What’s At Stake

Come November we’ll be voting in yet another “most important election, ever.” Not to be the wolf who cried “boy oh boy,” but if this isn’t THE one, it has a heck of a lot more riding on it than any in memory. Like, you know, survival. Literal and figurative. Republicans, especially the MAGAfied ones, are making no secret of what’s in store if they take control of Congress. Let’s remind ourselves who they are:

Rick Scott (R-FL), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is responsible for getting Rs elected to that body. It’s he whose healthcare company paid the largest fine, ever, for Medicare fraud, BEFORE he was elected governor and then Senator. He just sent emails to Republicans, seeking suggestions for where “illegal immigrants” should next be sent: Barack Obama’s house, the White House, San Francisco, or “other.” Funny, right? In fact, the already-sent aren’t illegal. They’re legitimate seekers of asylum, having escaped with their lives, allowed in, legally, to pursue their quest. The kind of people whose life-risking commitment to freedom has made this country great; whose presence in America angers Trumpublicans. Threatens their ability to feel superior, maybe.

But that’s not the issue. The issue is, in what way does loading desperate people onto planes, lying to them, shipping them off in hopes they’ll be mistreated and abandoned, differ from loading people into cattle cars? Sure, there are a few details. But anyone who thinks it’s hilarious, who isn’t appalled by the dehumanization and the oh-so-clever poll, isn’t far removed from those who stood silent or cheered, 75 years ago, in Germany; arms raised like Trumpists in Ohio. Can anyone still believe “it can’t happen here”? It already is. Cruelty is the point, acquiescence the propagator, Trumpism the fuel. It’s who they are, and, if put in charge, what they want America to become.

Also who they are: Ted Cruz (R-TX). If they take over, he said, Republicans would impeach Biden, whether it’s justified or not.” To anyone with more brain cells than the number of MAGAgonists giving that Q-anazi salute, there’s no legitimate reason to impeach President Biden. There’s plenty for MAGA Republicans to disagree with. That’s okay. It’s policy. But “high crimes and misdemeanors?” Maybe there’s a copy of the Constitution in one of the boxes Trump stole. That, he’ll get back. After he reads it for the first time, maybe he’ll share.

As justification, Cruz floated “failing to enforce the border,” despite the record number of arrests under President Biden, and hundreds of thousands of drugs being interdicted. If scaring people about “rainbow meth” and fentanyl deaths (which tripled under Trump) is good campaign strategy, “rampant crime” is better. Which makes right-wing outrage over the FBI’s arrest, at his home, of a man who punched and knocked down a 72-year-old who was escorting women out of a Planned Parenthood Clinic. Punched twice, till he fell and was injured. “Outrageous FBI overreach,” said Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), one of many. Back the Blue. Blue lives matter. Unless they’re retrieving stolen documents, arresting Trumpists storming the capital or punching protectors of women. If MAGA Republicans take over Congress, there’s reason to believe only white, male, Christian Trumpublicans will be welcome in America.

Okay, Sid, calm down. Stick to the facts.

Flanked by climate-change-, vaccine-, and election-deniers (and a few not-completely-nuts Rs) Kevin McCarthy announced the Republican “Commitment to America,” pending their ascendency to power. Containing many words forming sentences, it promises to solve everything, by spending lots of money (ironic) while making no mention of where it’ll come from. For that, we return to Rick Scott, whose economic plan features a requirement to subject government programs (Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, etc.) to re-approval every five years. One doesn’t need insurance-covered cataract surgery to read between those lines.

The rest of the “Commitment” is full of focus-group-tested promises. “Fight inflation and lower the cost of living.” Hey, who isn’t for that? Double hey: who needs actual plans? Energy independence is on the list. Based on their accompanying video, via more drilling. In Russia, evidently, since the video showed pumping there. Climate change? Who cares? Fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes? Fake news.

How ‘bout this: “Expand parental choice so students can receive the education their parents know is best.” Translation: so long, public education. No child having to learn American history, read challenging books, or become empathetic. And this one is especially good: “Personalize care to provide affordable options and better quality, delivered by trusted doctors.” Any idea what that means or how it happens? Seriously. Read the “document.” Think beyond the headlines.

And then, unless you believe the election was stolen, climate change is a hoax, and you want a national abortion ban, overcome any inclination to vote for any Republican. Including a pretty lady who says Democrats are “working overtime” to raise prices, and who, after winning her primary, scrubbed her website of election fraud claims and abortion bans.

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Sid Schwab

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