The Trump train has taken them as far as it can—at least, for now. The cash cow can give them no more milk—at least, for now. Time is running out—at least, for now. And so, like Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, many of them are willing to retreat into the darkness and slink back into the cesspool and bide their time until the next incarnation of evil comes along. Evil always resurrects itself. It may have a different face or name, but it’s always the same Lord of darkness.
I am sickened by the claims of many that the Republicans in Congress have, at long last, found some sense of decency. They have not become decent; they realize that if they are to survive (for now), they must jump ship. And notice that this hypocritical move has occurred only in the last few weeks of the most corrupt and evil presidential administration in the history of this nation. For four long, dark, bitter, and cruel years, they have, with very few exceptions, supported a lying, evil, malevolent, narcissistic president who is rotten to the core. And now when the Trump travesty is imploding, they find their nobility?
Their support of Trump came in three forms. First, they supported him verbally and without reservation. Those who mocked and indicted him during the primaries of the 2016 election quickly became sycophants and worshipers of their newly anointed god. They voiced whatever twisted and ludicrous defenses of Trump their spin-masters could compose. They “gave him the benefit of doubt” in many areas where there was no doubt that Trump had been grievously and tragically wrong. For every lie Trump told (and we would need a calculator to accumulate the total), they told ten in their defense of him.
Second, they supported him by producing legislation which furthered the interests of the wealthy and powerful whom Trump wanted to please. They assume, and rightly so, that the American public would take no notice of their legislative efforts to give to the rich, rob the poor, and gradually squeeze the middle class out of existence. Like a frenzied and malfunctioning copier, they spewed out unconscionable laws and put them on the president’s desk for his willing and eager approval. In the process, they disenfranchised millions, trashed the environment, made a mockery of justice, lined their own pockets, and made secure their own political careers.
Third, (perhaps worst of all), they remained silent—silent—silent. No matter how great the offence, how evil the deed, how destructive the words and actions of this pathetic demagogue, they remained silent. Silence in the face of such evil is complicity with that evil. As MLK reminded another generation of citizens who were clueless to the evil all around them, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Saying or a lack of saying is a form of doing, and at times the worst kind of doing. McConnell and his toadies said nothing because even they knew there was no defense for Trump’s actions and words. Even their spin-masters could not come up with a response that was convincing. They assumed (and again, correctly) that the American public, and especially their Trump constituents, placed little value on Truth. Like Pontius Pilate, these hoodwinked and cynical worshippers of Trump consistently washed their hands as they exclaimed, “What is truth?” when obvious truth was staring them in the face. These Republican politicians knew they could count on the apathy and ignorance of the people in our nation. So, they remained silent while tragedy and destruction plagued our republic. They said nothing while Trump defecated all over our Constitution. They said nothing while he violated his solemn oath of office—the same oath every one of them took when they were sworn into office: “To protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.” They were silent and, therefore, as guilty and responsible as their soulless leader.
There are those who praise some Republicans who at this late stage have finally seen the light. They haven’t seen the light. They simply know it’s time to jump ship. Let’s look at three of these “noble” Republicans.
- Vice President Mike Pence: Yes, I’m glad Pence fulfilled his constitutional duty to simply read the announcement that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had legitimately won the 2020 election. But he had no choice. There was no way for him to refuse to carry out this ceremonial role. Had he refused, history would damn him, the courts would quickly censure him, and the public would condemn him. It took no courage to do the only thing that could be done on that occasion.
But what about the four years in which Pence never questioned any of the evil and dastardly acts and words of Trump? He too remained silent. I know that many would argue that it’s the job of the Vice President to support the President, but isn’t there a limit as to how much that support should be when our democracy and the common good are in real and dangerous peril? I recently heard a commentator say that Trump and Pence were joined at the hip. I find that characterization totally inadequate. The one I find more insightful (if crude) is that Pence has taken “brown-nosing” to a whole new dimension. Pence also took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, and he too violated his oath. And now, like all those who have come into Trump’s orbit, he has fallen out of favor with his onetime master. He is the most recent victim of a narcissist who cares only for himself and demands absolute and unwavering loyalty from others while never demonstrating loyalty to anyone else. I almost feel sorry for Pence—almost, but not quite.
- Senator Mitch McConnell: Not until the very last days of Donald Trump’s presidency did McConnell admit that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were the legitimate winners of the 2020 Presidential election. He played to the Trump base as long as he could. He is both a highly skilled and intelligent politician and perhaps the most evil member of Congress. He has dreamed up every way possible to please the wealthy and powerful in this country who keep him in office. He, more than Trump, is responsible for the suppression and oppression of people of color, the suffering of the poor, and the degradation of the environment. Trump is amoral, but McConnell is immoral. He knows better, but he has spent four years plotting sinister acts of legislation to maintain a disparity in justice and wealth which has caused incalculable suffering. He is an example of intelligent evil and its ability to do great harm in this world. He now knows he must change his tune in these last days of Trump’s bunkering down in defeat. But he too is biding his time, hoping that in two or four years he can return to plotting his mischief.
- Senator Mitt Romney: I agree with those who say that Romney and several other “moderate” Republicans are the shining lights among Republican Senators. However, as the saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof.” Regardless of what Romney and his fellow “moderates” may say, a study of their voting records questions how moderate or decent they may be. These “moderates” have consistently voted in favor of Trump and McConnell legislation which has allowed for disenfranchisement, oppression, destroying the environment, impoverishing the poor, and enriching the rich. One single Republican vote on one of the articles of impeachment and an impassioned speech in the last days of Trump’s farcical presidency do not erase or make up for four years of complicity. The American public is most affected by policies and legislation. These so called “moderates” have demonstrated over and over again that they are not that much different from McConnell and his henchmen when it comes to policies and legislation. AS CITIZENS WE MUST STOP LOOKING AT FAKE NEWS AND CAREFULLY CRAFTED SHAM AND FOCUS ON POLICIES AND LEGISLATION!
And then there is the majority of the remaining Republicans in Congress. Even after our Capital building, the solemn symbol of our democracy, was invaded and assaulted by rightwing lunatics incited by their god Trump, there were eight Republican Senators and 147 Republican members of the House who continued to spew the lies that the the 2020 Election was stolen. They continued the lie that Trump won and Biden lost! They claimed this even though Republican governors and Republican state Secretaries of State insisted that there was no evidence of fraud. They claimed this in spite of the fact that in sixty cases, judges (many of them Republicans) laughed those cases out of their courts because “not one shred of evidence could be produced to support these claims.” They claimed this when the U. S. Supreme Court with six conservative justices (three of whom were appointed by Trump who assumed they would be his justices) ruled against these false claims. They claimed this even when William Barr (while he was still Attorney General!) said that there was no evidence of fraud in this election. They claimed this even when some of their own colleagues reluctantly admitted that the election was fair and secure. They claimed this in spite of the overwhelming evidence that the 2020 election was the most secure and fair presidential election in the history of this nation. They all knew that their claims had no merit, but they continued the very lies which brought about the desecration of the Capital in which they served! And they did so for two reasons: (1) They believed they could keep their office and not be “primaried” (to use Don Jr’s word) only as they continued this lie to keep the support of their delusional supporters. (2) Their eyes were on 2024, and they knew they could not win the Republican presidential primary without Trump’s base. These despicable politicians were willing to sacrifice our democracy to secure their political futures.
I did not see many profiles in courage among the vast majority of Republicans in Congress. (Yes, there are some courageous state Republican politicians, and there are probably some decent human beings among Republican members of Congress–but apparently, not that many. ) What I saw were profiles of cowardice, expediency, arrogance, greed, and ruthless ambition. I saw profiles of rats jumping a sinking ship. We cannot build and keep our democracy based on such profiles.