As columnists, we often test the limits.
We want to write in a provocative way that inspires readers to think and discuss. But we don’t want to sink into hyperbole or, worse yet, hysteria.
As many of our reviews quickly remind us, we often slip right into this abyss. Sometimes they are right. There is no real science or formal methodology to this form of commentary. We write it not only as we see it, but also as we feel it, and our feelings fluctuate.
The danger, of course, is Chicken Little’s problem: if you pump everything up in a panic that falls into the sky, what do you write when the sky really starts to fall? What credibility have been left to the vigilantes when the country truly approaches the possibility of a political apocalypse?
Well, I don’t know how to answer that. It seems to me that the possibility of destruction came in waves during the Trump administration, with more near misses than the heart could take.
Defcon 1 has become our political fault, and they have exhausted our worries about danger. We are human beings; our panic cannot be permanent. Our mind and body are just not meant to support it.
But here we are again faced with another very real threat to our democracy, and it would be a shame if we were so weary of the attacks by Donald Trump and his supporters on the pillars of this country that we dismissed the warnings about it. that all this means, because with all the others that came before it.
With Liz Cheney being ousted from her leadership position in the House of Representatives, the Republican Party has made it clear that it is fully committed to Trump and the lie he continues to spread about the election: that he won and the election was stolen from him.
According to an Ipsos poll, 55% of Republicans believe that the outcome of the 2020 election was the result of an illegal vote or election rigging, and 60% agree that “the Donald Trump’s 2020 election has been stolen. Moreover, 63% disagree that Trump was even partly responsible for the Jan.6 insurgency.
The Republican Party is now fully engaged in a lie and a liar – even after being forced to step down, even after causing the party to lose control of both houses of Congress. Is there still time to panic? Some of us hoped that Trump’s influence would wane after his presidency ended, but as Senator Lindsey Graham said Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity:
Trying to wipe Donald Trump out of the Republican Party is foolish. And people who try to erase it are going to get erased eventually. It is impossible for this party to move forward without President Trump being the leader because the Conservatives have chosen him as leader.
Trumpism will not go easy on this good night. It will rage; he is raging.
The Republican Party is owned by Trump, period. And it controls a vast majority of state houses that will redesign congressional districts this year, following last year’s census. This could create an electoral imbalance for another decade, as it did in 2010.
Republicans in many of those states are also pushing voter suppression measures, and perhaps more importantly, some laws would allow local councils to refuse to certify election results.
Not only have Republicans supported the subversion of the last election; they are well on the way to building the architecture to better subvert the next one.
Democracy cannot exist in a society where almost half of the participants have abandoned it, a lie is elevated to the rank of truth, participation becomes what is poisoned.
So, is panic now appropriate? Or do we just continue hoping for the best and against the worst? Are we claiming that it is not possible for our democracy to be robbed from under our feet while we whistle?
Panic fatigue is real. I understand.
Anger is exhausting. I understand.
But what are your options? Consent? Passivity? Ignore the sound of the alarms because you have had enough of the tension?
The Republican Party as it is currently positioned is no longer simply part of our political system; it is a threat to our political system. The party has become an internal enemy.
The question is, are we too tired of the Trump years to see what’s going on and mount a real defense.
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