More people than not are feeling that the country is moving in the wrong direction. Many want to “blow up the government” or “have a revolt” or just have “something different” because they feel that it just isn’t working for them. They are looking for external solutions or blaming the system – meaning both Democrats and Republicans. It is supposedly what has driven Donald Trump – and the country – into the position where we are now.
However, there is an answer that most shy away from and this is it – it’s primarily the responsibility of the Republicans. The Republicans have been building an alternate reality that can’t be maintained. It’s in possible to pinpoint a starting point but climate change is a bright spot there. The Clinton’s are probably another – an upset candidate with a strong woman as first lady. Then there were the wars. Afghanistan might have been close to inevitable after 9/11 but Iraq was purely a Bush/Cheney invention and if it’s not an illegal war its closer to it than we should ever come. Then came the “upstart” election of Barrack Obama and we had our first African-American President. He was made other during the election and it continued and perhaps worsened as he continued to serve.
The Republicans deciding to make President Obama a “one-term president” the day after he was inaugurated. They wanted President Obama to fail. That was their main purpose. They weren’t looking for what was best for the country. They were entirely focused on making him a failure – to the extreme that he would offer them what they wanted and they would say no. They also had to say that everything the President did was wrong. It led to some incredibly maneuvering. Things they advocated for, when acted on by the President, were then called out as being wrong.
The President had to find different ways to do things because if he seemed to be working with the Republican leadership then the Republicans would then act against whatever deal they had developed. Republicans have decided that they must have everything that they wanted, exactly as they wanted, or they would not pass anything. For a country whose very foundation is laid upon compromise it is a recipe for disaster.
Think of the sequestration as an example. I was still working at COMET (meted.ucar.edu) when the whole sequestration deal was worked out and it almost destroyed our program. I knew it was a disaster as soon as it was announced. A deal that was so catastrophic that, if allowed to go into place, everyone and everything would suffer. It was supposed to be a deal so bad that they would come up with a compromise – instead the Republicans would not compromise and so we got sequestration which has been catastrophic to agencies like the NWS.
Another example is the absolute refusal to raise taxes. Tradition holds that when we go to war as a country than the entire country sacrifices. We used to pay for wars with special war taxes and usually we would have the draft so that everyone was sacrificing, everyone’s son (and now daughters) would be at risk. President Bush and the Republicans put the wars on a credit card (as it were) and now they are blaming the debt on President Obama. They are also cutting critical programs at home because there must always be an offset and there can’t always be an offset. In fact, the thing they want to do most is cut taxes further. Then they complain that bridges and roads and pipes are crumbling and blame it entirely on the Democrats and, of course, President Obama.
To do this the Republicans have turned themselves into what I’ve started calling the pretzel party. They have to twist and turn to justify their actions an avoid their own lies. They have made fiction into fact, they ignore facts and science, and now live essentially in an alternate reality. I don’t know how they are going to break free of it. They have built so much on lies, mistruths, denial and to admit that one lie was made or that science is real will bring their entire house of cards falling down.
The United States is not maligned around the world or we weren’t before Trump became a reality. We are thought of better now than we were when President Obama took office. Had we had a second stimulus we would be in a better financial situation. Sometimes we do have to raise taxes. Sometimes you have to just do something without having an offset. If your roof is damaged you need to fix it – if you don’t the whole thing can fall in or as President Lincoln said a house divided cannot stand. Sometimes you just have to spend money. How is it conceivable that we have not fixed the pipes in Flint, MI or how is it that we haven’t funded Zica research. Zica is a disease carried by mosquitos – there was no chance that it wasn’t going to reach the US. It made sense for us to attack it before it did but the Republicans would not make the funding available.
But, you might say, isn’t this the fault of the Democrats also. Sometimes it’s the Democrats who vote no but there are always poison pills behind it. Defund Planned Parenthood with Zica funding, for example.
The Republicans are very good at twisting the truth, denying the facts, building their alternate reality. Donald Trump is the apex of their reality, the logical outcome. A candidate who has only a passing relationship with the truth. A candidate who panders to conspiracy theories. A man who twists truths and panders to the worst instincts. He also brings to light the things that the Republicans try not to say out loud. Their racist, misogynistic, xenophobic beliefs and underpinnings. It was seen in the calls for President Obama’s birth certificate. The names he was called, the disregard he was given. When John McCain called President Obama feckless there was a disregard there that went further than party differences. I’ve written a bit about this – I saw the movie Red Tails just after seeing McCain talking about the President and it really hit me – this was a man who would not accept that an African American man had beaten him. He was never going to give the President the respect that he deserved.
It’s absolutely accepted and acceptable that people have different policies and ideas but facts have to be facts. If we can’t start with that we are lost and the Republican party has fallen far away from facts. It remains to see if the party itself can survive but if they do they have to pull back and accept reality and work toward the success of the country and that means supporting and working toward the success of the President.
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