Political Opinion by Richard Bleil
Two reports regarding the Republican Party struck my attention today. In the first, only about 20% of republicans blame Trump for the insurrection. The rumors surrounding the incident are, frankly, ridiculous. Now there are those blaming Antifa (which, since defeating the Nazis, I thought our entire nation stood against fascism, but now “Anti-Fascists” are seen as something negative). The rumor is that Antifa members dressed themselves up as Trump supporters, attended the Trump rally, then marched on and took over the Capitol building to stop the election results that they had already won just to make the president look bad.
Seems like a lot of work for an election they already won.
In the past four years, the Republican president, and those supporting him, have made up conspiracy theories, propagated lies, and ignored proof of such fallacies. What’s more, it has become common practice to take any inappropriate action by the president and turn it around, claiming it was the Democrats that have done it. The insurrection at the capitol, and the newest conspiracy theory that in reality it was antifa is an example of such. Some of these gas lighting stories have taken dangerous turns, as it has been proven that Trump supporters have crossed state lines to join BLM protests, vandalize private property, participate in arson and attempt to incite violence. These people succeeded in feeding the conspiracy theory that these largely peaceful protests were violent, when the violence was rarely caused by actual BLM protesters themselves.
The second story that caught my eye was one in which the Florida Republican Party has elected to continue to back and follow Trump. This is not a surprise as Liz Cheney, considered to be the third most powerful Republican in the party, was censured by the Republican party in her home state of Wyoming for doing what she felt was representing the best interests of the nation. In the insurrection, she called out the President on his role, and backed truth over party.
Reading this made me think of the Trump campaign, which has been rooted in hatred and division from when he announced his candidacy calling Mexican immigrants rapists, murderers and criminals. In the time in office, he has expanded his base to turn on Muslims in a travel ban from nations that have never hosted a terrorist that has acted against the US, turned the National Guard on minorities in peaceful protests and, of course, has shown nothing but contempt for Democrats. It is no surprise that such venom and hatred has led to the first insurrection in two centuries on US soil.
Today, over 100 people have been arrested for the Capitol insurrection, and over 270 open investigations are ongoing with the FBI saying it’s just the beginning. Some of these have already lobbied for a presidential pardon, and using, as their defense, that they believed they were answering the call of the president which, of course, they were. A week later, after his second impeachment, the president has finally called for peace, but originally actually said he “loved” those who were involved in the seditious act. There are reports of his “glee” in the White House as it was occurring. Today, the FBI has warned of continuing violence as the inauguration approaches not only in the Capitol, but in the capitol of every state in the union. All in support of the Republican Party and Donald Trump.
These stories, together, paint a clear picture of the Republican party, and what it stands for. The party has become one of lies, hatred, and one that not only fails to support the US Constitution, but that literally seeks to overthrow it. The attempts at voter suppression demonstrates that the party is anti-democracy as well. One might argue that 20%, which is a dramatic minority, who realize that the president is culpable for the insurrection do not deserve to be characterized in such a harsh manner. The flip side of this argument, though, is to ask, quite simply, where have they been? Sure, on polls they might claim that they’re different, but as their party moves down this hate filled and anti-American path, but where have they been as it has been becoming increasingly obvious? Why have they continued voting for Republican representatives who support this dark path, and why haven’t they spoken up against the party’s direction?
Today, there is discussion of even splitting the Republican party from both sides. Trump has suggested he could form his own party, and conservative Republicans have said they may have to form their party that will no longer follow the path of the current incarnation of the party. I represent a growing number of former Republicans who have left the party, simply realizing that the party does not represent our beliefs and opinions. This has been the direction the party has moved since the Nixon Doctrine of courting white male votes, which naturally led to a party of white supremacists and fascists. Such extremism as we are seeing makes it clear that the Republican party can only go one of two ways; it can fracture, which seems to be the direction it’s heading, or it can change its course dramatically if it’s not too late. Either way, the Republican party will not be the same ever again.