A Fever That Will Not Break
Updated: Feb 3
There is a sickness that has overtaken the Republican Party.
Much like any cancer, it started small. A few white supremacists here, a couple conspiracy theorists there. Now, the virus has spread out of control, and the vast majority of the party is either on board with it or too frightened to fight it.
It’s a fever that will not break.
The extremist element has become the Republican mainstream, and there is a crisis of courage among those who would stand opposed to it. The few who have bravely stuck to their principles, like Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, have been rewarded with a ruthless onslaught of attacks against their character and threats to their personal safety.
At the same time, Representatives like Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, Florida’s Matt Gaetz and Ohio’s Jim Jordan, who in a different time would have been met with universal scorn, derision and ridicule, have been encouraged to spread their baseless bile. Anti-democracy senators, like Texas’s Ted Cruz and Missouri’s Josh Hawley, are given endless amounts of attention, airtime and exposure in the right-wing media.
Instead of writing off a defeated, twice-impeached Donald Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to Mar-a-Lago this week to strategize with him. Instead of turning the page on one of the most vile chapters in American history, Republicans seem poised to prolong it.
The GOP can no longer claim it is the party of fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and smaller government. It is now the party of Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters. It is the party of QAnon. It is the party of propaganda. It is the party of voter suppression. It is the party of bigotry. And it is the party of sedition.
An armed insurrection of Americans hell-bent on destroying our democracy overwhelmed the U.S. Capitol. Five people died as a result of the riotous mob, including a police officer who was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher.
In its aftermath, only 10 out of the 211 House Republicans whose very lives were imperiled voted to impeach the president who incited it. In the Senate, just five out of 50 Republicans voted in favor of proceeding with the trial, an early indication that Trump will likely escape accountability once again.
This came after 147 Republicans, a full 56 percent of them, voted to overturn a free-and-fair election. Their coup attempt failed, and the cult leader is now out of office, but the Republicans who remain in government are either terrified of his rabid base or emboldened by it.
This disease may have spread gradually, but the infection is now widespread. The majority of today’s Republican electorate is comprised of dimwitted fools, violent fascists, racists, militiamen, white supremacists, white nationalists, religious extremists, bad cops, rapacious capitalists, gun nuts and anti-vaxxers, so we should no longer be surprised when GOP lawmakers represent those views.
They are serving their constituents.
This is who they are now, and it’s time right-thinking Americans accept it and understand it so we can fight it. Donald Trump is no longer president. His feared Twitter feed has been shut down. He hasn’t been seen or heard from in the 10 days since Joe Biden took office. Yet, Republicans are still rallying to his defense, courting his voters and laying the groundwork for future chaos.
The sickness that started in Charlottesville and spread to our capital city is a full-blown national crisis. Joe Biden has repeatedly called for unity, but it is difficult to envision a scenario in which this can be possible in the near term.
Democracy cannot unify with fascism. Facts cannot unify with falsehoods. Science cannot unify with willful ignorance. Racial justice cannot unify with racism. Generosity cannot unify with greed.
The malignant facets of Trumpism have metastasized, and Americans who truly care about this country must spend the next four years fighting to eradicate this virulent illness.
Or else, we will all find ourselves right back where we started.