The Republicans have a crisis of conscience on their hands, no question. We’ll see who steps up and who continues to make excuses.
Their party, from leaders to ardent supporters and certainly an ugly subset of followers, is responsible for the wreckage. Fully responsible.
The rest of us can wallow in condemnation, sure. Point at the seeds of all this, which to me were obvious going back to the Birther nonsense. Complain how Vice President Mike Pence waited so long to have his short spark of independent leadership, for Sen. Lindsey Graham briefly to point out the emperor had no clothes, all that.
A hard core of tribal partisans of course will dig in, scare up all the what-aboutism they can muster, rephrase “stolen election” without a shred of true evidence into earnest concern about the election process.
They don’t yet realize the depth of outrage from the World War Z-like swarming of the Capitol, the People’s House. That’s not a couple of blocks in downtown Seattle, or Portland, appalling and stupid as that nightly rioting was. Outraged Democrats indeed have their share of owning up to do, as well. Just not on this scale.
No, this was among the very lowest points in the two and a half centuries we’ve been a democratic republic.
It seems Republicans of principle — there is actual evidence they exist — will have to take their party back or join the exodus. Indeed, the party left them a while ago. It did me, finally, with the election of exactly the wrong president in 2016. Not that the choices were particularly great, granted.
This isn’t about a Dear Leader’s personality quirks, after all. The timber of the true him has been there all along. The party regulars, the evangelicals, the conservatives in their zeal to steer the ship of state in a more moral, more business-friendly direction turned a blind eye to the shoals we all would enter with this guy.
The storming of the Capitol put the lie to MAGA for everyone who can still see. That’s a little hard to “what about …?” away. But plenty are trying.
SUBJECT TO WHOPPERS
Families are tearing asunder. I’m watching it happen in mine. Denial is cresting, maybe a first step in the many stages back to this world. Yet still some loved ones are doubling down and making up new alternate realities to go with the whoppers that incited the mob.
I’m tempted to suggest, wide eyed, with particularly gullible friends and family that if antifa masquerading as “patriots,” say, were really the ones storming the Capitol, well then, the deepest under must be the president himself. That makes as much sense as anything in a conspiracy nut crackpot sort of way. And no, this is not my belief. I know the closest we get to the truth is not the propaganda sites to the left and the right, but the ol’ lamestream news organizations, shot through with error as they may be.
The president failing to be straight with his followers hasn’t helped. Worse, the politicians reading which way the winds of power might blow have gone along with the big lie.
Yes, I’m also concerned about where Democratic governance might go, seeing the disastrous turns from California’s supermajority leadership. A drive to San Francisco shows exactly how successful progressive policies and decisions have played out for a top priority, homelessness, for example.
But please, this is America. Flawed as it may be, we have the best system in the world for holding fair elections, checking and rechecking results, for appealing appropriately through the courts and so on to keep us from becoming another banana republic. The president, by his words and actions, plainly has been fine with that outcome if he only can remain in power.
Republicans have a lot to think about. Not that Democrats don’t. But in this remarkable moment, it’s the party of Lincoln unstitching the fabric that holds an exceptional country together.
Members can dodge and shirk, as plenty surely are. Or, as a few are doing with real courage, they can begin to lead responsibly. This is the remnant of the party I’m cheering for. The one that chooses the true right side of history.
Don Rogers is the publisher of The Union, Lake Wildwood Independent, and Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.