Dear America,

Mitch McConnell committed himself, and thus the Republican Party in the Senate, to obstruction of the Biden administration's efforts to direct government toward service of the American people as opposed to service to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the rest of us.  He said, "100% of my focus is standing up to this administration."  He went on to opine that the Biden administration was moving the country toward socialism, and by necessary implication away from the Reaganomics concept of "trickle down" or "supply side" economics.  Notably, since it's dissemination as an economic doctrine in the early 1980's by conservative economists through Ronald Reagan, the putative "great communicator," economic stratification has only gotten more worse as the gap between the affluent and those who go to work every day has steadily grown.  Yet, conservatives like Mitch McConnell continue to cleave to that doctrine despite its total failure to accomplish what it was purported to facilitate.  And the corollary to supply side economics--if it's not supply side, it's socialism--has become the disingenuous canard with which conservatives condemn those who advocate for provident government rather than plutocracy, and that tactic is a giant step toward the institutionalization of the honi soit qui mal y pense strategy that the Republican Party has adopted.  Basically, it's the claim that if your not one of us, your evil, all the while claiming to rue what they characterize as a lack of bipartisanship.  President Biden invites them to the White House to discuss compromise, and the response is Mitch McConnell dedicating himself to obstruction rather than compromise, and that's alright with Republicans.

I used to think of that kind of conduct as just dissemblance, that is, concealment of true intent.  After all, they're just politicians.  But given the brazen admission by McConnell of his despicable intentions--especially in light of his outright betrayal of his own commitment to let the American people decide by election who should be on the Supreme Court during the last year of the Obama administration and his insistence on denying them that right in the last two months of the Trump administration--the Republicans' intentions can no longer be considered that benign.  We are witnessing not just prevarication but outright lying.  And given their openness in doing so and the near unanimity with which the party's members subscribe to the lies, I can only be concerned about the future of American democracy.  If the American people cannot identify what the Republicans are doing and reject, if not repudiate it by leaving the party, how can we conclude that true democracy is what Republicans want.  After all, Joe Biden won the presidential election by about seven million votes, and so he can reliably be concluded to be the choice of the American voting majority, so how can overt obstruction of his policies be considered democratic?  In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote with 63 million votes, almost 3 million fewer than Hilary Clinton got, but he ascended to the presidency anyway.  Yet Republicans constantly invoked the argument that the will of the people was being thwarted when Trump was impeached, seemingly ignoring the will of the nearly 67 million voters who voted against him.  Didn't they ever hear of the goose and the gander?

I don't mean to make light of all this.  Over the past few decades I have been confirmed in the belief that Republicans know that they are dishonest and that their tactics are knowingly devious.  I go back to Speaker Newt Gingrich and his ilk in the House of Representatives all the way up through Paul Ryan, and I think back on the naked misrepresentations they made in pursuit of policies that were advocated only by a minority of the American people as if God was on their side, and I despair.  What is their intent?  Unfortunately, our bicameral legislature facilitates their usurpation of power in that the Senate in which each state, large or small, urban or agrarian, gets two senators, resulting in the conservative minority having more senators than does the majority in many legislative sessions.  The effect is veto power over every bill much of the time, despite the will of the majority of the American people.  Similarly, the electoral college, which was intended to prevent the election of a populist demagogue, allowed exactly that in 2016.  Thus, as long as the Republican Party lacks integrity and good intentions and basks in its willingness to engage in the arrogation of popular power, democracy is just a myth in our country.

Your friend,

Mike

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