When truth, values and democracy no longer matter

With more than 300 election deniers on the midterm election ballots, along with sexual predators, liars, and criminals, many wonder is democracy is doomed. Sure looks like it.

A lot of people in this embattled America feel a sense of doom approaching in next week’s midterm elections, feeling that electing a large number of election deniers and outright fascists will destroy what little is left of the democracy we once enjoyed.

“If on Tuesday Herschel Walker captures Georgia’s Senate seat or forces a December run-off (if neither he nor the incumbent, Raphael G. Warnock, attain 50 percent), we will know 2022 is Year 6 PAHT (Post-“Access Hollywood” Tape). That tape did not derail its vulgarian star, and a Walker victory will indicate that blinkered partisanship now obliterates all other concerns, including character,” writes conservative, but no longer Republican, columnist George Will.

“This is not my party,” Will told the Federalist Society in 2016 when it appeared the real estate fraud and former TV reality show host would win the GOP nomination for president. He changed his longtime registration as a Republican to “unaffiliated” in Maryland, where he votes.

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargeant agrees that what has happened to the GOP and America is a headlong dash to doom:

Something extraordinary just happened: In the space of just this week, a president and an ex-president warned that the opposition poses an existential threat to our political way of life. Joe Biden declared that “MAGA Republicans” have placed democracy “under threat.” Barack Obama warned that if GOP election deniers win in Arizona, “democracy may not survive.”

Many others echo the same concerns. Maureen Dowd, a longtime friend and columnist for The New York Times notes:

 Are we ready for our new Republican overlords?

Are we ready for an empowered Marjorie Taylor Greene?

Are we ready for a pumped-up, pistol-packing Lauren Boebert?

“How many AR-15s do you think Jesus would have had?” Boebert asked a crowd at a Christian campaign event in June. I’m going with none, honestly, but her answer was, “Well, he didn’t have enough to keep his government from killing him.”

The Denver Post pleaded: “We beg voters in western and southern Colorado not to give Rep. Lauren Boebert their vote.”

The freshman representative has recently been predicting happily that we’re in the end times, “the last of the last days.” If Lauren Boebert is in charge, we may want to be in the end times. I’m feeling not so Rapturous about the prospect.

Dowd says she’s really worried about Kari Lake, ” who lulls you into believing, with her mellifluous voice, statements that seem to emanate from Lucifer. She’s dangerous because, like Donald Trump, she has real skills from her years in TV. And she really believes this stuff, unlike Trump and Kevin McCarthy, who are faking it.

“As Cecily Strong said on ‘Saturday Night Live’ last weekend, embodying Lake, ‘If the people of Arizona elect me, I’ll make sure they never have to vote ever again.’ ”

Strong stuff, but many of those in the know say the threats are real and the dangers are already here.

She continues:

Speaking of “Paradise Lost,” how about Ron DeSantis? The governor of Florida, who’s running for a second term, is airing an ad that suggests that he was literally anointed by God to fight Democrats. God almighty, that’s some high-level endorsement.

And it looks as if Kevin McCarthy will finally realize his goal of becoming speaker, but when he speaks, it will be Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan and Lauren Boebert doing the spewing. It will be like the devil growling through Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” — except it will be our heads spinning.

Maureen is not exaggerating and she is not alone.

Writes  Jamelle Bouie:

Even by the degraded standards of 2022, it has been shocking to watch Republican politicians and conservative media personalities respond to the brutal attack on Paul Pelosi — Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband — with lies, conspiracymongering and gleeful disregard for the victim.

Glenn Youngkin, the Republican governor of Virginia, made light of the assault — which left the 82-year-old Pelosi hospitalized with serious injuries — while campaigning for Yesli Vega, the Republican running to unseat Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic representative in Virginia’s Seventh District.

“Speaker Pelosi’s husband, they had a break-in last night in their house, and he was assaulted. There’s no room for violence anywhere,” Youngkin said, in what appeared to be a straightforward condemnation of the attack until he added, to the cheers of the crowd, that “we’re going to send her back to be with him in California.”

“That’s what we’re going to go do,” he continued. “That’s what we’re going to go do.”

Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor of Arizona, used the attack on Pelosi — who underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture after he was struck on the head with a hammer by his assailant — as fodder for a joke.

“Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection when she’s in D.C. — apparently her house doesn’t have a lot of protection.” According to Kate Sullivan, a CNN reporter, the joke landed: “The crowd burst into laughter, and the interviewer was laughing so hard, he covered his face with his notes.”

In a now-deleted post on Instagram, where he has more than six million followers, Donald Trump Jr. shared a photograph of a hammer and a pair of men’s underwear with the caption “Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready.”

Yes, this is how bad things have become. No values, no empathy, no morality, no compassion, and no leadership. Historians often point to the framers of our Constitution to show how the threats of demagogues and those of questionable virtue existed in 1776.

Noted John Dickinson, a Delaware delegate to the Constitutional Convention back then:

Will virtuous and sensible people choose villains or fools for their officers? Or, if they should choose men of wisdom and integrity, will these lose both or either, by taking their seats? If they should, will not their places be quickly supplied by another choice? Is the like derangement again, and again, and again to be expected? Can any man believe, that such astonishing phenomena are to be looked for?

In his inaugural address, America’s first president, George Washington, said:

There is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity.

 Jamelle Bouie adds:

I used to scoff at much of this, thoroughly convinced that institutions mattered more than virtue. It was more important, in my view, to provide the right incentives than it was to try to cultivate values of honesty, decency, forbearance, and public spiritedness.

But the example of the past seven years, from Donald Trump’s infamous ride down the escalator in June of 2015 to the present, has pushed me in the opposite direction. Institutions matter, but so does virtue, especially among the nation’s leaders. Even if it is insincere, the performance of virtue helps inculcate those values in the public at large. It says, in essence, that this is how we behave, even as we fight for power and political influence.

In my 50+ years as a journalist who covers and writes about politics and government, and worked for a short time within our national government as a political operative and a public servant, I agree.

I never thought I would ever write or feel such a strong reaction to a former president like the disgraced, and criminal, Donald Trump or the Republican Party that employed and paid me well for several years. The combination of Trump and his supporters has destroyed the party and is well on its way to killing off America and the democracy that once drove the land of the free and the home of the brave.

If any of you vote for such people, you are helping destroy our nation and our future.

© 2004-2022 Blue Ridge Muse

1 thought on “When truth, values and democracy no longer matter”

  1. “The rise of right-wing media successfully conflated news and opinion, driving down the public’s trust in the news media and journalists.”

    —It’s not supposed to BE that way.
    It never WAS supposed to BE that way.
    You cannot “conflate news and opinion” and make them equal because news is supposed to be based on FACTS, while opinion is best defined by “The Dude”…
    “Well YOU KNOW, that’s just like…your OPINION, man.”

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse