The desire to stand for something can easily be eclipsed by the decision to stand for anything. This describes America’s Republican Party and the voters who support its policies. Today’s release of the House Impeachment Inquiry Report is a resounding repudiation of a criminal president whose actions before he took office and during his presidency represent the low-water mark of American leadership, of American governance.
Watching Jim Jordan bring dishonor to his party by lashing the reputations of those who oppose this president’s criminality is nothing less than venality in living color. Mitch McConnell’s refusal to sanction this president’s criminality makes his Republican Senate nothing but a cult hoping for a split decision. Kevin McCarthy’s misdirection and Lindsey Graham’s wandering apologia of the President’s criminal behavior is a debasement of democracy itself. It brings to mind John Adams’s remark about disreputable politicians such as these men:
“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, that two become a law firm, and that three or more become a congress.”
Since Richard Nixon, the Republican Party has failed to reform itself from that of an antagonist of our constitutional democracy. With its oil wars; its hawkishness in lieu of diplomacy; and its willingness to thwart the will of Congress – it has become a party that kneads the Constitution as if it were dough. It is now a party in search of loopholes, as it warps the meaning and intent of the Second Amendment. It engages in a reverse Robin Hood taxation strategy as its immorally steals from the poor in order to kneel before its rich donors. It promulgates lies with not a touch of guilt or shame: climate denial; anti-intellectualism; manufactured threats from imaginary invaders. Its policies are designed for one purpose only: to enrich its members by feeding at the public trough. Its strategy is to win reelection at any cost. The Republican Party plays a zero-sum game while disguising its intent within the silent cravenness of political tribalism. And the vast majority of Americans are falsely reminded that there is no money left to provide universal healthcare or livable wages. We are left begging at their table for a crust of bread and such.
The sheer spectacle of Donald Trump and his carefully crafted image as the anti-hero has a long tradition in America. It encompasses the anxiety of the disenfranchised, the salve to those with precarious self-respect; the resentment of the left behind, and the anguish of those praying for a miracle. His performance screams that he is “sticking it to The Man” – that he has infiltrated the power elite and is working from the inside on their behalf.
But today’s House Impeachment Inquiry Report depicts a different sort of man: less the anti-hero and more a force of anarchy. It quotes one of our Founding Fathers when it says:
“In his farewell address, President George Washington warned of a moment when ‘cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.’”
This analysis has the clarion ring of truth. Republican voters should ask themselves whether they have become the hapless rubes of a dangerous political party. Whether they will look back at their support of this Clockwork Orange anti-hero and say what another flawed boxer said of his tragic choice to be exploited by thieves: “I coulda’ had class. I coulda’ been a contender. I could’ve been somebody” – because they are, indeed, on a one-way trip to Palookaville.
Note: “A one-way ticket to Palookaville” is a quote from Elia Kazan’s 1954 movie, On the Waterfront.
Image credit: President Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States
Deborah Long is a Principal at Development Management Group, Inc. and founder of several non-profit charitable organizations. If you find her perspectives interesting, provocative, or controversial, follow her at: https://www.facebook.com/debby.long.98499?ref=br_rs