Democracy, We Hardly Knew Ye

The Backfire Effect. Far more characteristic of self-described conservatives than liberals, it’s the demonstrated tendency of people who hold false notions to cling more tightly to them when presented with evidence proving them wrong. After five public hearings from the January 6 Committee, it’s particularly relevant. Why it’s mostly conservatives to whom facts are anathema is mysterious, but studies confirm it. In the US, those studies are superfluous: it’s undeniable.

So much for the hope that the hearings might disabuse Trumpublicans of their belief in obvious falsehoods. That the election was stolen. Voter fraud is rampant. Mike Pence had the Constitutional authority to refuse to certify electoral votes. Because it’s who he is and what he does, it’s unsurprising that Trump still flagellates those expired equines; in fact, he’s backfiring even more loudly now, incriminating himself ever more deeply in the process. If his party weren’t so irreversibly in his thrall, however, its leaders would have jumped ship after the first hearing and taken their voters with them. But the Backfire Effect is the territory in which they’ve pitched their tents, and there’s no out-house. Committee members have been assigned bodyguards because of death threats.

With the first three hearings still fresh, Texas Republicans approved a party platform that’s Dark-Ages-regressive and exuberantly nasty. First off, they declared Trump the rightful president from whom the election was stolen by fraud. Warmed up, they designated homosexuality a “lifestyle choice.” Sex education of any sort may not be taught at any level in public schools, other than — not kidding — requiring students to listen to fetal ultrasounds. Beyond that, no sex, please. We’re Texan.

They were just getting started. Their legislature should be stripped of the power to regulate firearms in any way. The federal income tax should be abolished, along with the Federal Reserve. So, too, the Civil Rights Act. They “oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity,” and would make gender-affirming care for trans children a crime. They support full parental control over educating their children; code for not teaching about slavery or racism or any other snowflake-melting facts. Christian prayer would be required. Unregulated home-schooling, privatization of Social Security, no future mask mandates or climate legislation. “Inappropriate or harmful” (undefined) reading materials removed from schools. The document is testimony to how deeply Trumpists fear truth, science, and the prospect of educated, thoughtful citizens.

It’s not just Texas. Forced to resign as governor, now running for senate, Missouri’s Eric Greitens posted a campaign video of himself and paramilitary goons storming a home where non-MAGA people live, firing flash-bangs and assault weapons. In a New Mexico county, officials refused to certify an election, based on “gut feelings,” not “facts.” Notwithstanding a post-Uvalde Fox (!) poll showing overwhelming public support for tough gun regulation, including red flag laws, age limits, even banning semi-automatic rifles, elected Republicans are intransigently rejecting public opinion. Minority rules. America is a Venn diagram with non-intersecting circles.

Even before Trumpism, the US had become irreparably fractured. Breakup now seems inevitable. Serious thinkers are addressing it, seriously.

That Texas platform also demands a voter initiative on seceding from the Union. That, we mustn’t allow. We must REQUIRE. Toss in another state or two to house all Trumpublicans, and facilitate moving there. Free passage on Amtrak, the last time it’d be available to them. Rational people, like those in Austin and elsewhere, would be welcome in places where reality also is.

The hearings. Texas. The Trumpublican Party has fled the real world and burned the bridges. Has no interest in cooperation; shouts down and votes out those who do. Because we’re no longer a country in which majority opinions can find their way to legislation, our two-party system has become hopelessly dysfunctional. Exceptional America has become exceptionally unable to address complex problems. Good people, the majority, want to, but can’t. No democratic republic can long survive in today’s political environment.

For several decades, in fact, it hasn’t. Round-the-clock lying and hate-mongering from right-wing media have made it so. And from Trump, who belongs in Texas. After what he did to Lady Ruby and her daughter, a microcosm of what he’s done to America, he deserves much worse.

The unreachable need a place of their own, where they can raise legally brainwashed, other-hating, scientifically illiterate, parched, pregnant, closeted, but well-armed children, without electricity. Where they can pray away climate change and diseases created by unregulated pollution, genuflect to Tucker, and elect Trumpic tyrants; while the libs to whom they stuck it, along with the few remaining honorable Republicans, like Rusty Bowers, will be up here being nice and raising empathetic kids capable of solving problems.



Retired surgeon. Published author. Blogger. Columnist. Losing hope that American democracy can survive Republican attempts to end it.

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Sid Schwab

Retired surgeon. Published author. Blogger. Columnist. Losing hope that American democracy can survive Republican attempts to end it.