Your humble spirit has been contemplating his words from last week and wondering if perhaps I should have said a good deal more about our democracy’s plight. I don’t apologize for joining the chorus of those sounding the alarm that our democracy is under siege, but the sad truth is that our democracy was in serious trouble long before Trump’s “big lie” took hold of the Republican Party. There’s no denying that our so-called “citadel of democracy” (as represented by the U.S. Capitol that was attacked on January 6) has evolved into a corrupt cesspool, I mean den, of lobbyists. As a result, too many Americans—both Democratic and Republican constituencies among them—place little value on a democratic government that no longer works for them. As I say on my website:
Just as many people of color believe they are treated like second-class citizens, a sizeable number of whites feel they are taken advantage of by a nebulous group of “elites”. . . it’s pointless to tell them they’re wrong, that their anger and resentment are misplaced; if that’s how both groups feel, perhaps the rest of us need to take a good hard look at what brought us to this point.
The fact is, our government and economy just aren’t working for many Americans, an ever-growing number of people—both whites and minorities—who are falling further behind as the top 1% (or at best the top 10%) continue to reap all the system’s benefits. If your situation is deteriorating under a democratic government,” why should you value democracy? Democrats and left-leaning pundits like to frame Trump’s “big lie” as a threat to democracy, but many of the people they are trying to persuade could no longer care less.
Our Growing Inequality is the Greatest Risk to Our Democracy
According to a recent survey, almost two thirds (59%) of Republicans think that believing the 2020 election was stolen from Trump is very or somewhat important to what it means to be a Republican. Say what?! That sounds like a cult, not a political philosophy or affiliation. And at the core of Trump’s cult is the belief that a great conspiracy is being carried out by a global elite, the work of a great cabal, using people of color to steal their country. What a tragedy that millions of Americans are so frightened, and feel so victimized, that they feel compelled to join a cult.
Speaking of Trump’s lies . . . this past week the former president sounded the alarm that Haitian immigrants are bringing AIDS into the United States, and that allowing them into the country proves the Biden administration’s “death wish” for America. Trump, whose favorite modus operandi is stoking fear of the “other” in white Americans, is like a drug addict who needs a stronger and stronger fix to get high, or rather, to get his MAGA cultists high. While others on the right claim illegal immigrants are responsible for our most recent COVID surge, Trump has taken their xenophobic, racist bullshit to the next level. Never mind that the vast majority of Haitians are turned away and sent back to their own country. Never mind that, thanks to medical science (something Trump’s cult rejects), contracting HIV is no longer a death sentence. There is little truth or logic to Trump’s hate mongering, but it provides his cult with what they need to hear. They are addicted to xenophobic hatred and Trump is all too happy to feed their addiction.