I have reached four conclusions after reading Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Conclusion one: Our system of government is much more fragile than I realized. The Founding Fathers had no way to anticipate all of the guardrails that would be needed in the 21st century, nor how easily American democracy could be wrecked from within and without by people with the money and the will to twist it to their personal and political advantage.
Conclusion two: Joe Biden is the president we need at this deeply dangerous time. Biden’s character, his core beliefs, and his depth of political experience are vital to our identity and survival as a nation. But Biden urgently needs stronger support from Democrats and independents still locked in 20th-century political games or in narrow social, economic, or environmental agendas. Republicans who feel alienated by the actions, trends, and crimes in their current party could help out the USA, too, by turning against the worst of their current candidates and forcing the GOP to rebuild itself.
Conclusion three: The (illegitimately elected) former chief executive remains unstable, frighteningly shallow, exceedingly narcissistic, yet electromagnetically strong at pulling in sycophants, enablers, grifters, political opportunists, spies, and even worse. Those sticking to him seem to believe solely in power and personal wealth, not in patriotism, social fairness, or world environmental salvation. Both the ex-(so-called) president and the deplorable rabble still supporting him remain clear and present dangers.
Conclusion four: “Peril” may not be a strong enough word to describe our current national situation. But Woodward’s and Costa’s well-crafted book is stunning in its coverage of Republicans and Democrats in the days leading up to, and after, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Their reporting is deeply probing, and what they present is deeply unnerving. Peril should be read by every American with a brain and a heart.