Profiles In Character

January 5, 2021, Representative Jamie Raskin buried his twenty-five year-old son, Tommy.  The following day, President Donald Trump ordered his Mindless Minions to attack our Capitol Building and Congress.  Enraged by their Leader’s rhetoric, the homicidal mob battered Capitol Police, surged under the Rotunda and down corridors, invaded and pillaged Senators’ and Representatives’, offices.  As Police and Security barricaded House Chamber doors, others rushed Legislators, staff and visitors to safety.  Thus sequestered, Representative Raskin experienced a parent’s alarm for the safety of daughter Tabatha and son-in-law Hank whom he had, ironically, invited to witness Congressional certification of the States’ Electoral Votes.

One month later, Representative Raskin lead a House Impeachment Managers’ post-doctoral seminar prosecuting President Donald J. Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”  After raising a fist in support of Trump’s mob, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley sat in the House gallery, feet up, scorning this masterful presentation.

Josh Hawley’s attitude and action reflect a deep, troubling schism within today’s Republican Party.  Donald J. Trump gives voice a faction’s feelings of contempt for Congress, the Constitution, indeed, our Government itself!  The President’s aborted attempt to stop certification of the States’ Electoral Votes puts his seditious intent beyond doubt. 

Perhaps a majority of rank-and-file Republicans favor Trump’s seditionist sentiment, if not his tactics.  Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Kevin McCarthy represent less militant Senators and Representatives supporting their President.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s scurrilous words and act merit special attention.  Cruz labeled Trump’s second impeachment “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  Given that Trump’s rhetoric triggered the January 6 assault, would Senator Cruz tell the widow and children of Air Force Veteran and Capitol Police Office Brian Sicknik’s their suffering and sacrifice signify nothing?  Would he tell the dozen other dead, maimed or injured and loved ones their pain and grief are insignificant?

A poster showing Representative Greene in dark glasses, holding an Assault weapon on three non-Caucasian, female Representatives, makes graphic Trump’s Minions’ sentiments.  Geene’s taunting a high school massacre survivor, calling Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other school shootings “fake,” groundless, mindless “Stop The Steal” claims, “Dark Web,” QAnon and “Deep State Conspiracies,” totin’ a pistol around the Capitol make her Cabal’s precepts explicit.

Thankfully, Hawley’s, Cruz’s and Greene’s contempt for our Constitution and Congress does not, represent the character of most Republican legislators today.  Amid the rock-‘em-sock-’em, drag-‘em-out-feet-first melee of Politics, Senators and  Representatives, Right and Left, show up day-to-day, wanting and working to do what they view as the right thing.

Take heart loyal Republican seamen.  The Pirates were beaten off.  Qualified Officers still chart the course.  Calling Trump’s behavior an “existential threat,” House Republican Conference Chair Liz Chaney entreats “Republicans to make clear we aren’t the party of white supremacy.”  Republican Mitt Romney twice voted to impeach Donald Trump.  Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele expresses grave concern for the hazards Trump and his Minions pose for the Party and Country.

Down on deck, able-bodied sailors pull the ropes, rig the sails and man the helm; steady as she goes.  The Lincoln Project Republicans publicized Donald J. Trump’s clear and present danger to America.  Husband of Senior Counselor to the President, Kellyanne, George Conway points to the insanity and danger in Trump’s mindless power politics.  Expressing often-vitriolic contempt for Donald, former Republican Representative and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough faces lawsuits and death threats.

Given the devastating impact of Donald J. Trump’s Presidency on America’s Democracy, the genesis of his Republican Party is curious indeed.   Wikipedia tells me, founded in 1854, the Republican Party espoused “Classical Liberalism .  .  .  (based in) civil liberties under the rule of law.” (My emphasis.)  Its initial focus was opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act which portended the expansion of chattel slavery in America.  The first Republican President was Abraham Lincoln.

So, after a century-and-half, what has happened to Honest Abe’s Grand Old Party?  Out of frustration and antipathy toward America’s Administrations’ and Congress’s seeming inability “to get along, get something done,” acting in diametric opposition to principles on which the Republican party was founded, a handful of mutineers whose ideology includes Bigotry, White Supremacy, Racial Prejudice, Neo-Nazism, Zelophobia, Homophobia, in a word Fear! attempted to commandeer the vessel.  What about?

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The retched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
    Emma Lazarus’s sonnet, “New Colossus,”
    A plaque inside the Statue of Liberty.

Those who would, in Lincoln’s words, resurrect “The dogmas of the quiet past,” can never win!  It’s simple. The greatest of all irony: Change is the only constant!  Those who fight against the Coloring of America would hold back a rising tide.  Find a place on shore or drown.