October 01, 2022

Turning the tide

The whole country seems to be in limbo while we’re waiting for some conclusions. There’s the January 6 Committee report to be released by year’s end. The midterm elections are less than two months away. The Department of Justice may hand down indictments on a number of people.

In the midst of all this, the tide may be turning. Perhaps, instead of continuing our downward trajectory in political discourse, achieving closure on these issues will bring much needed relief.

We must admit this has been a tough year. There’s been the struggle to fight off variants of COVID while dealing with catastrophic weather events, horrific violence and inflation. We’ve seen some nasty primary campaigns already, and the general election races will probably be uglier still.

With this being an off-year election, everyone had assumed there will be a change in the House and Senate majorities. Now we’re not so certain Republicans will defeat Democrats in November and take over the leadership of either chamber. Democrats have had several legislative victories and the adverse effects of Supreme Court decisions have caused a shift in thinking among the voting public.

There’s definitely fatigue among American voters from the constant uproar in our lives. We’re tired of being blindsided by court decisions, sick of gun violence, frustrated by economic after effects of the pandemic, disturbed by nasty political rhetoric and irritated by several exceptionally stupid politicians.

Many Americans are also really tired of having to think about Donald Trump. Granted, there’s an awful lot of people who thrive on conflict and controversy. It’s obvious if one sees their constantly angry comments on Twitter and prime-time cable TV. Although those people never seem to tire of keeping things stirred up, most Americans just want to get past all this turmoil and concentrate on the future.

It didn’t have to be this way. America had a chance to turn the page in November 2020. When Joe Biden was elected president, much of the country was relieved the mayhem of the previous four years was finally over - despite the idiocy of those insisting the election was stolen.

We then thought the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol would finally do it. Trump’s more radical supporters were exposed as violent insurrectionists. Many Republican officials, leaders and wealthy donors were ready to abandon Trump when they realized he had encouraged the attack on the Capitol.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the January 6 attack, “Trump’s actions were impeachable. If this isn’t impeachable, I don’t know what is.”

Sen. Lindsay Graham proclaimed, “Enough is enough. I’m done. All I can say is count me out.”

House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who still voted that night against certifying Biden’s election, spoke passionately on the House floor, “The violence, destruction and chaos we saw on January 6 was unacceptable, undemocratic and un-American. The President bears responsibility for attacks on Congress by mob rioters.”

Here was their chance to be rid of Donald Trump once and for all. Republicans could have confronted him and condemned his claim the election was stolen. They could have recaptured control over their own party and regained credibility.

But then Kevin McCarthy reversed course. His ambition to become Speaker of the House took precedence over everything else. He quickly recognized Trump’s radical supporters in the House would not support his election to be Speaker if he turned on Trump.

McCarthy flew to Mar-A-Lago and met with Trump. He begged his forgiveness, gained his support for the speakership and proudly tweeted a photo of them together. Since then, he’s blithely ignored Trump’s legal problems and contradicted his own previous criticism.

It’s clear the only way Trump’s domination of Republicans will end is when their leaders step up and condemn his destructive influence on their party. Unfortunately, even McConnell, who obviously cannot stand the former president, fails to take him on.

McCarthy cares only about his obsessive ambition to be Speaker. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and others should confront this ongoing threat to their party, but they won’t. Governor Kim Reynolds still says, “It’s an honor to have Trump’s endorsement,” as she runs for reelection.

Republicans refuse to hold Trump accountable for any of his misdeeds, and unbelievably, they continue to cower to him.

It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries.