I had a great plan for yesterday. Make a big pot of chicken rice soup. Make homemade apple dumplings as a thank you for neighbors that helped us recently. Watch the beginning of the joint Congress session to see how that works. Get my new glasses and pick Ezra up from school. And then watch Manchester United vs Manchester City at 3 p.m. Ah…a great day.
Well that went to hell at 2:40 pm when I picked up Ezra, turned on NPR, and heard about the raiding of the Capitol. We got home and we turned on CNN.
I could not believe what I was watching. It reminded me of two previous life events. Tiananmen Square in 1989 when the government turned on its citizens and mowed them down. And Red Square in 1990 following the Soviet coup against Gorbachev when Boris Yelstin stood up, the tanks were rolling, and a peaceful, yet troubling, transition ensued.
Frankly, I did not know how it would end yesterday. Would there be massive death? A peaceful end? Something else? Thankfully, there was limited death and the insurrection fizzled out. (While we know that if this was a Black Live Matters protest, the conflict would have been great and people of color would have been attacked by law enforcement. We saw it this summer in DC. And for those who wonder why there was not a National Guard presence, President Trump did not call them up like he did during the BLM summer protests. Hmmm. Wonder why?)
So what’s next? Some thoughts to consider.
We need to define who Trump has been, is currently, and will forever be.
Merriam Webster defines narcissist as a) an extremely self-centered person who has an exaggerated sense of self-importance; and b) a person who is overly concerned with his or her physical appearance. Yep, he is that. Check.
Merriam Webster defines facist as someone who subscribes to a) a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition; and b) a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control. Yep, he is that. Check.
So for those that continue to fly Trump flags, wear MAGA hats, or sport other Trump paraphernalia, please decide: Are you willing to continue following a narcissistic fascist? Do you believe in facism? Something our country defeated in WWII? Time to decide.
We need to define what conservatism is as a political philosophy.
Conservatism is not Trumpism. Conservatism is not facism. People who support Trump and call themselves conservative are kidding themselves. They follow a fascist.
Merriam Webster defines conservatism as: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.
When I think about this, what I have always found important is the idea of social stability and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.
It’s my belief we need social stability so we can constructively create our dreams. Whether that is creating, having, and/or maintaining a wonderful family. Creating art. Designing a new product. Building a business. Traveling the world. Doing research. Farming. Selling a product. Playing a game. Practicing medicine. Protecting and advocating for the needs of people, including those who have been marginalized or ignored in our society. Without stability, it is hard to take the necessary risks to pursue dreams.
A second part of this definition is about the preference for gradual development to abrupt change. In my mind, many that call themselves conservative are not really conservative. They are reactionary. They want to go back to a world that does not exist anymore. I’m sorry, but we have color tv now. (Watch the movie Pleasantville starring Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire. It will help you understand the metaphor.)
It is important that we continue to work toward tearing down Jim Crow laws and their sinful legacy of systemic racism. We need to celebrate that LGBTQ people do not need to live in closets like they did 20 years ago. My Lord, we won the Cold War and eastern Europe is free. More work needs to be done for sure, but these are good things and I am glad that we now have color tv. People are better able to pursue their dreams.
Today, it is countries like China, Iran, Syria and North Korea as well as non-state actors like ISIS and al-Qaeda that are the institutions trying to suppress freedom. Let’s not have Trumpism and its facism philosophy suppress freedom and continue to use a word like conservatism as cover for their abhorrent behavior.
Where does the GOP go from here?
Stand up and lead.
Disown, expel and cleanse the party of Trump extremists. Let them go and start their own political party, and try to raise the money needed to have a viable voice.
Create a federal policy platform that focuses on social stability. As a start…
- Update the minimum wage and index it to inflation.
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Ensure affordable healthcare by improving the Affordable Care Act.
- Promote family stability by investing in early childhood development and education.
- Expand community college access for retraining adults who are losing jobs to automation.
Stop being obstructionists. Negotiate in good faith to address the real problems that Americans are facing in their daily lives.
There are many of us who are moderate and perhaps used to identify as Republicans. We have quietly watched the destruction of a political party that represented us over the course of the last 20 plus years. If the GOP cannot expel the Trump supporters, there needs to be a new center right party in this country that addresses social stability and acknowledges that life moves forward, change is inevitable, and freedom calls on us to include more people in decision making, not fewer.