Jim Clyburn Warns US at a ‘Crossroads’: Must Choose Wisely in 2020 to Avoid ‘Seeing the Demise of the Greatest Democracy Ever’


House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) warned that the United States stands at a “crossroads” and that its democratic system could be permanently jeopardized if the nation did not choose wisely during the rest of the year.

During an appearance on Anderson Cooper 360, Clyburn evoked the scenes of nationwide protests — most of them overwhelmingly peaceful — and police crackdowns in the wake of  the brutal police killing of George Floyd to discuss the fraught emotional and political state of the country right now.

“You’ve been involved in the Civil Rights movement your entire life,” Cooper noted. “We saw in city after city, people peacefully by and large protesting. What do you think? How does this moment feel to you?”

“A little bit surreal,” Clyburn replied. “When you look at what we’re doing back in the 1960s and ’70s for that matter, we really thought that, were we to succeed, that it would be moving on to the next chapter. And I thought that for a long time. But the more I studied history and the longer I lived, I began to see the realization that in this country, things move like a pendulum on the clock. They seem to go to the right for a while, then back left for a while, then back right.”

“I think that what we saw is when the country moved to the left and elected Barack Obama. There was this rush to get the country going back to the right. And, boy, did it go back to the right, and we elected Donald Trump,” Clyburn explained, before clearly alluding to the 2020 election and the prospect of President Donald Trump’s re-election. “I don’t believe that anybody realized at the time that the country was being pushed over the cliff. And I’ll tell you, what I feel today is that the future of this country is really at stake. I think that what has gone on, not just in the streets, but what’s going on in the White House leads me to believe, from my study of history, that this country is at a crossroads. And if we don’t choose wisely between now and the end of this year, I think that we are seeing the demise of the greatest democracy ever on Earth.”

“You believe the stakes are that high, that that is the alternative?” a somewhat taken aback Cooper asked.

“Yes, I do believe that,” Clyburn affirmed. “One of the reasons we study history is hopefully to understand what to do, what not to do going forward. I think it was George Santayana who said ‘If you fail to learn the lessons of history, you’re bound to repeat them.’ So the question is, have we learned any lessons of our history? We seem not to be learning any lessons. If we don’t learn them, then we’re going to repeat that. Anybody studied history at all will know that no matter how great the power gets, if you are not careful you can lose that. Now, I don’t know if Thomas Jefferson ever said it, but they always say that he said — I’ve done research and I can’t find where Thomas Jefferson ever said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Whether or not he said it, it is a truism.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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