“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent persuasive and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” (President John F. Kennedy)
Almost all Republican lawmakers – from the very top at the federal government level all the way down to the state and local levels, are supporting the bill that was recently made law in Georgia making it harder for citizens of the state of Georgia to vote. Many of these lawmakers are openly supporting this law while others are tacitly supporting it. But make no mistake, all of them are supporting it; as regards those who are providing tacit support, their silence is deafening!
And all of these Republicans are openly attacking democracy in an effort to silence American voters of color to try to assure that white Americans will always rule no matter the will of the American people as a whole. What they do not seem to realize is that they are taking away the voices of white Americans as well: Or maybe they do realize this but simply do not care as long as they, those that are currently in power, will remain in power. Mr. Donald J. Trump – previously the occupier of the Oval Office, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Matt Gaetz are among a number of Republican congressmen who have said that Republicans will never win another election if congress makes it easier to vote.
Donald J. Trump, the immediate past The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America, has emboldened Republicans and no matter how brazen their acts, they are doing exactly what they want to do no matter what their constituents are telling them that they want them to do: They are showing their true colors and like gangbangers they are flashing the gang signs of the gang that they belong to, the Donald J. Trump Republican Party (DJTRP).
They want everyone to know that they are proud to be a part of the DJT-led Republican Party. And like with any gang, those who flash the signs of that gang who are not totally committed to the gang or who are fake gang members – if caught – will pay a terrible price. They will be challenged in a primary election (primaried) so that they will never reach the general election. In some extreme cases their political careers will be ruined, chasing them completely out of politics.
These Republican politicians who come under attack by Mr. Trump and the DJTRP gang, depending on how ambitious they are and their individual political calculus, react in different ways. Some of them suddenly decide that it is time for them to retire. Some, like Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who refused to be bullied by Mr. Trump into cooperating with him to overturn President Joe Biden’s win in Georgia, have buyers’ remorse and try to kowtow their way back into Mr. Trump’s good favor.
Still others, like Senator Mitt Romney, go completely silent and slowly fade to black as if they are some sort of minor supporting actor in a theatrical play. No matter how they react, they are abdicating their responsibility and sworn duty as America’s elected leaders by voluntarily placing the decision of whether or not American democracy will survive into the hands of the DJTRP: And they are doing this while aware that American democracy is under full frontal attack, that the reason for this attack is founded on lies and myths and that those supporting the DJTRP are supporting Mr. Trump and his gang based on these lies and myths; especially Mr. Trumps “big lie” which claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him! These Republican lawmakers are completely aware that there is an existential threat to the American Republic! Who are these people that “We the People” placed all of our confidence in to protect America against all enemies foreign and domestic; are they at all recognizable?!
Although it is easy to point out Republicans because it is their party that is leading the charge to support Mr. Trump’s “Big Lie” and punish those who refuse to support it, there are a few Democrats who must be held to account for what smacks of placing their political ambitions ahead of country. Chief among those few Democrats is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. Although according to a national poll released by Data for Progress and Equal Citizens – 67% of Americans support H.R.1 (For the People Act) which when broken down by party affiliation equals 56% Republican, 68% Independent and 77% Democrat – Senator Manchin still feels that he knows what is best for all of America and since the For the People Act does not meet his criteria as the proper solution to this particular problem, he says that he cannot support the bill.
Because the senate is controlled by Democrats by an extremely slim margin (Democrats and Republicans each hold 50 seats) and Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote is needed to break any tie votes, Senator Manchin’s vote is crucial. Senator Manchin knows this and so therefore knows that he wields great power. This power appears to be presenting him with a challenge that he is finding hard to deal with; or not. Whether or not this is due to his political ambitions is hard to determine but he is unabashedly basking in the large amount of press attention that he is suddenly receiving.
This feeling of “I know what is best for America and only I can fix the situation” is not something that is without precedent with Senator Manchin. Senator Manchin and Republican senator Pat Toomey worked together in 2013 on a senate compromise version of a gun bill passed by the House that they were confident would be passed in the senate. But it failed because it could not garner the 60 votes that it needed to overcome the filibuster. And still, here we are in 2021 having the same old discussions about gun control even after all of the people that have died between 2013 and 2021 – and before that, and lawmakers are likely to do the same thing that they have always done: Nothing!
This time – as mentioned previously in this article, we are not only confronted with violent gun deaths that have been perpetrated by individuals using assault rifles, but we are faced with an obvious frontal attack on our democracy. And even under these circumstances Senator Manchin seems determined to exercise his “I know what is best for America and only I can fix the situation” power: He seems to be eager to be the first to let the press know that he does not support the House gun control bill or the For the People Act and that he is against eliminating the filibuster or in any way altering it.
What is Senator Manchin’s angle and how hard and how far is he willing to push to achieve his goal, whatever that might be?! Has he fallen victim to his own political ambition? Maybe…maybe not. But whatever it is that is driving Senator Manchin, when the reckoning actually arrives, one can only hope that he will come down firmly on the side of democracy.
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line