Once we had two major political parties that, every four years, articulated their goals in documents known as platforms, revealing their concerns for the country and plans for improving our lives. Now we have a party that still does that and another that has been captured by the man now known as “the former guy.”
It must be terrible to be in the latter group. With a few notable exceptions, to be a Republican operative in good standing is to give up your right to conscience, critical thought and free will. Instead, you surrender to fear.
Then this is what happens ...
Your fear of large swaths of voters drives you to do whatever you can to deprive selected constituents, especially Blacks and other minorities, of their right to vote. (Witness states' voter suppression laws.)
Your fear of females (even if you’re a female yourself—go figure) means you believe state governments rightfully limit women’s control over their own bodies. Mandating vaginal probes. Requiring a pregnant woman to view ultrasounds of the fetus. Setting impossibly early deadlines for abortion decisions. (This is "small government?")
Your fear of those who identify as LGBTQ results in your failure to support states’ anti-discrimination laws in areas such as housing and to stand behind measures limiting the participation of transgender athletes in sports they love. (What, exactly, are you afraid of?)
But worse than all the above, you fear the truth. You fear the truth so desperately that you demand expensive recounts of votes in what has been characterized by those in the know as the most secure election in history.*
You fear the truth so desperately that you blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the facts surrounding the bloody insurrection at our Capitol on January 6th.
And this brings us to the most damning fear of all, the one that renders you powerless: You fear a man who, in four tumultuous years in office, proved over and over again that he is functionally illiterate, ill-informed, incompetent, uncaring, dishonest, cruel, a total narcissist, and completely lacking in adult social graces.
Every time I wonder aloud at this widespread selling of the Republican soul, I’m told by people of analytical bent that it’s all about power. They align with Trump in order to stay in power, the analysts tell me. But to stay in power, I argue, they actually become powerless—and worse yet, powerless in the face of incompetence.
“Doesn’t matter” is the usual return. “Just doesn’t matter. They just don’t care. They just want to stay in office.”
So . . . Self-respect doesn’t matter. How do they live with themselves?
First thing every morning, I read the latest posting in “Letters from an American” by Heather Cox Richardson,** a college history professor who writes clear overnight summaries of almost every day’s major political events. It’s a way to start the day without hyperbole or gnashing of teeth or other distractions. However, even Heather has limits and in one of the bi-weekly talks on her Facebook page she spoke about the danger of losing our democracy and urged her followers to contact their congresspeople.***
“I’m very, very concerned about the Republican party” she said, “doubling down on this lie [that the election was stolen], tying themselves to Donald Trump and that wing of the party … so thoroughly that it’s very difficult for a Democrat to overcome. … this is the moment when we either level the playing field again or we recognize that we’re in very deep trouble indeed. … we really need to step up now and make our voices heard because if, in fact, the Trump people lock themselves into power after 2022, we’re not going to get another chance …”****
* In Arizona, this has been done by a private company called Cyber Ninjas. I can’t help myself: Did you know a ninja is “a person trained in ancient Japanese martial arts and employed especially for espionage and assassinations”? (Merriam-Webster)
** To visit her Facebook page, click here
*** For information on contacting your Representative, click here
For information on contacting your Senator, click here
**** To see the video, click here