At the time of this submission, what we all knew was that more “protests” were planned for all 50 state capitols. Most of us were also aware that the U.S. Capitol insurrectionists of Jan. 6 had threatened to execute by hanging elected officials starting with former Vice President Mike Pence! And he’s supposed to be on their team! Out! Of! Control!
What few of us knew, though, was that a growing minority of Trumpists felt betrayed by the dear leader in his call, weak as it was, to end the violence. Their attitude toward former President Donald Trump was now “get out of our way.” So I was hoping and praying there would be no loss of life on inauguration day.
How crazy is that? How the hell did we boil to the verge of a second Civil War? Well it didn’t start with Trump, oh hell no.
The insidiousness we have witnessed — and only emboldened by Trump — since electing the first Black president is a sick and evil mindset that still glorifies the old South and brings to mind the slavery era.
It was rekindled decades ago with Nixon’s Southern strategy and flared up during the Reagan administration with the mythical so-called “welfare queens.” It furthered with the end of the Fairness Doctrine and right-wing extremism’s dominance of AM talk radio. It was nurtured during Bush the Lesser’s administration by the likes of Frank “The Messaging Guru” Luntz, Karl “We Create Our Own Reality” Rove and Grover “Drown Government in a Bathtub” Norquist.
And it was galvanized by the astroturfed tea party movement during Obama’s first midterm election giving Republicans back their House majority. The scary Black man wanted to establish death panels and kill grandma, Republicans appeared to suggest; in reality, it was a handful of very rich and influential white guys who were already deciding grandma should die unless she had lots of money or really good health insurance. You see what that is? It’s called projection, and it’s a GOP staple. You falsely accuse your opponent of exhibiting your own behavior.
Speaking of lies, up until the Trump era, the mainstream media has been reticent to call out right-wing lies in real-time, if at all. It hasn’t helped that FOX News has been treated as a legitimate independent source of information. But with the coming of Trump and his blatant habitual lying, the media had no choice if they were to retain a shred of credibility among decent people.
So there you have it. We have a monstrous evil in bigotry, perpetuated by the Republican Party. And while we may never fully defeat it, we can sure as hell drive the bastard back into a closet. But it’s going to take work, commitment, and vigilance.
Charles Koch, a major Republican donor and multi-billionaire, recently expressed remorse over “his partisanship,” according to the Wall Street Journal, and called the tea party “largely unsuccessful long-term.” In a new book, Koch writes, “Boy, did we screw up! What a mess!”
That’s a hopeful sign that just maybe we can turn this thing around, but it’ll take more. A lot more! The lying has to stop! And the media can’t be allowed to let the lies go unchallenged again.
For now, we can only hope those charged with keeping us safe will be themselves kept safe from harm.
Jeff Taylor is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media.