It is abundantly clear over the last four years and especially within the bounds of this last election cycle that the Republican Party is no longer the party that President Eisenhower was a member of. That Republican Party gave us the Interstate Highway system advocated for unions signed the civil rights act of 1957 and sent troops to schools to enforce the integration of schools. He also established NASA and warned us at the end of his term of the growing threat of the military-industrial complex. These accomplishments are not without blemish, and he was not a perfect president. But he did expand Social Security and generally took care of the economy and the American people.
In the 60 years since the end of his presidency, we have witnessed the decline of the Grand Old Party to the point where it is now the party of QAnon, racism, and Trump. It is a party that throws away with fervor scientific thought and embraces crackpot conspiracy theories. It is a party that embraces a white nationalist mode of thinking and action, separating brown families at our southern borders. It is the party of endless wars that continue to send the flower of our youth into wars and then not provide for them when they return home broken after multiple combat tours. It is a party that continues to aid in the killing of our planet by relaxing restrictions on polluters. Nixon was a crook, but at least he created the EPA.
As a Christian minister, it is especially disheartening that in the run up to the elections of 2016 and 2020 that evangelical Christians supported, and continue to support the Trump presidency. 81% of them voted for him yet castigated Clinton for lying about getting oral sex from a staffer. These same people voted for a man who paid a porn star hush money, and bragged about sexual assault vis a vis, (the grab them by the p****) comments. Their hypocrisy, to quote Val Kilmer in Tombstone, “knows no bounds.”
They are the party that ignored the evidence produced by one of their own, Robert Mueller that at the very least showed 10 credible instances of obstruction of justice. It also demonstrated clearly that Russia interfered in our election of 2016. They conveniently ignored the 20+ credible sexual assault cases against this man which they are quick to say was, “chosen by God” to lead the country. They also ignore how he invited then incited a mob to attack the Capitol leaving 5 dead.
It is especially damning to us as a nation that 70 million voted for him and his policies. It is damning that Republicans in Congress are slavishly devoted, or should I say scared, of this narcissistic bully. It is damning that we continue to elect politicians without integrity. We continue to elect people that not only ignore our needs as a nation: Healthcare, Racial Justice, Wage and Housing security, Environmental protections and the like but actively go out of their way to hurt everyday Americans, while protecting the corporate elite and making rich people obscenely richer. Why do we do this? Why do we continue to vote against our best interests?
And so now, we have had a second impeachment trial.
The House managers led by a constitutional law professor laid out a detailed case that highlighted not on supposition, but on the former president’s words shown in a chilling time line in which the terrorists attacked the Capitol. While many pundits were complimentary about the presentation of the case, in so much that they stated that the case was well put together, it is still sad that the majority of the Republican jurors on this case did not take it seriously. In fact, they were openly dismissive and showed their contempt for the proceedings by openly not paying attention at all. Read here, Senator Rand Paul and Josh Hawley. They were doodling on notepads and putting their feet up on their desk while this serious issue facing the American people was being played out on the floor of the Senate. And minority Leader McConnell was equally uninvolved, putting forth vague comments about “voting their conscience.” This case was decided before the impeachment managers made their way to the Senate to present the article of impeachment. I’ve made comments on social media imploring my senators, McConnell and Paul, to do their job and at least hear the evidence with an open mind, but to no avail. I don’t know if their afraid of the former President or just concerned about their jobs (I say jobs tongue in cheek because they have done nothing for the state they represent.) When they vote I believe like many of the news outlets following this historic trial, that a not guilty verdict will be handed down, giving the next dictator in waiting a free reign to do what they will. It is a sad day for the promise that our country has been working towards for over 200 years.
It is also telling in these posts to my Senators, are the replies by the people following these Senators. While some urged the Senators to do their jobs, many were supportive of these people. I saw people urging me to not listen to the “radical left” and when I asked them to whom should I be listening there was silence. I also saw them even attacking McConnell because he wasn’t strident enough in defense of the former occupant of the highest office in the land. All of this is to say that while we can rightly express outrage at these Republican Senators that take their duties so cavalierly, they were elected to these offices by “we the people.” We own this and we have allowed our political discussion to descend into tribalism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and outright fascism. In the presentation of evidence we saw these faux “patriots” loot, pillage, and attack police officers protecting the Capitol and even say “F*** the Blue.” We heard chants of “Hang Mike Pence.” While I disagree with all of VP Pence’s political stances, I would never call for his execution. We saw his own people (Republicans) turn on him in the most violent way, and any Republican legislators who would dare to part from the party line were attacked on social media and threatened. We had these terrorists egged on by a deranged man to violent acts in which at least 5 were killed and over a hundred injured. It is even sadder to reflect that had this been a protest by people of color seeking the justice they have been denied for centuries the death count would have been much higher and there would have been less outrage.
It has been said that we are in the “end game” of our democratic experiment and I would have to agree. Unless these Senators stand up and do the right thing, (I don’t think they will but please prove me wrong), the next aspiring fascist will have an easier time doing what He who shall not be named tried to do. Please for the love of God Senators and the sake of the Republic, do your job.