For several years now, I have been saying I parted political company with the Republican Party because of Donald Trump.
But watching how the GOP is handling the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden, it is clear to me now it was the party that left me.
I would like to say it was all about Trump.
(Sarah Palin was the original canary in the coal mine, followed by election of obstructionist Tea Party candidates who don’t believe in education and governance at all.)
But he is just the latest iteration of a candidate who now represents a political party full of Representatives and Senators with J.D.s from Harvard and Yale who have suddenly become anti-intellectual.
Today’s iteration of a GOP politician and supporter was born because Trump brought the WWE audience into the party, and they want all the outraged spectacle of a cage match, even when they know the fight isn’t real. The rest of the Republican Party decided “gee, this is kind of fun to watch after all.”
For five years now, Trump has given this bread and spectacle circus to them with his fact-free rallies, “lock her up” chants and red MAGA hats that let’s his supporters know they are bound together as a group that knows who is with them or against them by sight.
It is like Hitler’s yellow stars in reverse. Rather than identifying those considered unworthy of the “fatherland,” a red hat confers “legitimate” citizenship with it. Those not wearing one should be approached with all caution…that person might be an evil, Satan worshiping Democrat.
I am not being over the top here; I have Catholic friends who believe this because they have been spiritually convicted by the far-right priests of my Church this is true. That anyone who votes a Democratic ticket has been seduced by a secular world that has committed a Holocaust on the unborn. The rest of life’s continuum and the dignity that should be conferred on all humankind often goes unmentioned.
It is incongruous but acceptable to believe abortion should be illegal but the death penalty is justified. That Jesus would favor one political party over another, even though he made it abundantly clear in the Gospels he wasn’t interested in worldly power at all.
The rest believe it because Tucker, or Laura or Hannity said so; because Pat Robertson or Alex Jones or Steve Bannon said so; because social media has developed algorithms that curate news based on clicks that assume a preference for certain subjects; because a friend of a friend of a friend they don’t even know posted something on Facebook and it was reposted by two other people.
In today’s Republican Party, truth doesn’t matter.
Apparently, the will of the majority of voters is insignificant too.
Rather than moderate its policies or enact legislation that is wanted by most U.S. citizens who have been certified by local Election Boards as qualified legal voters, the GOP has turned to packed, right-leaning courts to absolve it of the duty to actually think about what it means to govern freely and fairly in a nation as diverse as is the United States.
That’s just too much work for them any longer. It’s easier to be lazy, spout lies and demonize others than it is to legislate and govern.
It is the anti-intellectual response that defaults to emotional reactions as the only valid source of being, and divides a nation against itself.
Which is ironic, given it was a Republican President who warned of this very thing and sacrificed all – including his very life – to keep it from happening.
A President who believed it was immoral to look down upon and enslave another part of humanity based solely on the color of their skin.
A President who thought it immoral to base the economic well-being of others on such a travesty as slavery.
No, the GOP is no longer the Party of Lincoln. It isn’t even the party of Reagan.
It is still the party of Roger Ailes, Roger Stone and Newt Gingrich: a party of populist rhetoric and a hatred of those who they can’t hoodwink; a hatred of all those who bother to think for themselves at all and expect a functional government filled with other people who do the same.
People who learned things in their biology, history and literature classes that they have carried forward with them through their lives.
People who know there is a universe of verifiable truths because they see it in a greater universe created by some sort of ordered intelligence they may not name as God, but they work to understand.
The GOP was turned from the ideals of Lincoln and Reagan long ago.
It has now become a total capitulation and surrender to the Donald Trumps of this world: egotistical, narcissistic man-babies (and women) who cry foul if they can’t be the winner every time, whether they have demonstrated the character and competence that justifies their winning or not.
Even by those educated to know better.