Brooking’s Lib began his last essay by asking why anyone would ever vote for a Republican. He then went into great detail about why Republicans represent a clear and present danger to America today. He concluded his essay by asking, “Am I wrong?” No Jeff, you’re not wrong. You’re 100% correct. I’d like to offer some additional thoughts I’ve had for quite some time however.
To answer your question simply, people vote for Republicans because they like what they’re hearing from Republicans. That part has never changed.
But many things have changed. Things are very different now. We see what’s happening on the news, we read about it and we feel it in the air. We’re at each other’s throats and we literally hate each other. Many say it’s not impossible that we’re heading for another civil war, and it wouldn’t surprise me because the hatred and feelings of justification are there to say nothing of the powder kegs. All we need is a white-hot spark. What brought about these kinds of changes?
Donald Trump, of course.
If Trump only understood one thing well while in office, it was how to use social media platforms to tap into the bigotry, division and hatred below the surface and make them gush out like broken water mains. But how did a guy like Donald Trump come to be our President?
Our laws just let him in.
It seems our laws were built around what has proven to a naïve assumption that nobody would ever come along and actually try to destroy our democracy. We all felt that such an act would be impossible with such a strong government in place and that no citizen would ever be so ‘Un-American’ as to try. We put faith in the idea that everyone would play by the rules, even if we had ‘spirited’ disagreements. How wrong we were.
If our Founding Fathers installed safeguards to protect our democracy from evil players, they’ve certainly proven ineffective so far and that fact goes to my point that America never envisioned or believed that a ‘Donald Trump-Type’ President was coming or that a January 6th insurrection was even remotely possible.
Trump slipped in legally. There was nothing wrong the 2016 election. He won more electoral votes than Hillary and got the win, even though more citizens voted for Hillary than they did for Trump. If we had used the Popular Vote to elect our President in 2016, we wouldn’t be on the verge of losing our democracy today. Put another way, we all wouldn’t be swimming in a bucket of piss right now.
Trump came in like a trojan horse and easily did his dirty work. The Democrats got on their podiums and vociferously reminded him that he was expected to follow our rules and our laws. He came in with no such intentions. He simply ignored our rules, and backed by his complicit enablers in congress, he packed the Supreme Court so the Justices could legally change our rules to help him down the road. In our present day we can see his plans have worked very well. We have a GOP congress who knows they need only obstruct, stall and ignore our laws and they’ll eventually get their ways. And of course, our lopsided Supreme Court will likely have their backs. The bigger problem is that we can now do very little about it. Just as we once never dreamed that fully-fueled passenger jets would make excellent terrorist weapons, we never dreamed our own rules, procedures and laws would one day render us paralyzed and unable to fend off attacks from within… which is exactly what’s happening now.
We’re not high-thinking people in America, at least not those of us who need to be. We vet our supreme court picks but have no such process in place for those who run for our highest office. We rely on the antiquated Electoral College to choose our President instead of going with the will of the majority. We allow the filibuster and the almost certain impossibility of supermajorities to hog-tie us and allow a minority Congress to rule. We then tolerate a lopsided Supreme Court to potentially guide our country for generations to come. How can any of these things seem okay in our modern world that’s so different from when we started?
Over his time in the Oval Office, Trump quickly amassed more than 150 million followers across his social media platforms, and through them he fanned the flames of bigotry and hatred even more. He coined the term ‘Fake News’. It was brilliant in a diabolical sense because now his followers truly believe that genuine news is fake, and Fake News is genuine. Even worse, it’s progressed to the point where if one doesn’t like what one hears, it’s dismissed as being Fake. If one likes what one hears, it’s accepted as being factual. ‘Fake News’ is Trump’s legacy in more ways than one. We have people in the streets ready to go to war for our country because Trump told them that Joe Biden stole the election away from him. They think they’re the patriots and the Democrats are the insurrectionists. And of course, they’re wrong. But they swear that we are wrong.
In a democracy where we vote to choose our leaders, facts are immaterial on election day. All that counts are the beliefs, founded or not, that people bring with them to the polls.
It seems to me that the rules of our game were written with an underlying assumption that every player would naturally follow them fairly and justly, because that’s what we’ve come to expect of all good American Citizens. That’s not what’s happening. Trump changed the rules of the game while Democrats relied on the same old playbook. We’re presently getting the shit kicked out of us. By the looks of things, 2022 will simply clear the path to the end of our democracy in 2024. It’s surreal to think that. From where I sit however, it appears we need miracles to occur.
I have no solutions to offer that aren’t “too little, too late.” If we survive this, it’ll prove to every person in our country and in the world how resilient America can be. This is easily the greatest test for our country. If the Democrats pull some needed rabbits out of their hats and end up on the winning side, changes need to be made. Big changes. Changes big enough to allow us to make other changes when we most need to make them. Unlike our situation now where we can do little else but sit back and watch our country destroy itself from the inside out.