When I was a kid, I thought institutions were ever-present, indestructible, and run by responsible adults who knew what they were doing. Turns out, it's just a bunch of people. Everything is fragile, and anything can happen.
When Trump won the presidency, a common refrain was that "they" weren't going to let him break too much. The "they" here meant the smart people Trump would surround himself with (ha!), the other branches of government, whatever. Fortunately, some of those "they" (notably the judicial branch) are doing a great job, but it is only because "we" are supporting "they."
I'm trying to be a part of this defense of our best institutions in my small way. I'm also realizing how much institutions can be eaten from the inside out. The so-called "Alt-Right," a group of internet troll white supremacists and woman-haters, have made their way into these institutions, so that we now have to defend our home against these deadly insects. It's not as if these guys are super-smart masterminds; they're just a group of assholes. But here they are, and now we have to deal with them, else they'll just have their way.
This is what I mean by "just a bunch of people." There's nothing magical about the institutions themselves.