When U.S. politics was divided into only two camps it made for pretty comfortable, albeit uneven, progress. The U.S. would elect a Democratic slate and things would bend a little bit left of center. They would elect a Republican slate and things would bend a little bit right. Just like Obama said in his farewell address, that is the nature of U.S. political history. However, Obama was being idealistic, and I think he knows he was presenting an overly idealistic viewpoint with which to console much of the U.S. voting public.
With the small ‘bends’ in policy described above, there was actually a strong dedication to veering only slightly off a centrist (moderate) path. Dedicated Democrats would grumble softly as the likes of Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, GHW Bush and GWBush had their hands on the tiller, guiding the ship of state on an even, predictable course. Similarly, Republicans were mildly upset but not crying for blood when the likes of Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton were in charge. By the time Obama came into office, things had changed, and he was resisted with an unreasonable vehemence that defied logical explanation. It engendered lots of vitriol, plenty of emotion, but the resistance had no reasonable underpinnings. But by then the Republican Party had embraced fanatical elements that seemed to drive the party’s agenda. It was not a two party system any longer.
Things have not become better with the election of Trump. There is even a legitimate question about whether or not he was elected, and if so, by whom. So what’s the problem?
The problem, that began before Trump’s semi-royal succession, is that the centrist right Republican Party was hi-jacked by extreme elements that would like very much to do away with government altogether. Now, they are in power and their “No government” mantra is just beginning to foul things up in a big way.
Trump’s firings of diplomats without making sure that their replacements have been selected, trained and brought up to speed leaves the smaller-government U.S. in a precariously vulnerable international position. His firings of government attorneys smacks of the same tactic used by Nixon as he tried desperately to cover his easily observed tracks when he fired his attorney general and his deputy attorney general for refusing to fire special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, then appointed another dupe who agreed to fire Cox. The tactic didn’t resolve Nixon’s problems. Even the president is not above the law. The law caught up with Nixon and the law will surely catch up with Trump.
Isn’t it libellous to accuse a former president of ordering illegal wire-tapping without a hint of evidence being supplied? The president has been caught lying, cheating, refusing to pay contractors for work ordered and performed, i.e., stealing.
Trump is a disgrace to the country but that, in itself, is no big deal. Andrew Jackson with his wild “Hillbilly Parties,” Lyndon Johnson with his toilet-top media interviews and Bill Clinton with his sexual liaisons all had their disgraceful moments. That’s all pretty uncomfortable, but shouldn’t actually influence how they govern. Trump’s fascination with how girls pee is neither here nor there. It’s the other stuff, the baseless accusations of wrongdoing and the tendency to accuse his opponents of whatever nefarious crap he, himself, is perpetrating that worries me.
Will the centrists in both of the traditional parties recognize the threat for what it is and act together to defeat that threat? It doesn’t seem too likely, yet I hold out hope. I don’t know why. Time and time again, Trump and far right fanatics have brought forward Alice-in-Wonderland, illogical rants and demanded swift ‘justice’ against opponents. Trump brought forward accusations of wire-tapping against Obama without any evidence what-so-ever, then on the basis of his say-so alone, he labelled such imagined activity as ‘McCarthyism.’ Remember Trump’s tendency to accuse his opponents of that which he is doing? Think of that when you learn of Trump’s massive firings of people ideologically opposed to his short-sighted policies. 46 attorneys fired, all at once? Trump supporters will ignore Trump’s libel and in their simple-minded way, they will repeat one of Trump’s signature catch-phrases, “He’s draining the swamp.” Case closed. The issue deserves no further thought (not that any thought was given to it in the first place).
No he isn’t ‘draining the swamp’! He is stifling opposition in the very same way that Senator Joseph McCarthy stifled and ruined well-meaning folks who were insufficiently right-wing to please his views.
It is time for moderate Republicans to stand up to the vehement and admittedly scary right-wing fanatics. Take back your party! I know that some of you marvel at the success that an unchecked right-wing has had, but what has that success been based on? It has been based on fear, on ignorance, on a misplaced kind of Nietzchesque concept of the “superman,” a man who is above all legal and moral considerations. If you can’t see the parallels to the rise of Hitler and his wildly enthusiastic support by people who were seeking relief from mental burdens, then, please study the history of Germany during the period 1918-1939. They were not all bad people, but they were too angry, and in their anger, they failed to give full thought to the implications of what their illustrious leader was proposing, then perpetrating. But he helped them to feel good about themselves. He was their hero. Woe to the scapegoats.
Take the party back, moderate Republicans! Be the heroes to many more people than the rabble or the Russians who wanted Trump in power. Be the true patriots who will not abandon traditional American ideals like freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the laws of the land. Disallow the hijacking of your once grand party, the GOP. Members of the Main Street Partnership, including Senators McCain, Capito, Young, Collins and Murkowski and many Congressional Representatives need to form alliances with centrist Democrats to become the unbreakable bulwark that will steadfastly resist the too convenient redefinition of traditional American freedoms.
Your president is attacking your free press! Your president is attacking your freedom of speech! Join forces to resist such tyranny! The centre is the true heart of America. Don’t let the blond weasel trump your heart!