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CSotD: USA in the ICU

Matt Wuerker (Politico) suggests that reports of the death of the GOP have not been greatly exaggerated, and not only do I agree, but I think he’s kind in labeling that monitor “Grip on Reality” rather than “Brain Function,” though they amount to the same thing.

As noted here the other day, Republicans who, in its wake, condemned the riot and attempted coup of January 6 have since not simply forgotten their statements of the moment but actively recanted them, with Ted Cruz being the most blatant.

As Wuerker suggests, infusions of shame have had no effect.

It is no exaggeration to refer to the claim of a fixed election as “The Big Lie.”

It was used for the same thing then as it is being used for today.

Trump seemed to be kidding when he claimed he could shoot someone without losing support, but — four years and 30,000 lies later — it’s obvious that his loyal minions will support him no matter how blatantly he lies in their faces.

It began with ignoring the Access Hollywood tape and the hundreds of thousands of outraged women who protested his vulgar misogyny. Then he began his administration with an absurd, easily disproven lie about the size of the crowd at his inauguration.

Gradually, it built, until we saw 820,000 Americans die from a virus the President denied was a serious problem, while he proposed nonsensical preventatives and cures and silenced the experts, promoting distrust of masks, and of the vaccines, as a measure of patriotic loyalty.

Where are we now?

 

The official, certified Twitter account of the National Republican Party has the astonishing gall to post this message …

 

… within four days of their appalling abandonment of the police who risked their lives to save lawmakers.

“Stand with them every day”? They wouldn’t even stand with them for a single moment of silence.

“Four legs good, two legs better” does not begin to cover this insult to common sense, or to this example of how effective blatant falsehoods can be in a world of trusting people.

 

Russell Hodin points out the corporate support flowing to the promoters of the Big Lie and deniers of the truth of January 6, and, while I haven’t taken the time to verify each of those logos, here’s a rundown of who promised to stop supporting sedition a year ago but has since broken that pledge.

In order to save the country, we have to get money out of politics, but who is going to bell that cat?

And it’s not simply that incumbents accumulate massive war chests with which to run for re-election. It’s that incumbents seem to have larger houses and more glorious automobiles and more lavish lifestyles the longer they remain in office.

We need to not only get money out of politics, but get it out of politicians.

Fat chance.

 

Matt Davies (AMS) illustrates the peril of a two-party system in which one party is determined to seize all power at any cost.

Though various people currently harp upon the weaknesses of the Electoral College and the Senate, perhaps the Founders made a more fundamental problem in hoping that we could avoid the influence in our democracy of political parties.

If they assumed that the Federalists and Anti-Federalists would disappear like a morning mist upon ratification of the Constitution, it took very little time for parties to arise and disabuse them of that naive hope.

Perhaps they assumed — hoped — that additional parties would spring up, that the nation would not find itself torn between only two political parties, such that one or the other would hold a majority at any given moment, with never the need to form reasonable, compromising coalitions with those smaller interest groups.

It’s true that the Whigs fell, only to have the infant Republican Party fill the gap, but let’s not forget that this change was immediately followed by the death of 750,000 young Americans — 2.5% of our population, or the equivalent today of 8,275,000.

Which did not lead to diversity, political or otherwise.

It seems the unlikely cure now would be for decent leaders to step up in defense of the nation’s best interests.

But let’s not blame this disaster entirely on the Republican Party.

We are willing, eager accomplices who have adopted our own methods of amusing our country to death, as seen in this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Steve Brodner)

 

(Bob Englehart)

We’re not content to sit passively watching “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Bachelor” while Rome burns.

No, we’re like the vapid, tranquilized wife in “Fahrenheit 451” who happily chirps scripted answers to her interactive soap operas, only we prefer the more active bond we get by clicking “like” and “share” to the populist outpourings on Facebook and TikTok and Snapchat and their cohorts.

All the while absorbing and embracing their simpleminded messages about the glories of walking on two legs and learning the sum of 2+2, and despising the evil of Snowball and Immanuel Goldstein, and taking shelter from the storm in the comforting love of Big Brother.

What’s to be done?

 

I’m honestly not sure whether Michael Ramirez (Creators) is warning that the Voting Rights Act will destroy our fierce independence, or predicting that it will crush the traitors and fascists who rally under that flag. Still, those who fly it seem far more interested in defending their own selfish interests than in preserving a multicultural society in which people care for each other.

 

And so I prefer the clarity of Clay Bennett (CTFP)‘s dire warning.

I say that as someone who has always prized democracy, even when I didn’t agree with the outcome of an election, and someone who recognizes with foreboding the success with which rabid, anti-democratic forces have been rallied.

And as someone who realizes how much shoe leather it would take to reverse the normal losses for an incumbent president in an off-year election.

My faith is in interpreting Bennett’s cartoon, not as a call for turnout this November, but to pass the Voting Rights Act before access to polls and the fair counting of ballots has been compromised by authoritarian, power-grasping state legislatures.

The gyre is widening; We must call back the falcon while he can still hear us.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 ANDREA DENNINGER
January/10/2022
@ 9:53 am

“I don’t think he’s coming back.”

I disagree; I don’t think he’s ever going to completely leave. The Lazarus effect will come into play.

#2 Brian Fies
January/10/2022
@ 10:37 am

I’m as puzzled as you are by the Ramirez. Knowing his usual leaning, I first took it to mean that the Freedom to Vote Act would trample over the liberties of brave American patriots. But sometimes Ramirez zigs when you expect him to zag, and he could also mean that the Freedom to Vote Act would crush the poisonous anti-democratic snake that, these days, hides behind that flag. There’s something almost admirable about a cartoon so inscrutable that it could mean two opposite things at the same time. A Ramirez Rorschach.

My take on the Wuerker is slightly different, I think. I don’t think that elephant is on its deathbed. I take “coming back” to mean returning to something like the old GOP of folks like Bob Dole and John McCain, conservative but patriotic and not insane. That GOP is probably dead, but the psychotic GOP that’s taken its place is far from mortally wounded. In fact, in the next few years it could rise from that bed and bring down the whole hospital if we let it. As warned by Bennett.

#3 Brian Fies
January/10/2022
@ 11:16 am

Before the Legion of Reptile Pedants lays into me, I clearly meant “venomous anti-democratic snake” instead of “poisonous anti-democratic snake,” and do know the difference. But they’ll both kill’ya.

#4 ANDREA DENNINGER
January/10/2022
@ 3:37 pm

@Brian: You could be right about that interpretation. NOT that I liked the previous iteration of the GOP, but darn, it was sure better than a sharp stick in the eye . . . or the GOP that exists today.

#5 George Paczolt
January/11/2022
@ 6:28 am

Nice to know I’m not the only one who’s not sure which of the two alternatives Ramirez cartoon covers. Not helped by the knowledge that he’s one of the few conservative cartoonists that doesn’t automatically parrot the current GOP/Trump line all the time.

My immediate reaction was the he was predicting the demise of the Don’t Tread on Me faction. Which was a “woah!”

#6 Bob Rawson
January/13/2022
@ 8:11 pm

I think Trump’s Big Lie strategy started immediately following the 2016 Iowa caucuses, when he accused Cruz of stealing the victory through fraud and demanded a do-over.

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