How is it any longer possible to justify trusting the Republican Party or any of its subparts? Years of systematic misconduct, stunts and misdirection designed to harm the United States and the vast majority of its citizens have earned the Republican Party a healthy dollop of mistrust. If not for the brigade of Fox News opinion-shapers and talk-radio hosts directing their skills with Orwellian language and reasoning, few people would be taken in by the ever more bizarre antics of a once-great political institution.
Hardly a day now goes by without some contemptible, silly, selfish or hateful thing issuing forth from Pandora’s Republican box of tricks, along with representatives seeking to paper over the bad acts of a Republican Party, which has allowed itself to mutate into the Reprehensible Party. It seems they stand for little except supporting the super-rich while creating chaos and harm to the nation and its political subdivisions.
Worse, all of these bad deeds and vacillating explanations are routinely offered with a degree of cowardice, a characteristic of those who wantonly disregard common sense or the will of a vast majority of regular people.
The phrase “too awful for words” comes to mind. What they seek to accomplish is too unpalatable to be articulated directly. Instead, the phrase “doing the will of the people” is uttered by those who actually mean “doing the will of the rich, I mean super-rich, people.”
Yes, the super-rich people who bankroll their campaigns are the people to whom they listen. Those are the real people who matter, not merely the masses of sick children, unemployed, middle-class, workers or the purposefully disenfranchised and politically powerless. However, in America, these groups are also “the people.”
When the Koch brothers call, Republican leaders listen and respond no matter how absurd, evil or misguided the request. In fact, it appears that there is an increasing degree of sociopathy needed to get press attention, and this invites the crazier and more demented to express their ideas or to take action. The crazier, the better!
Recent reports disclose a Koch-brother-backed effort to spend millions of dollars to convince young people to avoid buying health insurance. It is hard to imagine something as demented as a billionaire who has never known anything but wealth, privilege, easy access and comfort from harm urging vulnerable youth to purposefully avoid protecting themselves against illness or even physical catastrophe.
One must search history to find a fitting model for the behavior of a philanthropic Koch brother employing his wealth and contributions to encourage others to do great harm. Possibly inspiration might come from the Borgia, though in the old days military and murder were more freely employed to achieve political ends. Nevertheless, history will likely not commend the Koch brothers, even as benefactors, for their efforts nor support of those who seek to transform America into a plutocracy.
It seems the Republican Party has been inspired by or come to feel jealousy for the directness of Somali pirates, taking hostages to be traded for money. We see in the Republicans ever more desperate shifts from verbal political persuasion to confrontation and outright demands. Madison’s notion of the power of the purse has been transformed into “First I look at the purse!”
While the Republican Party appears to have transformed from political party to pseudo-Somali pirates, they still exhibit a squeamishness that requires disguising their escalating misconduct via ever-shifting language, excuse, ruse, feint and outright deceit.
It’s worthy of note that, as recently observed in the New York Times, hijacking decreased only when the owners of commercial shipping companies resisted and adopted “Best Management Practices for Protection Against Somalia-Based Piracy.” Thus our democracy cannot but similarly and steadfastly oppose such extortion efforts with vigor.
Indeed, the principles and law of extortion are not superseded by mere political trappings, a lesson learned by Republican and felon, ex-Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham when he sought to “extort” reward for political action. How close to the edge of criminality does our current rash of political extortion attempts tread?
The struggle to sustain democracy does not always arise as we would hope or in a form easily identified. Thus, in defense of democracy and the foundational principle of majority rule, it is necessary to massively resist extortionist demands, no matter the status of the author of the demand letter. Collectively, we all face a true constitutional challenge when a minority can defeat the majority via extortion or demands for negotiation with self-styled homegrown hostage takers.
Sadly, recent events has made it increasingly difficult to support local Republican candidates, as that behavior is the very underpinning of gerrymandered districts nationwide which have given rise to the current host of radical but “politically safe” right-wing members of Congress making demands that threaten to render American democracy into rubble.
Coffey is an attorney based in San Diego. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may be published as Letters to the Editor.