The way to conduct democracy is to knock on doors, not break them down
Yesterday, domestic terrorists staged a failed coup at the United States Capitol Building. Encouraged to do so by Donald Trump, they attempted to overthrow the results of a free and fair election. They put the lives of public servants, Capitol Hill police and staff, and our democracy at risk.
The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice in response:
The long descent continues – and only the GOP can stop it.
From the moment Trump descended that escalator in 2015 to call Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals,” we took him seriously and literally. Tragically, the long descent has continued unchecked ever since. From Charlottesville to the Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to the El Paso massacre to the attack on peaceful protestors for a campaign photo in Lafayette Park to hundreds of millions spent on racist and xenophobic campaign ads, the connection between this President and violence, white supremacy, anti Blackness, anti-semitism and authoritarianism has been clear.
There is no bottom for the mob boss, his crime family and his sycophantic followers.
In a fully functioning democracy, the guardrails of accountability would be activated to restrain those bent on abusing power, threatening free and fair elections, and targeting “the other.” Sadly, America does not have a fully functioning democracy right now. The reason is clear for the entire world to see: the leaders of the Republican Party have been active co-conspirators in aiding and abetting this long descent into impunity, authoritarianism, white supremacy and violence.
At every step of the way, Republican leaders could have organized themselves, stood up for the American idea and held Trump in check. They have refused to do so. Their cynical strategy has been to coddle and encourage Trump’s assault on democracy and decency for their personal and political benefit. They continue to do so. Sure, some calculated Trump could not get away with a full-blown coup so they didn’t vote for the seditious moves to overturn our election. And most denounced the violence their years of shamelessness enabled. But that’s just more of the same: political calculation anchored in a belief that they are the only ones who should hold power, and their opponents are less than human and illegitimate aspirants to political power.
For the GOP, opposing a coup is a tactic. It won’t work this time, so let’s not do it. Next time, we’ll be sure to do it if we can get away with it.
Let’s tell the truth. America has one political party that is committed to multracial democracy that extends opportunities equally to one and all. The other party is committed to countermajoritarian rule by a White Christian patriarchy dedicated to preserving the wealth and privileges of its voters and its financiers. Indeed, it is the advance of multiracial democracy – on full display in Georgia earlier this week – that is provoking the violent White backlash. A small “d” democratic party would respect the rules and learn to become more competitive. The Republican Party is a gang that flouts the rules in service of power and plutocracy.
Those who donate to the GOP need to understand their PAC dollars and contributions also have made this long descent possible, and will need to be held to account, too.
As has been true from the day of that escalator ride, Republicans have always held the power to check Trump. Leaders who believe in democracy and accountability would call out Trump publicly and unequivocally, and move expeditiously to remove him from office. Today. They haven’t. They won’t. Our nation remains at risk because of it.
Meanwhile, those of us who reject fascism, engage democracy and work towards equality find hope in the building of a multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational majority. From Arizona to Georgia and beyond, we are committed to building, not breaking; to forging, not dividing; to generating hope, not hatred. We knock on doors to engage voters, while they break them down to overturn an election. We believe in the American idea and want it to be fully realized for all of us, regardless of background and birthplace. We love our country even as we see how damaged and challenged it is at this moment of reckoning.
If only the Republican Party shared the same beliefs.