Today’s Political Theater is going to get us all killed
Political Theater is going to get us all killed.
But, first, I have to admit I’m all for political theater (notice the lower case). I do believe that a certain amount of showmanship and trash talk is required. It’s necessary to get the audience, I mean the fans… er, the constituents charged up. Right? Just like in sports, politicians need to make sure the base is engaged, charged up, pushing for what they believe is the right way. Otherwise, why would anyone in America ever vote? It’s not like the United States has a consistently high voter turnout. I dread the 2022 midterms and what that means for the skin-of-our-teeth Democratic majority in DC and the prospects for being able to turn various State governments Blue.
That said, political theater today has become a dangerous sport. Much more so than (American) football, MMA, or professional wrestling. A bit of political theater was entertaining and maybe even necessary back when we had two opposing political ideologies that were, at their core, concerned with bettering the Nation and more importantly protecting the Constitution and the keeping the Nation whole. Sadly, we no longer have two opposing political ideologies and parties that see their fellow citizens as anything but “enemies of the State”. We no longer have two sides of the political spectrum that want to keep the Nation whole.
Today, because of the decades of heightened damage the worsening political and civil discourse has wrought we have one political party and its base actively seeking to torpedo the Constitution and the cohesiveness of these 50 United States in some twisted, retro vision of patriotism. That side, spearheaded by the Republican Party, is actively pushing and pursuing rhetoric that will not only tear this nation apart, but get us all killed. And, worse still, they know it and seem to delight in pushing this scenario. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call each and every Republican or conservative voter an enemy of the people, I would lay that label on the Republican politicians and party officials. Actions speak louder than words, and the Republicans have repeatedly acted in bad faith and worked to undermine our very democratic norms and institutions for their own political gain.
Unfortunately, I’m not so sure the Democratic leadership is really ready to acknowledge this reality. At least not out loud and in public. While some members of the Democratic Party are out there sounding the alarm, I’m not hearing the necessary alarm bells from President Biden or Senate Majority Leader Schumer (Speaker Pelosi seems to get it, and has been relatively outspoken even during Trump’s tenure). While I get that you never want to escalate a bad situation, especially one as precarious and explosive as the current political climate, nor do you want to panic the people, I do believe it’s high time the American people start hearing the unvarnished truth in unvarnished terms.
I think it’s the right time for President Biden to speak directly to the people and tell the nation in no uncertain terms that the Republican Party is pursuing policies that will tear this nation apart. That the Republican Party, at the State level and nationally, wants to turn the United States into a theocracy where people of color are second class citizens (if they even get to retain citizenship), where non-Christians are seen as lesser, where women lose the ground they’ve gained in the long struggle for equality.
It is past time for political theater and quiet rhetoric. It is time now, if we are to survive as a whole people, to speak plainly and bluntly, to discuss the enemies within the way we spoke of the Soviets. We must make a firm stand and say that Lincoln’s words still ring true, a house divided can not stand. Today, that division is not along the Mason-Dixon line, but within homes, between cities and countryside, house to house, State to State. That divide lives in our minds and our hearts, and it must be healed. We must stand our ground and declare that All are Created Equal, that All Citizens shall share in and reap the rewards of their hard work and the riches of the Nation. That poor, middle-class or wealthy we are one and the same. That Black, Brown, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, Pagan, or something else entirely, we are One People. That those who preach otherwise speak with lesser tongues and want nothing but to tear us apart and destroy our foundations for their own selfish gain.
The Political Theater of today must be halted. The divisiveness of the Republican Party must be stopped. Democrats across the country, in small towns and big, in rural areas and major cities, in counties and State Houses, must band together with the Democrats in Congress and White House to publicly and forcibly denounce this deep divide foisted upon our heads by those driven by hate, bigotry and a deep loathing of the American Promise. Only by calling it out, the purposeful misinformation, the profit-motivated opinion pieces full of vitriol and a desire to eradicate “the other”, the unfortunately legal but deeply cynical and Machiavellian extreme gerrymandering, can we begin to address the threat that confronts us from within and create real, lasting solutions to the fear that grips us all, eventually closing the divide and healing the nation.