We are out of time. A year in the aftermath of an attempted coup has not changed enough to prevent the next one. There is a clear and dangerous line from the attack on the capital last January, misdirected pandemic fury, and the ongoing assaults on the independence of our elections. A power-hungry President attempted to destroy the American project. Politicizing commonsense health measures perverted a nationwide crisis into a series of national tragedies. Poisonous rage is infecting all levels of our civic society, down to municipalities and schools. Merely lamenting these divisions, or making empty pleas to “come together” is as good as silence. History insists we act. It will take every one of us to prevent the foundations of communities from eroding. Democracy itself is on the line.
Grifters are profiting from the undermining of American institutions, eroding faith in democratic ideals, and common goodwill. Reckless lying is compromising a safe and better future. Indulging delusions has demonized civil servants, from school administrators to medical professionals and election boards. There are still millions in denial about the results of the 2020 election because corrupt liars led their followers to alienation, crimes, even injury and death. Performative refusals to accept clean and confirmed election returns incited a still-smoldering insurrection. Raw hate is erupting from keyboards and mics, as those who fall victim to conspiracies see neighbors as traitors. This is not normal politics, nor an expression of freedom; it is political violence. The truth can hurt, but these lies are getting people killed.
Tribalism and groupthink is not unique to one party, but the cultish worship of one politician is dangerous and anti-American. Republican values have been abandoned by the GOP. A party with an honorable democratic tradition is now further committed to protecting one spoiled man’s fragile ego than the lives of Americans. This party has rejected free speech, as it purges disagreement from its ranks and lampoons traditional Republicans for standing by principles. Representatives like Anthony Gonzales and Adam Kitzinger are not seeking re-election due to “toxic dynamics” in their Party, while Representative Liz Cheney is besieged. Recently, Representative Dan Crenshaw called out this “performative” caucus of false conservatives on their self-serving agendas. These are a dwindling few remaining in a Party that no longer advocates personal responsibility, patriotism, or the rule of law, while it soaks in grift, regurgitates the Kremlin’s propaganda, and overlooks attacks on American elections.
America finally lost the Republican Party in 2021, but we have not lost Republicans. We have not lost our Constitution. Voting on superficial political allegiances is not democratic, thus each of us must be mindful of our power and responsibility. Each of us must engage with our communities, civic society, and elections. The stakes are too high for normal partisan games. Disagreements are very real, and worldviews are not impersonal, but hate is a weapon of political hacks. Right now the angriest voices are setting agendas to divide, rehash culture wars, bully students into regressive conformity, and deny real threats to safety. Communities will only build trust if we learn to understand the diversity of beliefs and experiences. We cannot accept politicians thought-policing our classrooms. We will not accept death threats as normal politics. Americans have broad agreements despite wide divides in information and we now have shared experiences that could bring us closer. Only by acting and voting together can we keep schools and businesses safe, and overcome the challenges in our community. Vote for our futures, not on bitter pasts, or we lose this Republic.
East Rockhill Township
Originally Published in the Intelligencer