The United States Is Broken

As many of you know from these pieces, I am basically an optimist. I want to believe that given the chance, most people will do the right thing. I am no longer certain of that. In my past pieces, I tried to present a balanced approach to issues, even if I do express my opinions and have things that I am for or against.

Today, I am not pulling any punches. I am sick and tired of a large number of Republican politicians that are trying to destroy our country in order to return it to an era where white men ruled without question and citizens that do not share their world view are discouraged or prevented from voting. In order to achieve those goals, they are willing to turn our form of government into an autocracy and are willing to support a coup to attain their desired end state.

First and foremost, anyone, repeat, anyone, that supports Donald J. Trump is a traitor to the ideals of our country. I no longer tolerate the “yeah but, he did this or that which was such a great policy.” There are no “yeah, buts.” There are no “both sides.” I did not, and do not, understand why anyone would support him for president, but for arguments’ sake I will take people of good faith at their word that he truly was such a master of economic, immigration, pandemic mitigation or whatever policy you choose, that it was worth looking past his misogyny, racism, greed, criminal enterprises, and the like. All that ended after the 2020 election. Besides the insurrectionist attack on the seat of government on 6 January, we now know that there was an active, multi-layered, wide-spread attempt to thwart the will of the voters and to keep Trump in office past the end of his term. The attack on 6 January was just the last phase of that effort.

In my mind, it’s game over. Period. That undoes any good he possibly could have done. Anyone that still supports Trump, the Big Lie, or any other avenue aimed at returning him to office is a co-conspirator to overthrowing the government and should never be allowed to hold office. Unfortunately, it seems that the price to pay to run for almost any office in our land as a Republican is unabashed support of the Big Lie. Our country has gone nuts in support of a man with no moral compass or integrity. A sad turn of events.

Exacerbating the problem is the rash of racism sweeping the country and the open advocacy of the great replacement theory. This is the idea that “Democrats” and “others” are purposely bringing in immigrants of color to “replace” white citizens in jobs, voting, and economic prosperity in order to take over the country and install a “socialist” regime. Republican politicians such as Elise Stefanik (NY) (the number three ranking Republican in the House), Ron Johnson (WI), Matt Gaetz (FL), Senate candidates J.D. Vance (OH), Eric Schmitt (MO) and Blake Masters (AZ) and many more — it is quite a list — openly or obliquely espouse it. TV “personalities” such as Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson push it openly on their programs (according to the NY Times, Carlson has done so over 400 times). And of course, Donald J. Trump turned making people afraid of the “others” that were going to replace them into an art form. Anyone who is not a white Christian fits into the pattern of those “replacing” the “true” members of American society. That includes Jews, African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and non-white immigrants (or “third world voters” as Carlson calls them).

Wow. A lot to unpack there.

The replacement theory is the basis for numerous mass shootings in recent years, including Pittsburgh, El Paso, Poway CA, and elsewhere. Of course, most recently, it is the alleged motivation behind the Tops supermarket massacre in Buffalo. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) the movement has its roots in the early 1900’s in France. It was picked up in the United States to justify Jim Crow laws and the continued oppression of African-Americans. The theory rebounded in the current era when another French writer Renaud Camus published “Le Grand Replacement” (the great replacement) in 2011. His book focused on immigrants from Africa and Asia, especially Muslim immigrants, that will take over Europe due to higher birth rates which will eventually drive European whites into extinction. White supremacists around the world latched on to this revived theory to justify their racist activity. Thus the claims that a “white genocide” is underway. It is now a growing refrain from Republican politicians around the country and has taken on an anti-semitic tone as some of the theory’s advocates believe that a Jewish cabal is orchestrating the “take over” on behalf of the Democrats.

Yes it sounds crazy. Unfortunately, it is increasingly a mainstream Republican talking point.

Finally, we are coming apart at the seams because we put guns over the lives of our children. There were huge protests surrounding the wearing of masks in schools during the ongoing pandemic, but people just shrug when 19 innocent kids and two teachers are gunned down in their classroom. (Ho hum, thoughts and prayers.) Republican politicians such as Ted Cruz (TX) smarmily tell us he is so saddened by this event, but mostly because now Democrats, the mainstream media and “others” (that word again) will try to use it for political advantage. When is enough enough? I have written too many times following such tragedies that we are the only developed country in the world with this problem. The Second Amendment does not give citizens the right to carry semi-automatic weapons of war into classrooms. Canada, Australia, England, and many other countries share our values, movies, video games, mental health problems and all of the other “reasons” people give to explain away these atrocities and yet, it is extremely rare for them to experience the type of violence that happens with increasing frequency in our country.

It is shameful. If more guns made us safer we would be the safest country in the world. And we most definitely are not.

In my view, we as a country are in big, big trouble. I am not sure we can survive as the country we know for much longer. We have a former president posting from his castle in Florida about an impending “civil war”. Is he advocating for one? I’m not sure, but some folks in our country will see it as a call to arms.

So am I down on the Republican Party? Yes. I am not saying that every Republican advocates for these issues. I am saying that increasing numbers of them are. By far, most disheartening is that good people in the Senate and elsewhere that know that this is an impending doomsday crisis say nothing. They remain silent. They do not condemn their fellow office holders for being anti-American. Crickets. Apparently they are either afraid or else regaining power is of the utmost importance, even if it means more people die, elections are overturned and morons run the government.

Meanwhile the Democrats, especially in the Senate, sit around wringing their hands and expounding on how bad things are. Fix it! You are in power. Do something! If the Democratic leadership has not figured out by now that Republicans are never — never — going to support any action that makes President Biden or the Democratic Congress look good then they deserve to be replaced. Republicans even voted in a bloc to deny funds to help to alleviate the baby formula crisis. Come on! Why would any right thinking Democrat believe that they will get Republican support for anything? Boo hoo. The filibuster keeps us from acting. I guarantee that when Mitch McConnell (KY) takes over as the Senate Majority Leader there will be numerous “carve outs” preventing the use of the filibuster for legislation that he wants to see passed.

There is an old saying that we get the government we deserve. I think we deserve better than that which we might be about to experience. The only way things change is through the ballot box. There is a part of me ready to throw up my hands and say “screw it!” Let loose the hounds! Then I calm down and say to myself that if I don’t care, then what kind of world will our kids and grandkids live in?

We can do better. We must do better. Otherwise we will be hopelessly broken.

3 Comments on “The United States Is Broken”

  1. Bruce Hargus says:

    This is who we are now, I’m afraid.

  2. Ellen says:

    Thank you, Tom, for articulating the current crisis in such a clear and compelling way.

  3. Barbara Filipiak says:

    Yes, we are in trouble and responsible citizens are afraid and feeling frustrated and angry. What would Ted Cruz say if the shooting happened at the school his children or grandchildren attend? As a retired teacher, I am just devastated, those were the ages of the students I taught. There are no more words.

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