I’m just going to say it…..
We now have in the United States, our very own domestic terrorist organization. It’s called the Republican Party. There are no longer two major political parties that support American Democracy and our Constitutional form of government. There is only one major political party that does that. The other political party, the Republican Party, no longer supports the will of the people (it actually has not done that for a while), no longer supports free and fair elections (it’s been working against that process for several decades), no longer supports representative government (it’s been trying to do that by making it difficult or impossible for large numbers of eligible people – predominantly people of color – to vote or have a voice), and it’s greatest shame of all, is that it supports violent insurrection against the government.
I am not making a partisan political statement. I am making an informed statement of fact. The Republican Party supported a racist authoritarian in Donald Trump, and never held him accountable for anything (not for kids in cages, not for anti- immigrant policies, not for supporting dictators and dissing democracies and Allies around the world, not for denying the Legislative branch it’s oversight responsibilities required by the Constitution, not for refusing to participate in investigations, not for permitting administration positions to be filled with unqualified or acting individuals not confirmed by the Senate as required by the Constitution, not for doing everything on Russia’s to-do list, and a whole host of other activities). Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, Q-Anon supporters and conspiracy theorists have run for Republican positions in government, and some have actually been elected. Republican elected officials have supported lies about the Presidential election of Joe Biden without proof, despite courts, States and election boards concluding the opposite. Republican elected officials have actively worked to prevent legitimate voters from voting, and when votes didn’t go their way, they sued to eliminate millions of legitimate votes. Republican Senators and Members of the House have voted in overwhelming numbers to deny the certification 81 million voters in this most recent presidential election. Overwhelming numbers of Republican Senators and Members of the House do not wish to hold the last President accountable for inciting a violent insurrection to prevent the certification of votes. Republican members of the House are fighting for the opportunity to carry guns on the House floor, even as some of those members are alleged to have participated in and supported the insurrection in some ways, such as firing up the crowd prior to their siege on the Capital, allegedly providing maps and tours of the layout of congressional offices to potential insurrectionists, and allegedly tweeting out the location or movement of elected officials which the insurrectionists were seeking to locate and execute. Republican Senators and Members of the House have not sought the resignations of their members who have engaged in these activities, have not spoken out forcefully about the destructiveness and shamefulness of their activities, and have not removed them from committee seats or positions of authority. There is only one major political party doing all these things that are anti-American and anti-Democratic – and that is the Republican Party.
Sadly, in the minds of many in this country, we never did actually end the Civil War – a war fought American against American in the 1860s – and, it seems, that traitorous mindset is now seeking to manifest in a new time and place. Afterall, there were a significant number of Americans in the 1860s willing to go to war against their own government, rather than honoring our democratic process. Our form of government exists because, as a country, we agreed that a peaceful democracy, where differences are worked out through our voices and our votes and the transition of power would be conducted peacefully, was preferable to any other form of government. When people resort to violence to get their way, they are not acting within the parameters of our shared Democracy. The Civil War was the first act of betrayal by a large number of Americans (of which several of my own ancestors shamefully played a role) who desecrated the gift of a free and peaceful society, that had been passed down to them a hundred years earlier. And now, over 160 years later, large numbers of Americans are once again betraying their country, as they call for, and rise up in, violent insurrection against their own government. In some ways, we have ourselves to blame for this. We never addressed the dishonor of the Civil War, nor properly held seditious people accountable – instead, permitting traitors and racists to become heroes, and have a disproportionate voice in our national and state governments and courts for all of these 160+ years. And now, those same seeds of hate, which never disappeared, are once again, causing Americans to violently rebel against their own government. And just like the 1860s, there are elected officials sympathetic to and supportive of their cause, but this time, there is an entire political party doing this – with the added support of several media networks, social media platforms, international interference and dark money, all working in concert to spread misinformation, conspiracies, and stoke division and mistrust. The party that once claimed to be the moral voice of freedom, the Constitution, Democracy, and the law, is now none of those things. It begs the question, why do they exist at all as a major political party, if they do not share American political ideals?
There is nothing wrong with having different points of view. There are always people we disagree with, and that is OK, because we are human. But the critical piece that is different today, is that, as a country, we are no longer agreeing on the same set of facts, and no longer desire the same country. So, there is no longer space given for discussing our differences and achieving some degree of compromise. For example, we can all argue about just how blue the sky is, but we can’t even engage in a discussion about the blueness of the sky, if we can’t agree that it is indeed blue. We also can’t live in the same society, if those who disagree, believe that killing the person they disagree with, is an appropriate response to dealing with their differences.
A country that believed in war, in segregation, in racism, in guns, and in a death penalty, was always, inevitably, going to reach this point. There has always been a violent, hateful underbelly within our country. It needs to be addressed. Our black, brown, red and yellow sisters and brothers have been trying to tell us this for a very long time. I don’t know how we solve it, but I know that the first step begins with admitting it exists. If we didn’t believe it before, we should believe it now, because we are seeing with our own eyes, a domestic terrorist movement that has evolved and seeks to change who we are. And its most ardent supporter, its most obvious face, is today’s Republican Party.
Since posting this to my blog last night (1/28/2021), the New York Times today (1/29/2021) ran a news article on just this issue, called: “Republican Ties to Extremist Groups Are Under Scrutiny“, which I am including as additional information.