Ponder On This …

Robert Reich’s opinion piece in The Guardian today is especially relevant … he covers a number of topics, all of which point in the same direction … the destruction of the democratic principles that were once the foundation of this nation.


Republicans have taken up the politics of bigotry, putting US democracy at risk

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

There is no ‘surge’ of migrants at the border and there is no huge voter fraud problem – there is only hard-right attack

Republicans are outraged – outraged! – at the surge of migrants at the southern border. The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, declares it a “crisis … created by the presidential policies of this new administration”. The Arizona congressman Andy Biggs claims, “we go through some periods where we have these surges, but right now is probably the most dramatic that I’ve seen at the border in my lifetime.”

Donald Trump demands the Biden administration “immediately complete the wall, which can be done in a matter of weeks – they should never have stopped it. They are causing death and human tragedy.”

“Our country is being destroyed!” he adds.

In fact, there’s no surge of migrants at the border.

US Customs and Border Protection apprehended 28% more migrants from January to February this year than in previous months. But this was largely seasonal. Two years ago, apprehensions increased 31% during the same period. Three years ago, it was about 25% from February to March. Migrants start coming when winter ends and the weather gets a bit warmer, then stop coming in the hotter summer months when the desert is deadly.

To be sure, there is a humanitarian crisis of children detained in overcrowded border facilities. And an even worse humanitarian tragedy in the violence and political oppression in Central America, worsened by US policies over the years, that drives migration in the first place.

But the “surge” has been fabricated by Republicans in order to stoke fear – and, not incidentally, to justify changes in laws they say are necessary to prevent non-citizens from voting.

Republicans continue to allege – without proof – that the 2020 election was rife with fraudulent ballots, many from undocumented migrants. Over the past six weeks they’ve introduced 250 bills in 43 states designed to make it harder for people to vote – especially the young, the poor, Black people and Hispanic Americans, all of whom are likely to vote for Democrats – by eliminating mail-in ballots, reducing times for voting, decreasing the number of drop-off boxes, demanding proof of citizenship, even making it a crime to give water to people waiting in line to vote.

To stop this, Democrats are trying to enact a sweeping voting rights bill, the For the People Act, which protects voting, ends partisan gerrymandering and keeps dark money out of elections. It passed the House but Republicans in the Senate are fighting it with more lies.

On Wednesday, the Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz falsely claimed the new bill would register millions of undocumented migrants to vote and accused Democrats of wanting the most violent criminals to cast ballots too.

The core message of the Republican party now consists of lies about a “crisis” of violent migrants crossing the border, lies that they’re voting illegally, and blatantly anti-democratic demands voting be restricted to counter it.

The party that once championed lower taxes, smaller government, states’ rights and a strong national defense now has more in common with anti-democratic regimes and racist-nationalist political movements around the world than with America’s avowed ideals of democracy, rule of law and human rights.

Donald Trump isn’t single-handedly responsible for this, but he demonstrated to the GOP the political potency of bigotry and the GOP has taken him up on it.

This transformation in one of America’s two eminent political parties has shocking implications, not just for the future of American democracy but for the future of democracy everywhere.

“I predict to you, your children or grandchildren are going to be doing their doctoral thesis on the issue of who succeeded: autocracy or democracy?” Joe Biden opined at his news conference on Thursday.

In his maiden speech at the state department on 4 March, Antony Blinken conceded that the erosion of democracy around the world is “also happening here in the United States”.

The secretary of state didn’t explicitly talk about the Republican party, but there was no mistaking his subject.

“When democracies are weak … they become more vulnerable to extremist movements from the inside and to interference from the outside,” he warned.

People around the world witnessing the fragility of American democracy “want to see whether our democracy is resilient, whether we can rise to the challenge here at home. That will be the foundation for our legitimacy in defending democracy around the world for years to come.”

That resilience and legitimacy will depend in large part on whether Republicans or Democrats prevail on voting rights.

Not since the years leading up to the civil war has the clash between the nation’s two major parties so clearly defined the core challenge facing American democracy.

24 thoughts on “Ponder On This …

  1. Thanks for this, Jill. We can’t emphasize strongly enough or often enough how great is the danger to our democracy now.

    That’s why I feel the new effort to get businesses to sign The Democracy Pledge (TDP) is so important. Our wallets may make this a powerful weapon. You asked me to remind you about it. For your convenience, here’s the link to my blog post:

    WOULD YOU–WILL YOU–SUPPORT “THE DEMOCRACY PLEDGE”?

    Hope you’ve been able to catch up on your sleep!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lololol. Seems I never left your blog, Jill. I’m so used to doing that I didn’t notice I never went anywhere. Feel free to delete this comment, and one of the others. Your choice.

    Like

  3. Started my comment on Reich’s blog with the statement:
    Give both sides paint ball guns, and let them have at it. Nobody dies, and the racists can’t tell who is who. Everyone gets rid of their frustrations.
    Probably should have left it right there…

    Like

  4. Give both sides paint ball guns, and let them have at it. Nobody dies, and racists can’t tell who is who. Everyone gets to rid themselves of their frustrations.
    But, probably, the cheating Repuglygarbagecan types will use AR-15s with hollow-tip bullets, then lie and say it was the Dems who did that in order to steal the victory. Then it will still end up in court anyway. If something works, do it again, and again, and again.

    Like

  5. In the UK our democracy has being undermined. Free media is a thing of the past. Independent checks filled with friends of the party. The PM can have an affair and give her £126000 in public funds and nothing happens. And they pass a law where any peaceful protest can only happen lawfully if it is considered acceptable. Causing a nuisance to the government at a protest is now a a criminal offence. We have walked off the precipice already.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Not since the years leading up to the civil war has the clash between the two major parties so clearly defined the core challenge facing American Democracy but the core arguments have changed little too. One party is still determined not to win votes based on positive policies because that would mean rebranding the party,Negative remarks about the other party and its governance is a tried and tested play which among with using cheating via gerrymandering and restrictive voting have always worked to their benefit in the past
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • It isn’t only the two parties, but … the people … the everyday, average people are so divided today that … that we have someone killing people in the grocery store. Even those who I once thought of as friends … now perceive me as “the enemy”. You’re right … since the Civil War, this nation has not seen such hatred, such lack of compassion for fellow humans. I think … this nation will not survive much longer as things are today. And whereas a few short weeks ago I cared … now I really don’t.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is why I work so hard to remind folks that numbers and counting matters: those not trained to consider the statistics thoroughly will fail to look closely at the when (before this president took office!), and they why (because of racism), and the how (through the ignorance of those who elected these racists), and education for critical thinking and empathy is the key.

    Libraries would also help, but one has to understand the importance of libraries before being willing to fund them, no?

    Hence my suggestion for both Phase I and Phase II…

    Liked by 5 people

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