Saturday, July 29, 2017
Watching the shit storm in D.C. and having seen Dunkirk, the amazing film this week, I am reminded that conservatives once produced some great statesmen and women. One thinks of Winston Churchill among them.
Churchill had the humility and pragmatism to reach out to the liberal icon Franklin Roosevelt for desperately needed help to save England from the ravages of fascism from the Third Reich. Roosevelt and America were more than reluctant to reengage in a European war given our horrific losses in WWI. But Churchill was persuasive and persistent and FDR committed our nation to two nearly impossible military tasks in both the east and west.
Churchill was a classical politician with a huge ego and massive ambition. But he swallowed some of that ego in asking for help because he was also a realist with the facts in front of him. It was particularly galling for him as a very strident anti-socialist to have to reach out to a liberal who had some very pernicious socialist ideas. But for his countrymen he put the personal aside and pleaded.
In doing so, Churchill became a hero of both the left and right, particularly as the tide turned from military disaster, such as Dunkirk to success in latter war years crossing from the U.K.to the shores of Europe.
Now lets look at conservatives in America, embodied by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Here they are doing their damnedest to defend the first American Fascist President and explain him to us. I don't need to explain Trump to my readers. He and his fascist gang resorted to collaboration with Russia, hostile to the Democratic candidate who had the temerity to call Putin out on Ukraine and Syria and challenge his illegal interventions. Ryan and McConnell are silent on this treasonous collaboration.
Ryan and McConnell were silent on the Trump gang's overt racism, appeals to violence in political rallies, mysegeny, advocacy of sexual abuse and promises they knew he and they could not keep such as healthcare repeal. They were silent when the Trump family brought their greedy pursuit of greater wealth into the White House with shameless self dealing, both immoral and illegal.
Ryan and McConnell's naked, shameful support for voter suppression and distortion of democratic processes to enable their power grab already showed compatibility with the Trump abuse of democracy. Opportunistically they saw a collaboration with Trump would enhance their mutual ascent to greater power, wealth and influence at the expense of democracy and the needs of the people of America. No thought of country or compassion for those just trying to make their way in life seeking some semblance of economic and social stability seems apparent. They are in pursuit of their own power agenda and the rest of us be damned. There seems nothing in either leader's character to suggest a commitment to justice or compassion. Theirs is a commitment to some vague notion that small, minimal government services as somehow serving humanity in need of fair wages, healthcare, education and justice. This is the current Republican Party of NO and REPEAL with a proud history of abolition of slavery and the Teddy Roosevelt era of populism and environmentalism.
Now they are discovering that reversing what is left of our democratic protections and a fierce opposition to their dismantling of what is left of our social order is no easy task. They have failed to produce legislation to dismantle the work of Barrack Obama and the Democratic Party in spite of insatiable hate for his and their successes in restoring a collapsed economy, reduction of a war machine drowning us in blood and debt and improvement of a tragic joke of a healthcare system. Their resentment of America's first African American President is boundless and it is now displayed in all its ugliness.
Yet, the opportunity to reveal whether statesmanship from them is even a remote possibility lies right in front of them if myopia doesn't prevent their recognizing it. If they have the humility and pragmatism of one of their icons, Winston Churchill, they will reach out to Democrats to both rid our nation of the early forming cancer of fascism and begin to address the social, structural and economic problems in particular besetting their own ignorant base.
I am not hopeful they will rise to the task before them. I can be open to the remote possibility of redemption of their past commitment to elevation of the wealthy and suppression of the non wealthy as somehow not worthy. This seems to be based on a theological notion that the latter group do not deserve humane treatment because of defects in character as ordained by some creator somewhere.
Churchill put magical thinking and ideology aside to become one of our great Statesmen. History and facts informed thinking seems beyond Ryan and McConnell's grasp. Should their behavior continue, can we as a national survive this travesty? Only in spite of them, not because of them.