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FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY: Our Dangerous Civic Illiteracy, A Conservative's Conscience, and Rethinking American Citizenship by Thomas E. Brymer

FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY: Our Dangerous Civic Illiteracy, A Conservative's Conscience, and Rethinking American Citizenship

by Thomas E. Brymer

450 pages
American democracy is experiencing its greatest attack since the Civil War. Yet, many Americans cannot answer even basic questions about their government. Fighting for Democracy is a new road map for regaining our democracy.

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Category: Politics:Civics
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About the Book
Our democracy is now under attack from within and without as it has never been since the Civil War. Yet, the evidence is clear that Americans are, as a whole, civically illiterate, and woefully unprepared for the assault our democracy is undergoing. For Americans to be prepared to function effectively as constructive citizens in their democracy in the 21st century and beyond, they must be equipped with knowledge and a skill set that is not effectively taught today.

Fighting for Democracy is a call to deconstruct our civics education in this country and reconstruct it to meet the complex needs and pressures our democracy faces today. Certainly, the civics of tomorrow must include continuing what we teach today about the structure, organization, and how (at least in theory) our government is supposed to function. But there is far, far more that must be taught to deal with the siege our democracy is now under.

Fighting for Democracy provides a roadmap for improving our civic education so we can withstand this anti-democratic movement now underway here. We must teach Americans about servant leadership and how to recognize counterfeit leaders who wish to lead us with leadership styles that are toxic and antithetical to democracy including autocracy, fascism, kleptocracy, and populism. We must return to a national consensus as to the importance in a democracy of a free news media that is an arbiter of truth and not simply a funnel for one-sided biased opinions and editorials masquerading as factual news.

Americans must relearn how to think critically, recognize major change in the public square, as well as readily identify when we are not being told the truth, are being gaslighted, and worse, becoming willing to accept conspiracy theories and radicalization of our political parties as being normative. We must gain a clearer understanding of the multi-dimensional concept of freedom, democratic norms and values, our history, as well as to once again value public service. We must reconnect with a love for the idea of democracy itself which includes a keen appreciation for the “glue” that holds it together- the common good.

At the same time, we must rediscover why our Founders believed democracy, while sometimes “messy”, was ultimately the one form of government that could truly serve We the People and provide Americans with the best means possible for pursuing as a nation our hopes, dreams, our freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. All these concepts, ideas, truths, and more, are a must for Americans to know in order to be able to fight, and for us to keep, our democracy in today’s increasingly anti-democratic world. That is the purpose of Fighting for Democracy.

Make no mistake about our democracy, We the People must learn now, and quickly, how to improve our civically literacy, including how to become better informed and more constructively engaged citizens. If we do not, we will not be able to effectively fight to keep our democracy and risk losing everything we have fought for since our nation’s birth. And American democracy is indeed worth fighting for- not just for us today, but most importantly for our children, grandchildren, and all future generations of Americans. Fighting for Democracy was written to equip us to do exactly that.


You may think you love democracy, but do you really understand it? Tom Brymer does, and in Fighting for Democracy, Tom does an incredible job of enlightening us all. Tom shares the insight he acquired during his stellar career in city management where he daily delivered democracy those he served. In these pages, Tom artfully explains what democracy means and why our democracy is in peril. More importantly, he offers common-sense solutions to the issues we face I would suggest you get your highlighter ready.
- Laura Wheat, Mayor - Town of Westlake, TX 2008-2022
Tom Brymer has spent his career delivering democracy to the doorsteps of his communities. Now he is sharing his insights on how to preserve it! Fighting for Democracy is a must-read reminds all of us of the dangers of taking democracy for granted and provides the roadmap on how we can preserve and protect it.
- Mike Conduff, President and CEO, The Elim Group, Governance Consultancy and Author, Democracy at the Doorstep
We all feel anxious and threatened like the earth is trembling under our feet, wondering if our political system will ever be stable again. Tom Brymer does an extraordinary job of helping us understand the source of our dysfunction and the path forward to reclaim our role as the role model of democracy for the world.
- Ron Holifield, Chief Executive Officer, SGR Local Government Consultancy and Interim Executive Director, Alliance for Innovation, and Author, 4th Dimension Leadership



About the Author
Thomas E. Brymer Thomas Brymer served 43 years in city government, watching from a “front row seat” Americans’ civic literacy steadily decline to levels which fail to support democracy. Here Brymer sounds a clarion call showing how to better equip Americans with the civic knowledge needed to sustain U.S. democracy in the politically turbulent 21st century.



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