The Republican Party has planted the seeds, and now must reap the whirlwind. This road to hell was paved by decades of preparation from the right. No proposal was safe from attack by right wing media, even repurposed ideas were attacked when adopted by Democrats. Any outrageous charge was endlessly repeated. Obama was branded a Muslim, never mind that the man enjoyed bacon and beer. He prevented a depression, but received nothing but opposition.
Fueled by unlimited money from sources that get a tax break to lobby in their own interests, the American mind was malleable enough when bombarded with paid opinions and prodded by a skillful manipulation of hot button issues to oppose their own interests. A public that once accepted the reality of climate change was persuaded of a conspiracy by those pesky academics and scientists who did not see the bigger picture. Americans were told that letting the 1 percent have their way with the economy would create jobs and money would find its way out of their bank vaults and back into our pockets. Now the coal miners are told their jobs are coming back, despite coal not being economically viable, and regardless of the toll of pollution on public health. Blind faith in the market is acceptable and needs no oversight. The regulations ensuring consumer safety are nothing but a hindrance to business, so they can go away.
The supporters of Donald Trump are a curious lot. Frustrated with government, wanting to drain the “swamp,” they chose to throw the dice. Tired of political correctness, they chose a man devoid of empathy, who defies social standards, holds no concern for his fellow men and is profoundly ignorant of governance and how to wield it. Multiple controversies and the promotion of divisions does nothing shake the faith of his core supporters. Transgressions enough to sink a hundred political careers roll off his back. The Republican Party enabled a monster and he is now their responsibility. Trump is no Republican, but the party clings to his coattails.
The true believers have an almost religious devotion t0 Trump. We can understand why the Founding Fathers were so concerned about demagogues with unquestioning followers being unfit for a democracy where policies and ideas must be rational and based on sound reasoning and in agreement with common principles of justice and equality. Indeed, Trump would like to be emperor, with his pronouncements against freedom of the press, criticism of the judiciary, ignorance of the workings of the legislature and a tendency towards authoritarianism. He celebrates his inflated ego, daring us to tell this emperor that he has no clothes. He supports opinion makers who interpret and justify his missteps. Fake news is proclaimed every time he is proven wrong, no matter the evidence. Professing to be Christian, he exhibits no qualities associated with the meek. He and his party seek power without accounting for the needs of those they represent. They ignore Russian meddling. They attack the government their majority manages. Will they allow Trump to start a war to overwhelm and silence his opposition?
Republicans paint Democratic administrations as disastrous. But the past several decades of Republican policies reveal failed policies. Ignored intelligence warnings led to catastrophic attacks on America. They supported a war based on lies, without apology or acknowledgement, bumbling into the longest wars in American history. Lives were squandered and trillions spent on the wars and their aftermath. They violated long held conventions about torture and privacy. After they were last in power, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs and savings disappeared. They would have allowed the American auto industry to die. In Kansas, unrestrained Republican economic orthodoxy ruined the state economy.
Overall, Republican rule has lowered American prestige in the world, allowed the economy to be manipulated, and compromised our common sense of purpose. The party that enables this reality show president now seeks to further their hold on power by taking the governorship of Virginia and expanding their advantage in the state legislature. Their policies lead to loss of voting rights, politicians choosing their voters, fewer personal freedoms, less economic security and less healthcare for a needy population. They would strip social funding, change the Constitution to take away our right to choose our Senators, pillage the environment by removing protections, lessen investment in infrastructure, and deny woman’s rights to their own decisions. How does turning the Virginia government over to the Republican Party help the commonwealth and her citizens?
Steve Foreman is a Warren County resident.