Reviewing the pursuit of democracy within the U.S. on the anniversary of the 2021 Capitol riot.”Preserving Democracy: Pursuing a More Perfect Union” (2022 release; 116 min.) is a new documentary that takes a nuanced look at the experiment that has been and still is America’s democracy. As we see footage of the January 6 attack on the US Congress by mobs of Trump supporters hoping to overturn the 2020 US presidential election results, we are reminded by one of the (many) talking heads that this isn’t the first time our country has faced a revolt against a fairly elected president (when the southern states declared secession upon Lincoln’s presidential victory). But journalist Bill Moyers does point out that the events of January 6, 2021 are indeed this nation’s most important event since the Civil War. We then go back in time as we look how the Founding Fathers tapped various sources to concoct a unique brand of democracy: American democracy. At this point we are 10 min into the documentary.Couple of comments: first and foremost: if you assume that this documentary takes an in-depth look at what transpired on January 6, 2021, you might be wrong. The intent of this documentary is far broader than that, although the January 6 insurrection does come up, in particular in the last 45 min or so, more as a reminder that America’s democracy is is not as institutional as you might think/assume, and that in fact it is brittle. As Bill Moyers pointedly comments: “This is the dark side of democracy: it allows for free speech, including misinformation and yes, lies.” Which of course doesn’t make it right to do so. Resulting from Trump’s years’ wrecking ball on this country’s democratic institutions and rule of law (including of course the Big Lie), the documentary reminds us that the US is as of November, 2021 now listed by the leading independent think-tank IDEA as a “backsliding democracy”, in the same vein as Hungary and Poland. How do you like that? The documentary also reminds us that Germany’s history with democracy is riddled with pitfalls and outright failures, none more so than the democratic election on Hitler in the early 30s. The rest is history. It is a somber reminder that the same is possible right here in the US. What should’ve been the end of Trump a year ago, in fact was just the start of an all-out, no-questions-asked embrace by the GOP, once a respected mainstream political party, of Trump’s cult of personality, including the never-ending cesspool of lies and conspiracy theories, resulting in a massive wave of voter restricting laws in states ruled by the GOP. All because one man didn’t like the results of the 2020 presidential election. For shame, all of them.”Preserving Democracy” premiered on PBS on January 6, 2022, to mark the one year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, once of this country’s darkest and most shameful days. The documentary is now available on PBS On Demand and other streaming services, to be followed by a DVD/Blu-ray release. If you have any interest in the history of this country, and the precious nature of its democracy, I’d readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.
Stars : Kathleen Belew, Marcia Chatelain, Jelani Cobb, Kathleen Belew, Marcia Chatelain, Jelani Cobb
Genre : Documentary
Country : United States