For at least a decade I have been writing about the escalation of unconstitutional behavior by the Republicans, and by unconstitutional I mean behavior that went beyond normal legislative battles and our usual political scrum
I don’t think I caught the very beginnings, but by the time I tuned in even someone like me, out here in the cheap seats in America, could see that things were getting a bit extreme. Glenn Beck’s rants about Obama told the story, the ones where he mentioned Hitler and Obama in the same sentence over 140 times according to a count by a journalist at The Washington Post. Rush Limbaugh talked to truckers through the long dark nights helping them express their anger over the employment and pension changes that had put hard-working middle class Americas at a sudden disadvantage, with, according to Limbaugh (and O’Reilly and Levin) minorities and then foreigners taking their jobs, and illegal immigrants taking their benefits, and Democrats to blame for all of it, because unions.
We watched the rise of the Tea Partiers indignant about deadbeats (also hyped by talk radio) using precious tax dollars and yet not paying any taxes; gaming the system so that they did not have to work, riding on the tattered coattails of the middle class. Then we watched the rise of rude behavior in Congress, Ted Cruz reading Green Eggs and Ham, interfering in House business, purposely mocking the business of government and those elected to govern; his disrespectful ‘crew’ acting like “Merry Pranksters” drowning the establishment in farce.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, when GOP legislators got the court to drop the preclearance section, the section that made states who had suppressed black votes clear changes to voting with the courts, voter suppression began in earnest. Obstruction had already become the overweening Republican strategy. The entire goal of the party seemed to be to prevent Democrats from getting elected in enough places that Republicans would be able to maintain control of the federal government.
From those days to the present day Republicans have stuck to these same derogatory and obstructive strategies and more. The reason there are so many all red states, with Republican governments and legislatures is because Republicans wooed them and won them. How much of a role did white supremacy play in their success? Hard to say; easy to guess.
This has been a ‘take no prisoners’ party for some time. They have taught frustrated Americans to blame Democrats, to demonize Democrats, to ‘own’ Democrats and they intend to destroy the Democratic Party completely. They are so close.
But, look what they have to do to make it so. They have to use hate, racism, misogyny, jealousy. The Republicans have to destroy democracy in the process, trash the republic they pretend to be protecting. They have to ignore rising violence. They have to love a President who did not have the least clue or desire to stop a pandemic from ravaging the nation. They have to act like insurrection is no big deal, and that there is nothing to see here.
Were there any Republican Senators who had to take shelter in the Senate as an armed mob rattled the doors and broke the windows and eventually cavorted in the well of the Senate, or were only Democrats terrorized? How can they pretend that insurrection doesn’t matter?
Their allies are millionaires and billionaires, corporate CEO’s and Evangelical big wigs who want to keep the oil and gas flowing, the oil and gas that lines their pockets with more and more money in order to help them win the big prize of being at the top of the Forbes list of richest men. They want to keep oil and gas flowing because they are too old and too unimaginative to picture how new forms of energy could be just as profitable.
Here we are then, what is one frightening insurrection fomented by a lame duck President who doesn’t want to lose his power and a few radical legislators who will act like they have done nothing wrong? Apparently it is nothing if you are a Republican.
Still, we wonder will one insurrection lead to another? Is all that anger gone in just one heady day of mayhem?
We are trying to reboot a saner government, but when only one party is trying we may fail. What will our country become if Biden fails? Clearly he will get no help from any Republicans. What can he do so that his actions won’t fail? The Republican message is very clear. So, we have to keep asking, can one party, very effectively obstructed by another political party, make headway that will strengthen our democracy/republic enough to save it, or will we become whatever it is that the Republicans want us to become.
They will not even change their course in the face of insurrection; of being attacked in their own safe spaces. It all has to do with their long term plan and they can taste victory. We all saw the disinformation campaign and the incitements happening in real time, and yet we could not stop the brainwashing. Can we deprogram those who were stirred up to commit mayhem and can we do it now at this crucial moment? Will Republicans really go so far as to embrace insurrection?
( I have written about this escalating anti-democratic behavior in my books Loving America to Death by N. L. Brisson available on Amazon.)