Rarely are America’s best and worst juxtaposed as vividly as they were last week. On one hand, progressive spirits were revived by Democratic victories that brought to power a fresh influx of women, LGBT folk, and people of color in state and local elections. On the other, our president sided overseas with despots, and some on the far right rallied around an extreme senate candidate even after he was credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old.
The election highlights were enough to warm this old activist’s soul. Transgender journalist Danica Roem unseated Virginia Del. Bob Marshall, the sponsor of a failed “bathroom bill” who proudly dubbed himself the state’s “chief homophobe.” At least fourteen more of his Republican colleagues were defeated by Democrats, most of them women. Jenny Durkan was elected the first lesbian mayor of Seattle. Liberian refugee Wilmot Collins was elected mayor of Helena, Montana. Black trans candidates Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham were elected to the Minneapolis City Council. Six women of color were elected to the Boston City Council. Ravi Bhalla, a Sikh, was elected mayor of Hoboken in a race that included gay candidate Michael DeFusco and anonymous racist dirty tricks. Ralph Northam was elected Virginia governor by nine points over Ed Gillespie, who wooed Trump’s base with a viciously xenophobic campaign.
Trump’s growing toxicity was further highlighted when his ploy of labeling any unwelcome news as fake was challenged by a well-corroborated, extensively sourced Washington Post story exposing Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore’s pedophilia. Some Republicans in the deep-red state declared they would stand by him even if it were true. The result of this hypocrisy and moral incoherence is that a remorseless predator, at this writing, is a Republican nominee for the United States Senate.
Horrified by this prospect, many Republican senators hid behind an “if true” caveat in distancing themselves from Moore. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, said straight out, “I believe Leigh Corfman.” Now Steve Bannon has launched a Breitbart smear campaign against Corfman and the other Moore accusers.
Moore insists his angry tribal god trumps the Constitution he swore to uphold. He was twice removed from the bench for flouting the rule of law, specifically defying federal courts. Democratic nominee Doug Jones, by contrast, is the former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted two of the Klansmen who took part in the notorious 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four little girls.
Christopher Hitchens in 2010 stated why there could be no peace in the Middle East: “Because the parties of God have a veto on it.” Those parties worship tribal deities and serve their own tribes or factions, not the common good.
America’s only party of God is the GOP. It serves plutocrats and white Christian men, and will stop at nothing to preserve their privilege to the exclusion of others. Denying the reality of our societal diversity leaves us weak, stupid, and less safe. Fortunately, reality is dawning on millions whose healthcare is threatened.
One wonders whether there are any values Republicans are not ready to betray for power. Even allegiance to his country eludes Trump. He tweeted on trade disputes, “I don’t blame China, I blame the incompetence of past Admins.” The genius added, “How can you blame China for taking advantage of people that had no clue?” On Russian election meddling, he believes Putin. Sen. John McCain sternly replied, “There’s nothing ‘America First’ about taking the word of a KGB colonel over that of the American intelligence community.”
18 USC 2381 states, “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States… adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason.”
Meanwhile, Republican senators confirm unqualified people to federal judgeships, and prepare to give billionaires a tax windfall while our infrastructure crumbles.
If you are fed up with con artists defiling the banners of faith, flag, and family, and with those who reward them, then do what so many did so powerfully on November 7 and vote. With added resolve, you can do as one grassroots organization urges: Run for Something. That is how we will help our country live out the meaning of its creed.
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2017 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.