Archives for posts with tag: Republicans

In the wake of the treasonous insurrection that beset the US capitol building, Joe Biden was quick to claim that this does not reflect the “true” America. This is a fantasy. It is a fantasy just as much as Trump’s claim that he won the election is a fantasy. Childish Gambino summed it up in song long ago, but dissidents have known this for even longer. Noam Chomsky identified the Republican party as the most dangerous organization in human history, pointing to its self-enriching climate denial and nuclear militarism, necessarily fed by a distracting, rabid ideology that led to the Trumpism that is incinerating the country (and the world) today. This isn’t new. This isn’t shocking. This kind of thing doesn’t just appear out of nowhere; it’s a creeping infection.

Consider this. During the insurrection, police were videotaped opening the barricades to allow the traitors to storm the capitol. They were similarly taking selfies together. This harkens back to when police thanked Kyle Rittenhouse for his “vigilantism” during the George Floyd protests almost immediately prior to him murdering two Black Lives Matter protesters, and then allowing him to walk right past them after he was done. The police are the arm of the system, and the tacit, systemic allowance of far-right radicalization and extremism that has permeated the country is emblematic of its culpability. Far-right terrorism is the greatest domestic threat to the country, but federal law enforcement prefers to investigate environmentalists. This radicalism has been built up over decades and decades, and is egged on by political malfeasance.

Law and Order for some

Joe Biden wants to “reach across the aisle” to work with Republicans in order to unite the country after four years of increasing divisiveness. I guess he thinks that further tax cuts, greater environmental deregulation, and more law and order will bring the QAnon fanatics back to reality? The image of Democrats created by Republicans is as Venezuelan Bolsheviks. Democrats will tank the economy through hyper-inflation, impose a totalitarian invasion of personal privacy, and lock up in the gulags anyone who so much as blinks the wrong way. Obamacare, née the Affordable Care Act, was literally created by a Republican, but because of its adoption by the liberal side of the spectrum, it needs to be dismantled. If Biden wants to work with Republicans, he’s going to have to consider that 70% of them believe he stole the election through widespread voter fraud. How do you compromise with a false reality that won’t even bother to acknowledge your effort to connect? Well, it seems like Biden is making his attempt by trying to silence activists who want to defund the police because he doesn’t want to be framed as soft on crime. Biden could claim that he would increase funding to the police, or choose a tough-on-crime prosecutor as his Vice President, and neither of those things will placate the Republican accusations. Biden will impose anarchy in the USA, and he could execute all the BLM leaders in front lawn of the White House, and he would still be a socialist enabler. How can you appease someone who thinks you’re a pedophilic cannibal who worships Satan? Why would you even bother?

Maybe there is an argument that the “adults in the room” will reassert control after the departure of the current fascist. However, do you remember when John McCain denied that Obama was an Arab which is now looked at so fondly as a Republican who knew how to handle conspiracy theories? Take a look at the video in the hyperlink again. When the woman says the word Arab, John McCain smiles before saying “No ma’am.” While Trump was profiting off the Birther movement, the establishment Republicans were well aware of the narrative they were subtly weaving. The “adult” Republicans introduced the “Southern Strategy” and have been using dog-whistle racism for decades. This current chaos is the child of these “adults”, and they seem to have no inclination to issue any consequences. Yet the Democrats seem to think that acquiescing to bad faith madness is an appropriate strategy, and they’ll stymie potential allies who are looking to actually improve the world in order to do it. The thing is, the Democrats are just as culpable for American decline as Republicans through their enabling and mutual goals of self-enrichment.

The Democrats will frame it in the language of care and the importance of process, while the Republicans will frame it in the language of might, but the underlying content will remain the same

Americans want progressive change. Government healthcare is actually increasing in popularity across the spectrum, yet Joe Biden is against it even though it is ultimately more popular than he is (63% compared to 55%). Florida, in addition to voting for Donald Trump, voted to increase their minimum wage. Other States, who only marginally supported Biden, passed laws to decriminalize all drugs (Oregon) and increase taxes on the rich (Arizona). When removed from tribal politics, the things that will obviously improve the lives of citizens are quite popular. These ideas have legs when they are sampled at the grassroots level, but always seem to die when they reach the political heights. Perhaps it is because the needs of the people have been consistently ignored by both national parties that the country is burning, and only competing delusional narratives dominate the political discourse, whether the immigrants are invading or that everything is fine for everyone. No wonder then that people cling to delusions to justify their situation and then fight to defend them.

The next panel is the dog nostalgically reminiscing about the original arsonist.

The institutions of America appear to be standing firm, for now. Biden did win the election, and it was certified by the electoral college as well as congress despite attempts to supplant the democratically elected leader with a tyrant. The court challenges were all thrown out. Arrests are even being made, despite police complicity, though the treatment of those attempting to overthrow the government ought to be compared to those who were protesting police violence. The point is, it is unlikely that this coup attempt will succeed due to the sustained functioning of democratic institutions like elections and the court system. However, it could just be Trump’s incompetence that allowed the American experiment to limp on. A proper dictator would have followed through on his promise to join his militia in their storming of the capitol, but Trump just went home to Tweet. It’s blind luck America developed a fascist so lazy he can’t even be bothered to participate in his own overthrow of democracy.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that these institutions can be sustained forever in a culture as cancerous as American politics. Republicans seem intent on dismantling them for their own benefit, and Democrats only appear to be willing to make stern but futile gestures of superficial frustration. They will run campaigns based solely on the perpetuation of the establishment while portraying Republicans as bogeymen without ever actually capitalizing on mobilizing platform ideas that Americans are begging for. Who will the Republicans put forward for 2024 after the increased popularity of their last brutish fascist, and how tantalizing might that choice appear to a population fed only moralizing platitudes during one of the most dismal times in American history? The modern day Marie Antoinette is a Democrat dismissing cries for help by suggesting “thoughts and prayers” to assuage their crisis. How successfully will democratic institutions protect modern civilization if they are not repaired from the sustained assault they have been enduring for years?

Once the Orange Man is gone, I’m sure that’ll clear right up

I’ve written before about how post-Truth is more about accountability than it is about truth. When the atrocities of American torture were revealed, Obama wanted to “look forward” rather than hold his predecessors to any form of legal or moral accountability. This bore fruit when Trump elected torture-enabler Gina Haspel to lead the CIA, and the wheels kept on turning. The lies, the delusions, the mayhem: these things need to be accounted for. The only way for America to avoid destruction is not to reach across the aisle. Appeasement toward fascism doesn’t really have any successful, historical precedents. Democrats need to implement the beneficial, popular agendas that the people actually need regardless of how many lies are spun, and hold accountable those who are literally committing treason, up to and including the 45th president. This isn’t partisanship. It’s sanity.

In Germany, the crippling Treaty of Versailles contributed to the democratic election of their notorious, inhumane despot. It imposed harsh financial debts on the people of Germany, forbid their voices from being heard in its construction, and punished them for over a decade as a consequence for the actions of their leaders. When the Great Depression rolled in, the finances that the US was loaning Germany for its recovery disappeared, destroying the final remnants of the already ravaged German economy. The people sought to lash out after their global bruising, and were offered a scapegoat by right-wing populism in the form of the Jews (and gays, and the disabled, and gypsies, and Christians…).

So America, what’s your excuse? It may sound contrived and a little petty, but it’s a question that needs to be asked, and it’s a question that needs to be answered.

America did not have an outside coalition enforcing punitive economic policies onto their country, but rather, it slyly enacted them itself. The increasing personal debt, the outsourcing of jobs, the apathy of the elites for the working class; all of this is reminiscent of Weimar Germany but without the diktat of outside countries. The Great Recession moniker that was ascribed to the recent economic crisis should have been the ultimate foreshadowing of who was to come. The cause of that Great Recession is multifaceted and complex, but many attribute it to the repealing of the Glass-Steagall act back in 1999; notably, an event perpetrated by a Democrat. Repealing the Glass-Steagall legislation removed the banking regulations created in response to the Great Depression, another harbinger of history repeating itself.

You can also just look at this. It illustrates pretty nicely that the institution of America left its people behind a long time ago.

You can also just look at this. It illustrates pretty nicely that the institution of America left its people behind a long time ago.

When the inevitable market crash violently ripped across the country, the proposed solution was to bail out the banks. No punishments for the culpable, no legislation was changed, the banks were simply given back the money they had swindled from the hapless people. Again, this disgrace of justice was meted out by yet another Democrat.

America’s descent into totalitarianism was almost preordained. It is undeniable that there were elements of misogyny hindering Clinton’s campaign, but even if she won, what kind of monstrous candidate would have arisen after four years of more of the same? Clinton denigrated unions, she ridiculed environmentalists, and is just as entrenched into corporate welfare as any of the less insane Republican candidates. Progressing along the status quo that spawned a Trump campaign would not have improved with age.

Those who fear the journalistic sanctions under a Trump presidency should be aware that the mainstream media has been complicit in perpetuating the discourse of the status quo for ages. Even recently, Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman was charged with criminal trespassing for covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Though the charges were dropped, it appears we do not need to wait for Trump to be sworn in before dissenting voices are criminalized. In addition, you might consider the unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowing under the Obama administration as further disregard for accountable governance. America has been tailspinning for a long time now, and it is of no use to pretend like it would never crash. Looking at historical precedents, someone like Trump is not entirely unsurprising.

I know I’ve been picking on Democrats, and maybe there are some of you demanding I account for the Republican congresses that blocked progressive legislation or Republican presidents that put forward their own destructive policies, and yes, those exist. This isn’t a problem created solely by the Democrats, but by the American political institution itself. When government becomes structurally plutocratic, even overt partisanship becomes more of a charade than an allegiance to any particular group.

Some have already begun blaming third party candidates for the failures of Clinton and the Democratic party (as if Gary Johnson, who wanted to eliminate taxes and abolish all government programs, would siphon votes away from the Democrats), when the reality is that a vote for a third party is a rejection of that broken political system in the vain hope that, this time, maybe people might pay attention to the shards of their democracy lying on the floor and decide to do something about it. Voting for a third party is not a vote for the greater of two evils, it is a refusal to participate in the system that enables constant concessions from the left as the Democrats can essentially behave however they want, knowing full-well that they will always have a Republican bogeyman to point at each election. Constantly voting for the lesser of two evils under this pretense will only allow its evil to grow.

Many people wish to attribute this grave election loss to racist individuals who have succumbed to the xenophobic rhetoric spewed by Trump, and judging by the endorsements given to him by white supremacist groups, it is a likely contributor. But the alt in alt-right intrinsically defines it as outside of the mainstream, so the pockets of racist support backing Donald Trump is difficult to attribute to the majority. In fact, blaming the election on the fear of the Other could very well be blaming the racial scapegoating rather than the cause of the necessity for scapegoating in the first place. Was Hitler’s rise attributable entirely to Germany’s antisemitism, or were there other factor’s at play? Hint: think the Treaty of Versailles

It might also be convenient to claim that this is a racist backlash against having a black president. Except Obama had two terms, meaning that a majority did not seek to punish him for his race the first time around. If we consider when the Civil Rights act was implemented in 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson, which might have garnered comparable racialized political backlash, we could expect a similar white supremacist to emerge in the next election. Except LBJ won 44 states to 6 in the subsequent election, and when the Democrats lost the following election to a Republican, this ended up being Richard Nixon, who worked on desegregating schools in the South, enforced the controversial busing of black children outside their neighbourhood to accommodate equal representation in schools in the North, and implemented the first federal affirmative action plan. However much backlash there may have been in interpreting the Civil Rights act in certain states, the federally elected official (Nixon) maintained a greater degree of racial sensibility than either political candidate in this last election.

Today, the voices standing up for racial equality tend to make broad, denigrating statements about white people in order to get their messages across, while during the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King was very purposeful in his inclusion of them. If we want to attribute Trump’s victory to a racist backlash, we must consider that the large number of white people who voted for Trump may have ignored those voices simply because they were tired of being attacked. If we, as progressives, wish to create allies or a dialogue, we have to be aware that maligning entire demographics of people is not an appropriate way to gain their sympathies. If, however, progressives insist on attacking whites, they may become so disillusioned with progressivism that they might elect Donald Trump! Oh wait. I suppose we can’t get that one back, can we…

Part of Trump’s success is also due in part to the media’s insatiable desire to tell Trump shock stories, knowing full-well how many papers his antics will sell, and in the process distract from the real drivers pushing forward his campaign. Arlie Russell Hochschild is a sociologist who went deep into Trump country to find out what attracted voters to Trump, and found that it was generally people who felt as though they had been left behind by the establishment and believed in Trump’s sales pitch that he could do something about it. What differences might there have been had the focus of the Democrats been on acknowledging the failures of the system and promising to adjust them, instead of attacking the character of the “deplorables”?

The Tea Party movement began in the wake of the bank bailouts, driven by anger at having been betrayed by the banks and the government. Yes, there was racism involved, but that was only ever an auxiliary motivator for the disdain of the government. Unlike the Occupy movement which preferred to abstain from actively creating change, the Tea Party successfully rallied behind their leaders and managed to vote in several political candidates. Regardless of how you feel about the Tea Party and the recent political movements of the Right, they were quite successful in establishing themselves in practical ways within the system to effect change, and now, one of their leaders is the president.

I’m aware racism is a thing, and I’m aware it played a role in Donald Trump’s success. I literally compared this election to Nazi Germany, and saying that I’m ignoring the impacts of race is telling me I’m ignorant of the hatred of Jews during the Holocaust. My point is that we can’t ignore the factors that have exacerbated American xenophobia, we must find alternative ways of discussing racial progress so as to not alienate the majority of the population, and the broken democratic system of America needs to be reformed. Cowardly hiding behind the Democratic party should no longer be considered morally acceptable.

If we believe this to truly be a cycle of history, then I expect that, after the upcoming World War III, the equivalent of the Nuremberg trials for America will not be as forgiving as the Obama administration was on the war crimes committed during the Bush era. That is, of course, if anyone is left to hold America accountable for its failure to stop a Trump presidency.