The modern GOP has deliberately committed fraud upon the American public. Lies about stolen elections resulted in a physical assault on Congress. Lies about voter fraud prompt waves of legislation meant to restrict or change voters’ intentions. Lies about trickle-down economic theories have enriched the already grossly wealthy. Lies about immigrants (from whom almost all of us originate) have created fear and division. Lies about more guns making us safer create the opposite effect. Lies about the pandemic cost thousands of lives. There is no time for the corrective powers of hindsight to unmask the magical thinking. The urgency of our problems will not allow the continuation of fantasyland governing practiced by the GOP. Our society is based on democratic principles and majority rule but is coerced by factions that calculate their truths by how their political interests are served.

The GOP has always been a friend to business, as seen in the laissez-faire economic policies that resulted in the Great Depression. Starting in the 1970’s, business and Republicans began a campaign to deliberately dismantle the middle class created by FDR. Systematically replacing Supreme Court justices with members obedient to corporate interests brought a narrowing of the opportunities for the disadvantaged. They overturned court rulings that enabled labor to represent worker’s interests, justice for those underrepresented, more civil liberties, and protection for our political processes from the influence of wealthy donors.

The GOP’s evil genius has been to couple their agenda with hot button issues that cause reactions without reasoning. Crime, race, guns, socialism and abortion issues are blown all out of proportion to the lives of most people. They serve as symbols in a fantasy that equates Republicans with American ideals. Instead of debating the absurdity that enables a young man undergoing a personal crisis to immediately purchase a weapon and end eight lives, they allow no discussion. In response to an increased turnout due to improved means of voting, we hear cries about voter fraud and nationwide attempts to allow fewer people to vote. When confronted by legal actions, they want to dismiss their lies about stolen elections by admitting no reasonable person could believe it.

Fear, greed, and disinformation are used to shape the Republican version of American identity. Their concerns about their dwindling influence are reinforced by party leadership that plays the fear card about the vaguely threatening “other.” Embracing ideas that promote division and hate, welcoming the influence of malicious foreign actors, and undermining our electoral processes are now acceptable in their warped view of democracy. GOP dogma that says the same government that guards our shores, delivers our mail, and manages the operation of infrastructure and society is evil has undermined trust in institutions. Republicans have destroyed our common purpose and substituted rebellion, victimhood, and an urge to poke authority in the eye. Constitutional process and civility are replaced with mobs and an undercurrent of fear about the future. The greatest dangers to our fragile democratic experiment come from within.

Steve Foreman is a longtime Warren County resident and a student of history and current affairs