Saturday Feb. 13, 2021 was simultaneously a dark yet illuminating day for America.
After days of wrenching, persuasive evidence against Donald Trump for having incited the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, 43 Republican senators voted against holding the nation’s former president accountable in the only way they can.
The predictable acquittal was nearly as horrific as the attack Trump undoubtedly incited.
Foolishly, most of those Republicans refusing to vote against Trump did so in a vain attempt to cling to their elected offices and power. They voted against conviction, fearful that Trump might turn his brutal disciples against them.
After scrutinizing Trump’s actions and behavior, Republicans who have bought into the “patriot” contract have every reason to fear him.
Trump has shown repeatedly he is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to save himself. The impeachment case revealed that Trump was willing to immolate the very lives of Vice President Mike Pence and other “weak Republicans” who refused to do his corrupt bidding.
These foolish Republican senators and congresspersons actually have no power. They are now nothing more than lackeys allowed to hold their elected positions only as long as they toe the MAGA “patriot” Party line. Their flavor of democracy tastes like China’s.
They live in fear knowing that had Trump’s insurgent terrorists come upon any of them after breaking into the Capitol, they could easily have been murdered by the violent, raging mob. These were criminals threatening to kill the vice president, allowing Trump to install a more compliant officer, one willing to try to usurp the Constitution and the will of the voters.
The appropriation of the GOP by Trump and his “patriots” has left millions of conservatives without representation. They are now without a political party. Right or wrong, the reliable Republican call for smaller government, individual responsibility and fiscal prudence has been drowned out by Trump’s siren song of racism, xenophobia, white nationalism and authoritarianism.
Nearly his entire political career and philosophy is provably built on lies.
In most parts of the country, including here in Colorado, zealot control of the GOP is nearly complete.
Faithful Trump sycophant Rep. Doug Lamborn parroted the base’s talking points during the trial.
“Trump’s defense lawyers crushed the argument of the Democrat impeachment managers,” Lamborn said, even as Republicans themselves bashed Trump’s attorneys’ remarkably feeble show. “They have exposed the outright hypocrisy and double standards of Democrats, whose hatred of Trump and all Republicans is obvious.”
More of the same by novice Colorado Congressperson Lauren Boebert, who is under fire for her own part in pressing The Big Lie about election fraud and encouraging the insurrection.
She offered her Twitter followers a survey asking, “Is this sham impeachment trial a waste of our time & taxpayer money?” The only choices in the survey were “yes.”
These are the conditions that the rest of Congress must work under as it faces some of the most serious challenges in the nation’s history.
Republican leaders, and rank and file, have made clear their allegiance to a swelling army of zealots who want a government run by demagogues.
American democracy wasn’t created for such antithetical contrivances, and the urgent crises the nation faces demand responsible, practical leadership.
Democrats should end the anachronistic Senate filibuster, allowing them to maneuver past the guaranteed obstruction of a growing puerile party of adversaries.
The Republican Party is, at least for now, gone, usurped by extremists who obey a proven criminal, lurking as the mob boss of a shadow government.
There can be no civil, rational political discourse with people who dodge or don’t recognize reality. President Joe Biden and this Congress must forge ahead to correct the mistakes of the last four years and right the nation’s path with or without what’s become of the GOP.