yes, I must say the feelings are quite mutual.

    I see how Earth Angel is a most appropriate handle for thee...

    - Harlan

  • Earth Angel profile imageAUTHOR

    Earth Angel 

    7 years ago

    Dearest Harlan,

    What a pleasure to meet you here on HubPages! You are quite interesting, well read and independent in your thinking! Qualities I look for and deeply admire in people!

    I will look up what you wrote!

    Blessings always, Your New Fan, EarthAngel!

  • Harlan Colt profile image

    Harlan Colt 

    7 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

    Good work though... technically we pledge allegiance to the Republic for which it(the flag) stands, not the Democracy for which it stands. America is not a democracy and never has been. I don't understand why the media consistently insists that it is. America is a representative Republic and the differences are not merely a casual preference of words, rather very important and substantial definition with regard to our own personal freedoms.

    However, my intent is not to give a lecture on Republic vs Democracy, rather it is to thank you for a fine read.

    If I may add to the list of power grabbing moves:

    11. Make every person in America at birth, a corporate entity and subject them to a legal system based on corporate/administrative law and not constitutional law, then you can ignore their rights in the court room and do with them as you see fit in all cases.

    Don't believe it? Got a Government ID? Is your name in all caps? Do some research and find out why your name is in all caps... you wont like what you learn.

    - Best Wishes

    - Harlan

  • James A Watkins profile image

    James A Watkins 

    9 years ago from Chicago

    Outstanding message. I see Mr. Torpey, in his comment above from two years ago, thought this meant wire-tapping terrorists was the problem, but today I think we are seeing this danger come into view against law abiding American citizens.

    I see this is an old Hub but it deserves to be resurrected. Well done. Thank you.

  • Earth Angel profile imageAUTHOR

    Earth Angel 

    9 years ago

    Thank you Joseph Thomas!!

    I so appreciate your positive comments!! I am a fan of Naomi Wolf and her outspoken insights into the country we all love!! I used her observations many times as I worked diligently with the undecided to help get Barack Obama elected!!

    I love the way Barack refers to history and the lessons learned so we don't repeat them!! He is a breath of fresh air!! I am confident that under his watch, and with each and every person's help, we at least have a shot at turning this crisis around!!

    Thanks again for stopping by!!

    Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

  • Joseph Thomas profile image

    Joseph Thomas 

    9 years ago

    Earth Angel,

    Nice article. Thanks for the reminder to say involved and up-to-date on our civics lessons.

    Those who don't study history, are bound to make the mistakes of the past!

  • Earth Angel profile imageAUTHOR

    Earth Angel 

    10 years ago

    Thank you so much Susan for your wonderful comments!!

    This Hub originally included all the reasons/examples behind the 10-Steps listed above - and it was shocking!!

    Unfortunately, that many quotes from one author, Naomi Wolfe, even though I gave her full credit as the author, triggered the "duplicate content" flag and I had to eliminate much of it!! At the time, I didn't understand as it took me three days to gather all the information!!

    Even though my intentions were pure - to promote Wolfe's book and get the message out there, my use of her work through too many quotes triggered the filters!!

    Now I understand, and agree, fully with how the HubPages system works!! They really work hard to protect the copyright of authors!! Which includes all of us!! As a publisher/artist myself, I sooooooooooooo applaude their watchfulness!!

    No, I am not familiar with Naomi Klein so I will be looking for her on Bill Maher today!!

    Again, I am sooooooooooooooo delighted you have joined HubPages!! Your independent-thinking is a breath of fresh air to many of us who joined HubPages for just that reason!!

    Keep writing!! Keep speaking your mind!! Keep sharing!!

    Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

  • SusanBonfiglio profile image


    10 years ago from Woodmere, NY

    Great hub! This article is as relevant today as the day you wrote it.

    I am a fan of Naomi Wolfe. She is so bright. Have you read The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein? She is also a very bright and engaging author.

    In fact, she is going to be on Real Time with Bill Maher this coming Friday (Sept 18th) on HBO.

  • profile image

    Charlie Bob 

    10 years ago

    Omit the comment above. I found the book and publisher just a few clicks down this page!

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I just saw Naomi Wolf interviewed by an Australian journalist. I've found several comments on her book here on the internet, but I cannot find a publisher listed anywhere -- no way to purchase the book for myself. Any help?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Earth Angel profile imageAUTHOR

    Earth Angel 

    11 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback INK!! This Hub on Democracy was actully much longer originally as I quoted Naomi Wolf on examples for each of the TEN erosions!! My Hub was then flagged for duplicate content and I had to pare it down!! The book is a short, and facinating read!! Blessings on your day!! Earth Angel!!

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    I agree with your sentiments, but reading those ten steps and recalling some of the things that were going on in the sixties and early seventies, it seems less like an erosion of long held freedoms than a return to "business as usual" after a brief respite.

  • Earth Angel profile imageAUTHOR

    Earth Angel 

    11 years ago

    Hi William!!

    Thank you so much for your comments!! I, too am shocked at how our democracy is being ever so slightly with each step moved toward the direction of people-in-power who want-more-power!!

    Years ago I dated a well known biologist from UC Berkeley and he introduced me to the "frog metaphor." It went something like this:

    If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will know enough to jump out immediately;

    If you put a frog into a pot of luke warm water, and bring it to a boil, it will boil to death.

    I have repeated this a million times in the last 20+ years as it is so concise about how many things happen . . . one degree at a time!!

    Blessings for your comments!! Earth Angel!!

  • William F. Torpey profile image

    William F Torpey 

    11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    An excellent and much-needed analysis of what's been happening for the past few decades, and especially the last seven years. I don't know what it will take to awaken America to this growing threat, but I do know that if we do nothing about it we will soon find ourselves living under fascism. The Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush also includes executive orders that virtually rewrite the Constitution. The Bush Administration also disregards habeas corpus, ignores legislation approved by Congress and uses government officials to politicize such agencies such as the attorney general's office. Bush not only took us into an illegal "pre-emptive" war in Iraq, but now is champing at the bit to bomb Iran. He may even declare martial law here and postpone the 2008 presidential elections indefinitely. Can we stop him? Or will we end up with George W. Bush as America's "president-for-life?"


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