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Submitting my weekly column on the morning of the 2020 governmental election was surreal. Not as surreal as strolling to work through an apocalyptic cityscape of boarded-up structures.

No, this isn’t communist Cuba; this is Washington, D.C., the supposed center of the complimentary world.

Even more disquieting than the scenery is the knowledge that my own company, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (UrbanCURE), has been targeted by ShutDownDC, a left-wing group assuring to carry out vigilante justice if the election doesn’t play out to its liking.

According to The Daily Signal, a daily online newsletter from The Heritage Foundation, ShutDownDC has actually scornfully identified at least 27 conservative companies as “Trump boosters,” including well-respected partners of UrbanCURE– major policy institutes that have actually been in Washington for many years– such as The Heritage Structure and the American Enterprise Institute. ShutDownDC’s interactive map of “Trump boosters” has the prospective to make rage-fueled election riots more practical than ever.

On my walk to work, looking at the boarded-up structures, I chuckled to myself that I must have bought lumber stock. I couldn’t help sensation mournful over this sad state of affairs– that in 2020 America, election-related worry is identical to election-related fear routinely felt in Third World nations run by dictatorships.

When I composed my most recent book, “Necessary Noise: How Donald Trump Irritates the Culture War and Why This Is Good News for America,” released in November 2019, I knew that America was in difficulty. I didn’t prepare for the overwhelming worry that would grip our nation precisely one year later on.

From widespread panic about COVID-19 to protesters agitating entire police departments, the America we knew is increasingly indistinguishable.

But a lot of voting-age Americans in 2020 still have not understood the reality that flexibility is never ever ensured. Historically, many once-free societies have actually voluntarily quit their liberty– and we could be next.

Yes, we Americans know the grim stories. We simply need to glance at our next-door neighbors to the south: Cuba and Venezuela. We have actually stuck to the belief that America is different– that, at the end of the day, we can always go to fight at the ballot cubicle, and that even if things don’t go our way, we’ll get another opportunity in 2, four or six years.

However in 2020, we can’t be so sure. If we’re sincere with ourselves, we currently had factor to doubt the survival of our democratic system back in 2016.

By the 2016 election, America had essentially altered, although extremely few observed. America had divided in 2, not just in between red and blue, between Democrat and Republican politician, however in between two polar-opposite viewpoints and worldviews.

However most critical, there are significant numbers left wing who like to throw around the word “democracy” but do not think in freedom. They think in power, force and intimidation.

Most major U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., and Beverly Hills, California, are boarded up in anticipation that we won’t see the kind of serene election we anticipate in our democracy.

We can discuss the causes for the split all the time. We can blame our institution of higher learnings, our ethnic policies and diversities, our lack of faith or our reduced worth of traditional marital relationship and family.

However in this minute, we as a country face an existential threat. American people rightly fear that their business could be torched by a mad mob, or that their individual could be assaulted, just due to the fact that they installed an election sign or use a MAGA hat.

This is not the America we understand and enjoy.

On this Election Day, we have reason to worry that America is changed permanently– that fear, rage and violence have subdued liberty and democracy. But all hope is not lost. Reality is constantly stronger than fear. And we’ll keep battling for the fact, no matter what happens.