Unhappily Trump's gift to America is a GOP white elephant. The party of Lincoln, the great emancipator, is now in thrall to a serial adulterer, serial bankrupt, and serial liar. His ability to infect his followers with belief in lies is only matched by Hitler's. Yes, I know comparisons to Hitler are always called out as being over the top, but how else should I interpret his constant haranguing that the last election was stolen from him? His biggest lie ever — a lie that about three-quarters of the republican electorate believe despite no credible evidence, dozens of court rulings, multiple recounts that found nothing, and onetime stalwarts of power in the GOP like William Barr and Chris Christie categorically denying that there was any widespread fraud in 2020 that would have overturned the results of the election. Hitler's "stabbed in the back" has the same resonance among those who wave Stop the Steal flags as it did among the embittered Germans of post-WWI.
Had Trump vociferously encouraged mask-wearing, social distancing, and getting a "Trump" vaccine as soon as possible, he would still be president. Instead, he yielded to his base, whipped up their resentment of science and "expertise," and encouraged them to do the most selfish thing they could: disregard the health and safety of their fellow Americans. And the constant drumbeat about election integrity, one whose merit has no founding or proof, has brought us to the place where retired generals are publishing Op-Eds alerting us to the likelihood of a coup in 2024. Republicans have controlled the White House for 12 of the past 20 years; only four of those years have resulted from a Republican having gotten more votes than his Democratic opponent. How this is, feels, or is democratic is beside the point. It is a fact. And now, through gerrymandering, installing "stop the steal" partisans to election boards, and the guise of "election integrity," the party of Lincoln has betrayed its founding father beyond all imagining. The thirst for power has overwhelmed the need for truth, accepted facts, and any semblance of honor, integrity, or commitment to the constitution that so many in the GOP claim to hold so dear.
People like Lindsey Graham insist that the party must work with Trump. The party, he seems to forget, is made up of individuals who need only follow their own judgment, integrity, and commitment to democratic means. The party's leadership has cast its lot with a charlatan who denies the truth, belittles opponents with names designed to shame them, and lies and lies and lies. Trump's enablers in the media — be it Fox pundits (none of whom are credible journalists) and the new gang of rightwing propagandists of Breitbart and One America News Network (the name itself is overtly fascistic) — have decided it is better to chase ratings rather than truth. Needing to work with Trump feels like Neville Chamberlain’s willingness to work with Hitler. How one works with a liar, grifter, and outright fraud is hard to countenance. It’s not unlike making a deal with someone robbing your home: you can take the silver but leave the heirlooms alone.
The growing talk of civil war has me wondering if it's time to buy a gun. Something I could do so with little more hassle than getting a library card and which I will be able to carry without permit or training if the NRA and politicians in its thrall have their way.
I am a white male, soon to turn 70. I was raised an FDR democratic and remain one. The sadness that the headlines deliver to me every day since the arrival of Trump is only deepened by having family members who are part of the Trump cult. The great American experiment in truth, freedom, the rule of law, and the belief in the power of an educated citizenry has been unwound by the tribalism of social media, the loss of public truth, and the bitterness of a class of people whose anger and resentments are lodged in emotion, not fact. The Age of Reason seems so distant as to be unimaginable in today's world.
How this ends, I have no idea. I fear for the worst. Hope for the best. And continue looking for reason to rise.
When I'm not writing for clients, I write about things that interest me. Quite of bit of satire, a genre that has become increasingly difficult to work in since reality has become such a farce.