The GOP’s Anti-Socialist Crusade Continues

What is more important than discovering the facts around the January 6th insurrection? More important than finding out what lay behind the first attack on the nation’s Capitol since the War of 1812? An attack launched not by a foreign power but by our own people. People who may have included former President Donald Trump and some of his inner circle…and some members of the U.S. Congress. We don’t know all of those facts now, and apparently the Republican Party, the majority of whose elected officials support Trump’s “Big Lie” of a stolen election, don’t want us to know either.

They say that the pursuit of truth would be inconvenient for them at this time. Perhaps later, after they have completed their task of destroying American Democracy in say 2022 or 2024. But of course, if they win that victory there will not have to be an inquiry. Not even a small whitewashed one. And certainly not anything like “Benghazi,” their long-running obsession. Time to put first things first, and what could be more important than fighting demon socialism? Time for yet another rousing chorus of “Onward, Christian Soldiers…” in the main ring of their 2022 election circus. And in the other rings their time-tested favorite acts. Thinly disguised racism, toned down this time around…and softer less alarming dog whistles. And a strong dose of “Us vs. Them” division based on anything they can find that would be divisive. In other words, what they’ve been serving the American people for decades.

The party that is up to its eyeballs in dangerous right-wing extremism is on the offensive against the even more dangerous extremists of the left. But are those lefties still all that scary? Is European-style socialism a greater threat to the Republic than every-man-for-himself unrestricted Capitalism and QAnon conspiracy theories? I suppose that if you can believe the stolen election “Big Lie” you can also be deluded enough to buy the “scary socialists” Big Lie too. But the most recent polls suggest that almost no Democrats and a significant majority of people who describe themselves as Independents do not buy it…and that a good-sized chunk of Republicans don’t buy it either.

The fact is that the lunatic left-wing of the Democratic Party is weaker now than it has been in decades. With centrist Joe Biden as president, the party is closer to the middle of the road than it has been since the days of Bill Clinton. The long-time standard-bearer of the Utopian left, Bernie Sanders, has all but taken himself out of the picture. Perhaps slowed by age and the realization that none of his dreams will ever come to pass unless his party retains control of the Senate. Meanwhile, the GOP is now no longer merely drifting to the right, but sprinting toward it. A handful of noisy lefties made it into the House last year, but they are only the dogs that bark while the Biden White House moves on toward the center.

And beyond that, is European-style socialism still a dynamic force in a world that is clearly moving toward autocracy? I have an old high school friend from the Class of ‘63. She was our exchange student from Europe. I hadn’t heard from her until we got together via the Internet in 2013. We have been corresponding regularly since. She liked America so much that she stayed here after graduation and married an American who was swept into the Vietnam War as I was.

Unfortunately, he was poisoned by Agent Orange and spent 20 years dying a painful death. She had become an American citizen but she returned to France after he died. She now lives in a banlieue. She has little good to say about socialism in the land of its birth. She says that the same things are happening there as are happening here. Division, right-wing extremism, racism, corruption. A gridlocked government incapable of solving problems…or unwilling to do so. A government that was no better at handling the COVID-19 pandemic than Trump’s America…and for the same reasons. She sees socialism as a worn-out dysfunctional system…and so do many of her French neighbors.

If European socialism has lost its allure in Europe it can hardly be the wave of the future for the United States. We are half-Socialist already…and that much can be made to work, so let us make sure that it does while we seek new ways to deal with other challenges. New ways that don’t involve autocrats and rule by fiat. New ways that are true to the principles of our Founding Fathers who rejected tyranny for the rule of the people no matter how messy and fractious that rule may be at times. Socialism is no longer one of those new ways, but neither is a dictatorship. It is time for rule by practical men (and women) like the ones who founded this county. They were not always right, but they were always willing to experiment with new ways to solve problems. And they were convinced that the government was capable of solving problems.