Editor’s Note: We may have won the skirmish in 2016, but, as the Capitol insurgency showed, the enemies of democracy — aka Republicans, conservatives, Christian Taliban, white supremacists, fascists, Klansmen, Proud Boys and the others members of the Trump cult — haven’t given up on the battle to take back power by any means necessary, legal or illegal.
a candidate, Donald Trump made lots of promises. Those who never voted for
him never trusted him, but his true believers accepted every word,
mindlessly chanting a mantra that was bizarre under the circumstances:
“Promises made. Promises kept.” The truth is a rare commodity in
politics, but the Trump campaign rendered it irrelevant.
Donald vowed to lower drug prices, replace Obamacare with “something
great” and pass an infrastructure bill: Promises never even attempted.
Instead, he cut taxes for his fellow millionaires and placated his party
by packing an increasingly Republican judiciary with activist right-wing
judges. Despite his obsession with dominating Washington, Trump seemed to
view his duties as annoying impingements on his golfing and tweeting. And
his disdain for the mechanics of governance and ambivalence toward COVID-related
science made his administration complicit in our shameful death toll.
Pre-MAGA ex-Republican Rick Wilson, a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, characterized the goal of his former party as having “people scream at them.” Old-school conservatives who “live in reality,” such as Liz Cheney and George Will, have lost all influence with those whose guiding principle is “The Big Lie” that Democrats and the Deep State have stolen Trump’s presidency. Libertarian talk show host, Bill Maher, summed it up best: “One party is a policy party. The other is a party of trolls.”
matter what progressives and moderates do, the Trump cultists will lie
about it; however, it makes no sense to cooperate by appearing
One trap we fall into is what’s being called “cancel culture” — a
form of political correctness in which “woke” liberals, who see
themselves as the arbiters of purity, attack fellow progressives,
moderates and even the Founding Fathers for falling short of perfection.
This results the removal of names as revered as Washington and Jefferson
from high schools, and even Lincoln has been chastised for failing to live
up to 21st century PC standards. In the battle to save American democracy
from Trumpism, these are not the hills we should be dying on.
is not to say liberals should give up their values. Rather, we need to
pick our battles, to avoid petty internecine squabbles. For example, the
Warner Theater in Torrington, CT, recently canceled the one-person play,
“I Am My Own Wife,” due to outcry from the transgender community at
the casting of a cisgender actor (i.e., one whose gender identity matches
his/her biological gender). Trans people represent 0.6% of the population,
so the number of transgender actors to choose from is vanishingly small,
and the failure to cast one seems trivial.
similar to the sin of “cultural appropriation,” which has included
hiring Caucasian actors to play nonwhite roles. For example, the decision
to cast Lawrence Olivier as Othello in blackface is often cited as a
travesty. However, it’s hard to criticize casting the world’s greatest
Shakespearian actor to play such a classic role. (Carried to its logical
extreme, a black actress couldn’t be hired to play Lady Macbeth, and, if
they filmed my life, only overweight Greek-Irish guys could audition.)
facetious, but more ominous is the cancel culture that ends careers and
ruins reputations for the minor sorts of sexual hijinks that forced Al
Franken to resign his Senate seat. It seems even more silly when you
realize Matt Gaetz is still in the House, and Trump served a full term.
These days, we could use more senators like Al Franken.
Trump sheep are willing to accept almost any lie, but the still large,
albeit shrinking, middle of the electorate may not be so easily fooled.
And this is the group that must be appealed to if we hope to continue past
2024 on the path back from the racist, fascist cult of a malignant
narcissist and his bigoted culture of right-wing lapdogs.
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