Point of View Columns

The Republican Party of 2023 – Apocalypse Now

There was the hope that 2023 would be better than 2022, if only because it wasn’t going to be 2022. Leave it to our Republican brothers and sisters to dump the cold water of madness on those nascent embers of hope.

As this column is being written, the House Republicans are making history, and not the good kind. For the first time in 100 years the majority party in the House has been unable to elect a Speaker after six votes and counting. The constitutional machinery of the United States is sufficiently complex so that the entire Congress can do no legislative work whatsoever until a Speaker of the House of Representatives has been chosen.

While issues related to a possible recession, climate change, the war in Ukraine, racial division, immigration impasse, pandemic (both present and possible) and crime are in the forefront of the American consciousness, ten to twenty right wing of the right-wing Republicans have chosen to bring one branch of the American government to a virtual stand still in order to enforce their mandates of the minority of the minority of Republicans on the entire institution.

Those mandates include:

  • A special committee to consider defunding the Federal Bureau of Investigation (this while domestic white right-wing terrorism is a greater mortal danger to the nation than it has been over the last century and a half.  
  • Impeachment proceedings against the Secretary of Homeland Security as if he is responsible for three decades of any truly useful immigration reform.
  • Even in the wake of the most violent assault against the Capitol since the War of 1812, all magnetometers and other weapons detection systems should be removed from the Capitol and the adjacent Legislative Office Buildings (I am not making this up).
  • Even though over one million Americans have died from COVID-19, and with other variants arriving from around the planet on a daily basis, the removal of all vaccine and mask mandates for all Capitol personnel.
  • A commitment by Kevin McCarthy to lead a shutdown of the United States government should there be a move to increase the debt ceiling which, if it went into effect, could cause the virtual collapse of the global economy – really.
  • A demand that any one member of the House Republican caucus can demand an immediate vote of no confidence in the Speaker virtually insuring that literally no work will be done that benefits an American.

This move towards nihilism can be said to have begun during the reign of Wild Newt Gingrich as Speaker of the House in 1995. Why it would seem to be a good idea to deconstruct the government that has resulted in the largest and most successful economy in the world is beyond understanding.

What can be understood is that lurking just below the surface of the beast is the desire to deconstruct those aspects of government that provide social services, protect the environment and add have only just begun to address the root causes of institutional racism in this country.

What can be understood that this particular brand of Republicans absolutely supports the reduction of voting rights, especially for Black and Latino populations.

What can be understood is that if the right wing of the right wing has its way the rights of women to an abortion will one day just be a memory contained in banned history books.

Finally, what must be understood is that the current cabal in the Republican Caucus is tacitly supported by scores of Representatives who already are in denial of the 2020 election results and would gladly accede to a type “gentle authoritarianism” from which this nation will not easily recover.

The sirens may not be loud enough just yet, but the current Republican cabal represents a clear and present danger to democracy, however flawed it may be today, and it behooves all of us to do more than pay attention.

It is past time to act.

The Last Word from NegrodamusHe now predicts that George Santos is contemplating a sex change so that he can claim gender bias in the face of the tsunami of state, federal and international investigations and charges that are headed his way.

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