Today, Russia invaded Ukraine. This quote, from Anne Applebaum's Twilight of Democracy surfaced in my notes. As we watch another Authoritarian regime attempt to destroy and occupy an independent, democratic nation, as we remain hopeful the western world can work together to undermine the effort, the quote seems fitting.
To some, the precariousness of the current moment seems frightening, and yet this uncertainty has always been there. The liberalism of John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson, or Václav Havel never promised anything permanent. The checks and balances of Western constitutional democracies never guaranteed stability. Liberal democracies always demanded things from citizens: participation, argument, effort, struggle. They always required some tolerance for cacophony and chaos, as well as some willingness to push back at the people who create cacophony and chaos. They always acknowledged the possibility of failure—a failure that would change plans, alter lives, break up families. We always knew, or should have known, that history could once again reach into our private lives and rearrange them. We always knew, or should have known, that alternative visions of our nations would try to draw us in. But maybe, picking our way through the darkness, we will find that together we can resist them.