On this Inauguration Day…

Published January 20, 2021

I think it is well to reflect on our history to gain an understanding of how we got to where we are, to assess the threats we face as a people, to learn from our successes and failures, and to see what we can do better.

Very few voices in our culture have reflected a sounder understanding of that history of the American Experiment than Heather Cox Richardson, whose work you should be reading every day if you want to call yourself educated in US History. She is an invaluable asset and gift to a nation that labors every day to prove itself unworthy of her. May this New Year bring out in us that goodness and greatness she and others labor to restore after a long, darkening night.

This is a piece she wrote for December 30, 2020. Read every word if you want to get your bearings about where we are and how to move forward prudently:

In America, the twenty years since 2000 have seen the end game of the Reagan Revolution, begun in 1980.

In that era, political leaders on the right turned against the principles that had guided the country since the 1930s, when Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt guided the nation out of the Great Depression by using the government to stabilize the economy. During the Depression and World War Two, Americans of all parties had come to believe the government had a role to play in regulating the economy, providing a basic social safety net and promoting infrastructure.

But reactionary businessmen hated regulations and the taxes that leveled the playing field between employers and workers. They called for a return to the pro-business government of the 1920s, but got no traction until the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, when the Supreme Court, under the former Republican governor of California, Earl Warren, unanimously declared racial segregation unconstitutional. That decision, and others that promoted civil rights, enabled opponents of the New Deal government to attract supporters by insisting that the country’s postwar government was simply redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to people of color.

That argument echoed the political language of the Reconstruction years, when white southerners insisted that federal efforts to enable formerly enslaved men to participate in the economy on terms equal to white men were simply a redistribution of wealth, because the agents and policies required to achieve equality would cost tax dollars and, after the Civil War, most people with property were white. This, they insisted, was “socialism.”

To oppose the socialism they insisted was taking over the East, opponents of black rights looked to the American West. They called themselves Movement Conservatives, and they celebrated the cowboy who, in their inaccurate vision, was a hardworking white man who wanted nothing of the government but to be left alone to work out his own future. In this myth, the cowboys lived in a male-dominated world, where women were either wives and mothers or sexual playthings, and people of color were savage or subordinate.

With his cowboy hat and western ranch, Reagan deliberately tapped into this mythology, as well as the racism and sexism in it, when he promised to slash taxes and regulations to free individuals from a grasping government. He promised that cutting taxes and regulations would expand the economy. As wealthy people—the “supply side” of the economy– regained control of their capital, they would invest in their businesses and provide more jobs. Everyone would make more money.

From the start, though, his economic system didn’t work. Money moved upward, dramatically, and voters began to think the cutting was going too far. To keep control of the government, Movement Conservatives at the end of the twentieth century ramped up their celebration of the individualist white American man, insisting that America was sliding into socialism even as they cut more and more domestic programs, insisting that the people of color and women who wanted the government to address inequities in the country simply wanted “free stuff.” They courted social conservatives and evangelicals, promising to stop the “secularization” they saw as a partner to communism.

After the end of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, talk radio spread the message that Black and Brown Americans and “feminazis” were trying to usher in socialism. In 1996, that narrative got a television channel that personified the idea of the strong man with subordinate women. The Fox News Channel told a story that reinforced the Movement Conservative narrative daily until it took over the Republican Party entirely.

The idea that people of color and women were trying to undermine society was enough of a rationale to justify keeping them from the vote, especially after Democrats passed the Motor Voter law in 1993, making it easier for poor people to register to vote. In 1997, Florida began the process of purging voter rolls of Black voters.

And so, 2000 came.

In that year, the presidential election came down to the electoral votes in Florida. Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote by more than 540,000 votes over Republican candidate George W. Bush, but Florida would decide the election. During the required recount, Republican political operatives led by Roger Stone descended on the election canvassers in Miami-Dade County to stop the process. It worked, and the Supreme Court upheld the end of the recount. Bush won Florida by 537 votes and, thanks to its electoral votes, became president. Voter suppression was a success, and Republicans would use it, and after 2010, gerrymandering, to keep control of the government even as they lost popular support.

Bush had promised to unite the country, but his installation in the White House gave new power to the ideology of the Movement Conservative leaders of the Reagan Revolution. He inherited a budget surplus from his predecessor Democrat Bill Clinton, but immediately set out to get rid of it by cutting taxes. A balanced budget meant money for regulation and social programs, so it had to go. From his term onward, Republicans would continue to cut taxes even as budgets operated in the red, the debt climbed, and money moved upward.

The themes of Republican dominance and tax cuts were the backdrop of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. That attack gave the country’s leaders a sense of mission after the end of the Cold War and, after launching a war in Afghanistan to stop al-Qaeda, they set out to export democracy to Iraq. This had been a goal for Republican leaders since the Clinton administration, in the belief that the United States needed to spread capitalism and democracy in its role as a world leader. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq strengthened the president and the federal government, creating the powerful Department of Homeland Security, for example, and leading Bush to assert the power of the presidency to interpret laws through signing statements.

The association of the Republican Party with patriotism enabled Republicans in this era to call for increased spending for the military and continued tax cuts, while attacking Democratic calls for domestic programs as wasteful. Increasingly, Republican media personalities derided those who called for such programs as dangerous, or anti-American.

But while Republicans increasingly looked inward to their party as the only real Americans and asserted power internationally, changes in technology were making the world larger. The Internet put the world at our fingertips and enabled researchers to decode the human genome, revolutionizing medical science. Smartphones both made communication easy. Online gaming created communities and empathy. And as many Americans were increasingly embracing rap music and tattoos and LGBTQ rights, as well as recognizing increasing inequality, books were pointing to the dangers of the power concentrating at the top of societies. In 1997, J.K. Rowling began her exploration of the rise of authoritarianism in her wildly popular Harry Potter books, but her series was only the most famous of a number of books in which young people conquered a dystopia created by adults.

In Bush’s second term, his ideology created a perfect storm. His administration’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people and caused $125 billion in damage in and around New Orleans in 2005, revealed how badly the new economy had treated Black and Brown people, and how badly the destruction of domestic programs had affected our ability to respond to disasters. Computers permitted the overuse of credit default swaps that precipitated the 2008 crash, which then precipitated the housing crisis, as people who had bet on the individualist American dream lost their homes. Meanwhile, the ongoing wars, plagued with financial and moral scandals, made it clear that the Republicans optimistic vision of spreading democracy through military conflict was unrealistic.

In 2008, voters put Black American Barack Obama, a Democrat, into the White House. To Republicans, primed by now to believe that Democrats and Black people were socialists, this was an undermining of the nation itself, and they set out to hamper him. While many Americans saw Obama as the symbol of a new, fairer government with America embracing a multilateral world, reactionaries built a backlash based in racism and sexism. They vocally opposed a federal government they insisted was pushing socialism on hardworking white men, and insisted that America must show its strength by exerting its power unilaterally in the world. Increasingly, the Internet and cell phones enabled people to have their news cater to their worldview, moving Republicans into a world characterized by what a Republican spokesperson would later call “alternative facts.”

And so, in 2016, we faced a clash between a relentlessly changing nation and the individualist ideology of the Movement Conservatives who had taken over the Republican Party. By then, that ideology had become openly radical extremism in the hands of Donald Trump, who referred to immigrants as criminals, boasted of sexually assaulting women, and promised to destroy the New Deal government once and for all.

In the 2016 election, the themes of the past 36 years came together. Embracing Movement Conservative individualist ideology taken to an extreme, Trump was eager enough to make sure a Democrat didn’t win that, according to American intelligence services, he was willing to accept the help of Russian operatives. They, in turn, influenced the election through the manipulation of new social media, amplified by what had become by then a Republican echo chamber in which Democrats were dangerous socialists and the Democratic candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was a criminal. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision which permitted corporate money to flow into election campaigns, Trump also had the help of a wave of money from big business; financial institutions spent $2 billion to influence the election. He also had the support of evangelicals, who believed he would finally give them the anti-abortion laws they wanted.

Trump lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes but, as George W. Bush before him, won in the Electoral College. Once in office, this president set out to destroy the New Deal state, as Movement Conservatives had called for, returning the country to the control of a small group of elite businessmen who, theoretically, would know how to move the country forward best by leveraging private sector networks and innovation. He also set out to put minorities and women back into subordinate positions, recreating a leadership structure that was almost entirely white and male.

As Trump tried to destroy an activist government once and for all, Americans woke up to how close we have come to turning our democracy over to a small group of oligarchs.

In the past four years, the Women’s March on Washington and the MeToo Movement has enabled women to articulate their demand for equality. The travel ban, child separation policy for Latin American refugees, and Trump’s attacks on Muslims, Latin American immigrants, and Chinese immigrants, has sparked a defense of America’s history of immigration. The Black Lives Matter Movement, begun in July 2013 after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin, has gained power as Black Americans have been murdered at the hands of law enforcement officers and white vigilantes, and as Black Americans have borne witness to those murders with cellphone videos.

The increasing voice of democracy clashed most dramatically with Trump’s ideology in summer 2020 when, with the support of his Attorney General William Barr, Trump used the law enforcement officers of the Executive Branch to attack peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. and in Portland, Oregon. In June, on the heels of the assault on the protesters at Lafayette Square, military officers from all branches made it clear that they would not support any effort to use them against civilians. They reiterated that they would support the Constitution. The refusal of the military to support a further extension of Trump’s power was no small thing.

And now, here we are. Trump lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden by more than 7 million votes and by an Electoral College split of 306 to 232. Although the result was not close, Trump refuses to acknowledge the loss and is doing all he can to hamper Biden’s assumption of office. Many members of the Republican Party are joining him in his attempt to overturn the election, taking the final, logical step of Movement Conservatism: denying the legitimacy of anyone who does not share their ideology. This is unprecedented. It is a profound attack on our democracy. But it will not succeed.

And in this moment, we have, disastrously, discovered the final answer to whether or not it is a good idea to destroy the activist government that has protected us since 1933. In their zeal for reducing government, the Trump team undercut our ability to respond to a pandemic, and tried to deal with the deadly coronavirus through private enterprise or by ignoring it and calling for people to go back to work in service to the economy, willing to accept huge numbers of dead. They have carried individualism to an extreme, insisting that simple public health measures designed to save lives infringe on their liberty.

The result has been what is on track to be the greatest catastrophe in American history, with more than 338,000 of us dead and the disease continuing to spread like wildfire. It is for this that the Trump administration will be remembered, but it is more than that. It is a fitting end to the attempt to destroy our government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

29 Responses

  1. Thank you, Mark. I found this very interesting, particularly since, being from another country, most of what I knew about the US came from our Canadian news media, and I had a very limited idea of the background of all of this. In addition, there is a very long post in Where Peter Is about the recent history of the Catholic church in the US, that provides a good supplement to the above post.

  2. Thank you for this. We have two years.

    But today I want to thank you for your tireless efforts to expose the evils of Trumpism and government of, by and for oligarchs. Cheers!

    1. @Neko:
      I second that sentiment.

      You know, I can’t but help think that Conservatives are now likely to whitewash most of Trump’s presidency and induct him into the Republican pantheon, along with Reagan.

      1. There is still not a day that goes by without one of them calling Trump the Most Pro-Life President Ever.

        You know, minus the 400,000 dead of an epidemic he did nothing about, the people he rushed to execution in his last days, the Yemeni kids and Saudi journalists he helped kill, and a cop or two when push came to shove.

    2. @ neko

      100% bang on. Mark, I also congratulate you. I will actually declare that you frequently inspired me! And I have quoted you often in other forums.

      Meanwhile, Trump issued 140 pardons last night, mostly to white collar criminals and a few of his fellow antipatriots.

      Noticeably, whom didn’t he pardon? Why, the insurrectionists who just threw out Their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor- that was fun to write— in their completely abject adoration of their Mango Messiah.

      Here is something we have been saying for five years, but his acolytes will never understand it. EVERYTHING TRUMP TOUCHES, DIES.

  3. what a zealous new convert you are. you just discovered the sun causes sunburn so you’re going to wisely tell everyone to put on sunscreen, never really grasping that you’re the last one to the party. but you see the story isn’t about you’re epiphany. half your epiphany was right by the way, the conservawoke crowd is grotesquely, insanely, wrong. but the conclusion you make is a disaster. the progressive side is also insanely, grotesquely wrong. both sides just destroy different people. you’re supposed to stop being sucked into the nonsense. what good is your epiphany if you cant see that and why do you still presume you have any capital by which to pronounce authoritatively on what anyone should read in order to get their bearings about moving forward prudentially. no prayer and penance for you, ohhhh no, just bounce from one zealotry to another. when will your epiphany be that Jesus Christ is the answer to injustice and oppression. to that end good on ya for saying good things about Dorothy Day, but how about borrowing some of her skepticism for all political movements. another perfect illustration is Pope Francis. look at his face in most staged political pictures, its a neutral expression whereby he refuses to be co-opted, you try it, try not to be co-opted by the monied interests selling books substack accts and easy political narratives and utopias. you and rod Dreher should start a podcast blog together where you can tell each other how great each of you are for having another epiphany and now you finally understand the world. the psychotic inmates keep telling you how to see the world and you keep buying what they’re selling and becoming a spokesman for a different brand of madness. the empererors new clothes comes to mind reading your articles.

    I think im about done. i know you care and i know God honors the intentions of you’re heart, its just so disheartening to see you being thrown this way and that. i really admired you’re courage along w/zippy, raging against torture and lies; i just didn’t think it would take you so bleeping long to see america as truly bankrupt, but now that you finally have seen that, to see you doing the exact same thing just in a new direction is almost demoralizing. peace, and good luck.

    ps: look at the work of Fr Greg Boyle. He obviously has political opinions that make him very happy today, but read him, watch his youtube videos, he just loves the people he serves, he doesn’t get sucked into the lie; rather he insists that we imagine a circle so wide no one is outside of it, he imagines a world where we fight to end injustice with all of our being, but that we also fight for a world where ted cruz, Donald trump, and Raymond arroyo can be given back to themselves and made whole in the love of Jesus Christ. no justice no peace. hate mammon; believe it or not the love of it really is the root of all this evil. finally, for just a moment consider rejecting the madhouse.

    1. Yes. Clearly, I no longer believe Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and only Biden and the Dems can save us. You totally have me pegged. Thanks for your input.

    2. “its just so disheartening to see you being thrown this way and that. i really admired you’re courage along w/zippy, raging against torture and lies; i just didn’t think it would take you so bleeping long to see america as truly bankrupt,”

      I think it’s possible that you are projecting your own conflicted emotions. I’ve been reading Mark for a while now–yes, he gets mad sometimes– but God almighty, how can you not get mad? That picture of Trump holding the baby of the young couple killed at the Walmart in El Paso makes me mad. A self proclaimed white supremacist gunned down the child’s parents, and Trump is grinning for the camera with a thumbs up. What’s sick is *not* to be mad. What’s maddening is watching friends and relatives *not* being provoked. Let’s face it, if they couldn’t see the racism, it’s because they didn’t find it *offensive*. Disgusting. Maddening. Bewildering.

      You say you think you’re “about done” after chastising Mark for being disgusted with the antics of Raymond Arroyo. Raymond Arroyo freaks me out too, but hey, you can be disgusted and *also* wish the best for someone. I feel sorry for him because his racism is incompatible with Catholicism. The worst thing that can happen to a Catholic is to lie to *themself*. We can’t repent of the things we can’t admit.

      One last thing–Is the country really “truly bankrupt”? –Years ago, my kid who was on break from U.D. convinced me that language like that is not only unproductive, it’s a lie to get us to despair–which definitely doesn’t come from God. He was a History major and had great fun comparing “then and now” for me. He changed my mind. We are getting better. We have said “no” to all kinds of ideas that our parents didn’t even question.

      P.s. Thanks for the tip on Fr. Greg Boyle! I’ll check out his YouTube videos. My fourth kid met him on his campus and really loved his message of love and honor for humanity. The guys with him (former gang members)invited my son to go to their sweat lodge with them. He went back again and again. They really opened his eyes to what they’d been through. It was a profoundly religious experience for him. Even though it was Native American spirituality it was very much a part of their fervent faith in Jesus. This helped my son who has a tendency to cynicism over all the Church scandals.

      1. @taco

        The country truly is bankrupt, morally and financially. The financial part? $8 trillion of debt in four years, as opposed to $7 trillion in eight years under Mr. Obama, who averted a worldwide economic catastrophe by spending a lot of money. Job at the Trump nearly gave tax cuts to people who didn’t need it, and was praised by his right wing base.

        The moral part you were dressed quite well. Seven people died as a direct result of the insurrection that Trump incited. 400,000 people are dead because of the plague that he refused to address. The Biden administration was truly impressed by the complete lack of a distribution plan for the vaccine, which Trump was claiming credit for. 13 people were executed in the last four years, With three more executed in the 16 years before that. And yet, the only comment this excites from the Catholic bishops is that Jesus didn’t die so that Catholics had to make cakes for homosexuals.

    3. “the progressive side is also insanely, grotesquely wrong. both sides just destroy different people.”Could you just get off your cross please? Maybe if you did, you could read this thing that you just wrote and realize that you are accusing Mark of doing exactly what you are doing throughout it. As Mark always says, accusation is confession.

      What last war was it that progressives started, and what last science denying progressive managed to contribute to the deaths of 400,000 people? Progressives are practically by definition against the death penalty, But the most pro-life president ever just managed to kill 13 people who didn’t need to die, apart from the other 400,000

      1. That death row killing spree was ghastly and barely made radar. And did you read about that guy the Trump admin tried to deport to Haiti? He had never been there before! The cruelty is the point.

      2. @Ben,
        I’ve been listening to my husband go back and forth with our Libertarian-leaning kid. He just turned 17. When I was 17 I assumed that my brilliant father knew everything about economics because–he was brilliant– and I had much better things to do. I felt bad that everything was going to hell because of “tax and spend liberals”. Ha!

        My son is literally freaked out about fiat money and the dollars that are being printed night and day to make up for our financial woes. It’s like having de ja vu. (Haven’t I heard this conversation before?) My kid is hooked on literally the same stuff my Dad used to read only he sucks it up in podcast form. It’s really messing with his head. I know without being guilty of bragging that the kid is effortlessly brilliant (has over a 4.5 gpa) so I can’t just laugh him out of the room.

        My husband reassures him that the powers-that-be won’t let the U.S. go down the tubes because the stakes are too high, and it’s not in anybody’s interest who participates in the global economy to have us go down in flames–not China–not Russia–
        I just learned from him that we don’t even know who owns the Federal Reserve…(.whaaaat?!)

        I don’t know. It bothers me that I don’t have it figured out. I don’t believe in the welfare state on the one hand–it is incompatible with human nature–and I’m disgusted by the corporate criminals that need those on welfare to stay on welfare so it appears that the goods and services they are selling are cheaper than they are, in order to compete in a world economy. (This doesn’t mean that I believe education and healthcare are “welfare”.) Universal basic income is making more and more sense.

        I’m sorry to be preaching to the choir–but of course none of it matters if we are systematically excluding some people in favor of others–and this is what. we. are. doing. * and have always done. I’ve seen it happen significantly to my husband –but even he was born into privilege. My kids have been mostly insulated so they can’t relate when I try to explain the toll upon society of white, male (heterosexual) privilege. I’ve had to explain to them in concrete terms how their lives *were* in fact impacted by filling in for them details that I preferred not to talk about. In the U.S. we only celebrate winning. This of course is why Trump can’t face the reality of his loss–and ironically can’t even fathom how the greatest loss of all was not the election but his *moral* failure, and complete lack of a compass.

        To juxtaposition all of this with the great war against cakes being made for gay people *astounds* me.

        I don’t think Gomez is a bad guy, he’s just been shut up in an airless room with a lot of old white guys who can’t stop pressing “play” on an old cassette player to say the same thing in the same way, without having to become uncomfortable. Embarrassing. Having too many wealthy donors must be morally challenging. I have a good hunch that Jesus is going to have a thing or two to say to them about that.

        If it wasn’t so sad it would almost be funny that I went for being a purist–didn’t use birth control–BUT when we asked for help with Catholic tuition, nobody Catholic actually cared that we would have to choose between eating and paying that tuition. You should have seen (now) Bishop Dailey’s face when we asked for a break at Marin Catholic. Hahahahahaha. I wish I hadn’t cried. All of the big Catholic families here in Marin eventually had to resort to public schools. Wealthy Marin. The year we decided *not* to put our son (named after Maximilian Kolbe!) at Marin Catholic, due to hardship, they were already in the process of making a gorgeous new chapel to replace the other nice chapel and some kind of fancy tower with the MILLION dollars some guy had written them a check for.

        –It’s okay–I’m mostly not bitter about that, and love the truth better than fancy props. My kids are good and will be okay. They are my favorite people on this earth, and I don’t regret being enabled by lofty ideals. We pulled it off with the help of my parents…

        So Archbishop Gomez thinks the U.S. Church is pro-life.

        If the Bishops (there are exceptions) think that being pro-life means paying billions to the victims of abusers and *not* wondering who is minding the store in the Vatican — or their favorite political party–they can keep their delusions about what it means to be “pro-life”. They can snuggle up to their emotionally charged *VALIANT*! words and face the music on the last day. If anything it will be interesting. But hey–Jesus didn’t promise us a rose garden.

      3. @ taco

        Sorry it took a day to get back to you.

        I’m not a huge expert on economics, but ever since college 50 years ago, I have agreed with the Appelation of “the dismal science.” But one thing I do know, and noticed 40 years ago when Reagan was complaining about the federal budget. The Democrats may have been tax and spend, but the Republicans have always been don’t tax and spend anyway. Deficit spending in the national debt began to rise sharply under Reagan. Every time the Republicans have been kicked out, they revert to “deficits matter“ and we must get spending under control. When they are back in power, they go back to deficit spending. $8 trillion in four years under the former resident of the White House.

        Darth Cheney Once admitted that deficits don’t matter. Except that they really do. Our national security is being undermined by our debt, and the amount of money we spend to service it. We could get it all under control if we reverted to progressive taxation, slashed our military budget, and ended corporate welfare. It would take a while, but we could do it. It would also help if we took money out of politics, despite the opinion of the supreme court that money is speech. That position merely assures that the people with money have speech, and the rest of us don’t.

        Your son is quite right. Our reckless Way with money is indeed a threat, not only to the United States, but to the entire world. Look what happened back in 2008, when the whole house of cards called subprime mortgages came to fruition.

        If you get the Chronicle, read Peter coyotes column this morning. It is quite illuminating. He makes the valid point that it is not just the Republicans, but the Democrats as well. But at least, the Democrats have made an effort to clean up the mess. What you are referring to as white, male, heterosexual privilege is indeed a good part of the problem. Americans are the most self entitled people I’ve ever come across. One image that particularly stuck in my mind from the events of the last two weeks was a trumpanzee standing in front of his monster truck covered with Trump stickers and proclamations of gun rights. He had been at the insurrection. Imagine how oppressed you must be if Your gut is hanging over your belt, andyou own a truck that cost $50,000, loaded down with guns that cost $1000 each, and you went with paid leave from your well-paying job to go and protest about how horribly oppressed you are.

        My parents came to adulthood in the depression. They made it clear we had to work, and were only entitled to what we earned. Your comment about catholic schools in wealthy Marin? What I have always referred to as an “edifice complex“.

  4. What a day of mixed emotions. My little girl who is home from school *again* as we await a Covid test, made impromptu artwork of rainbows, and an exuberant “WE DID IT!” which she scotch taped to our front window. I admire her youthful simplicity and joy.

    If we are indeed witnessing the death throes of a 40 year reign of kleptocrats, I would allow myself to be more exuberant like my sweet girl. Just seeing Trump depart is good enough for today…but I can’t help but wonder how the damage can be reversed? When did robber barons ever willingly give up what they harvested on the backs of slave labor? (I can see the old Reaganites in my mind’s eye, with shaking, pointed fingers, shrieking, “Communist!”)

    The latest mini series on the Reagans was an eye-opener. My jaw dropped when Reagan declared “Let’s make America great again!” to a cheering crowd. Trump never had the smile or charisma. It’s chilling to realize how much they did have in common. They were both bought and paid for from the beginning. Murky corporate puppeteers behind the velvet curtain. Both were racists. Both were so deep in their magical thinking that they weren’t even capable of introspection or a thoughtful examination of trusted economic dogma. Many of us were guilty of this. I still remember watching an interview of Reagan’s kid –decades and decades ago–who complained about all of the mentally ill, homeless people that his father had removed from care facilities. My initial emotion was “That should never have happened!” closely followed by, “what a disrespectful son.” But his words always haunted me when I witnessed the mentally ill, dirty, forgotten and considered refuse on our city streets. I knew it was wrong to place a price on the head of a human being, but the Republicans always managed to flip it around a blame the victim.

    I stopped believing Republicans were pro-life *years* before I stopped being a Republican. It’s hard to confront such a massive, pro-deathweb of lies.

    I can only hope that Joe Biden –from the tax haven state– has done some real soul searching about own his hand in this mess.

  5. @neko

    They already have. Tony Perkins has already declared they did the best they could with what they had…four times bankrupt, three times married, self proclaimed sexual assaulter, adulterer,for icator Grabby Mcpussy, Lockerup of the children. Baby Christian. That was the best they had.

    Or mAybe that yapping little perkinese is the worst they had.

    1. @neko

      And I forgot. Franklin Graham is already claiming he’s seen all of the evidence, and it completely shows that no Christians were involved INSIDE the capitol. That certainly made it better, and those videos with the hymn singing and the arrested Christians—x Jenna Ryan comes to mind— and the prayers to Jesus were really just antifa, BLM…or hisssssss… democrats.

      1. Oh. I think Mr. Bisonhead, with American flag, face paint, naked torso, megaphone and flag, perfectly represents certain groups of American Christians.

      2. There’s a petition circulating to have Graham removed from a faith community his father started (I think – the article is on The Hill). So far, some 28000 signatures to dump him. Haven’t heard a word from Paula White and others.

  6. I had been wondering – this was a couple of months ago, actually – whether, indeed, it was not that the Reagan movement was an attempt to return the US to the kind of ‘robber baron’ capitalism that ultimately resulted in the Depression – but I am no historian, just wondering.

    1. I’ve long thought that the Republicans want a return to the robber baron era. Rather ironic as it was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, that started the movement to end that era with things like the income tax, estate taxes on the rich, anti-trust laws against monopolies and the like.

  7. @Ben, thanks. Much food for thought.

    “Darth Cheney”. Perfect.

    I have found some middle ground with my little Libertarian by telling him: “even if your theories were 100% correct, if you are a heartless as*hole while implementing them, it nullifies everything!” He agreed.

    Your description of the guy with the stickers and the the truck made me laugh. Last year we were driving a kid to some place east of you. I pointed out to my husband how many rude truck drivers populate the freeways once you get just a bit inland. “This Truck is insured my Smith and Wesson.” Scary that there are so many more of them than us. While looking for a used car on Craigslist recently It came as a startling revelation to me that a big truck costs more than a Mercedes or a Lexus these days.

    A couple of months ago I was cleaning out the trillions of books from our bedroom down south, which used to be my Dad’s private man cave. I came across what was probably a first edition paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged (Fountainhead?) The cover art was *priceless*. It looked like they hired the same guy who did the James Bond movie posters. “Tough guy with chiseled jawline staring fiercely into the camera. Scantily clad woman draped provocatively upon a chair in the foreground.” I didn’t give it the old heave-ho into the dumpster because it tells such a story.

    1. @taco

      My pleasure. I have always aspired to be my literary hero, Mark twain: a pen warmed up in hell. Sometimes, i get there, but usually I can only make it as far as heck.

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