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Community Voices (Pyatt): Republican Party ideals fading away

As I listened to comments from key Republican Senators — save for one dissenting opinion by Sen. Romney — as to why they voted to exclude witnesses at President Trump’s impeachment trial I was struck by the characters in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander on his “Meet the Press” interview on Feb. 1 reminded me of the Cheshire Cat, who recedes into just a grin and then to nothing at all.

This fade-away and then disappearing act under the guise of a smile also reminds me of the Republican Party in general. It did stand for certain fundamental values, but now it stands for “catch me if you can.”

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Alexander has had a distinguished political career, serving as governor of Tennessee, secretary of education, and in the Senate since 2003. But his rationale for explaining his vote and why he believes Trump should not be removed made him sound like a pre-kindergarten child trying to explain why he had his hand in the cookie jar, and that’s being generous.

Does he believe he is fooling anybody? “Well, it wasn’t a perfect phone call!” Duh. “It doesn’t come close to reaching the threshold for impeachment.” This is where it really gets ridiculous, because the Democrat managers argue and present a case that Trump’s actions were over the line to be impeached and provided a basis for it going back to the Constitution. Alexander does acknowledge the basic facts are true, sating there is “a mountain of evidence” as to whether Trump withheld aid to Ukraine via quid pro quo.

John Bolton has a controversial past, is generally regarded as a Hawk, but is certainly a key figure — being in regular contact with the president — in confirming under oath key allegations made during the House impeachment process and providing insights to the seriousness.

Alexander is 79 and can clearly recall the real Republican Party. He has a distinguished law background, presumably has squirreled enough assets from his influential posts to satisfy his needs for the remainder of his life. And now he has to kowtow to Trump! Do they have some dirt on this man? Have the Russians hacked his financial or personal records? I just don’t get it.

There is something basically flawed with this party that dates to Abe Lincoln. I really didn’t expect to have Trump removed from office, but the trial as orchestrated by Sen. McConnell was somewhat disgraceful and offensive. We should deal with the facts as Romney so eloquently stated. Did he do what he was accused of? Did he purposely withhold providing witnesses and documentation, e.g. obstruct justice? And did these actions constitute removal from office?

Maybe Alexander and many others have brainwashed themselves — they are intelligent but also very human — yet they truly appear to believe their own propaganda and public image. Perhaps he feels he has made a valuable contribution to our nation. But in one vote on the basic issue of adding witnesses his entire legacy will be remembered as a weak, toadying partisan hack.

McConnell long ago revealed his true nature — or perhaps lack of one — and is just going through the motions. There again, he might have had a non-toadying legacy of accomplishments, but that grin faded away four or more years ago.

I feel a touch of remorse for these folks — I’m sure they don’t like where Trump has placed them — but much sorrier for the American people. McConnell has a well-documented history of enhancing his own welfare but artfully dodges any accountability. And his Republican colleagues let him get away with it. We have serious issues as a nation, and we cannot indulge ourselves in a fantasy existence. Global warming affects people of all political persuasions. An economic disaster does the same.

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A second category of big loser is Sen. Marco Rubio, who has aspirations to run for president. Although as shallow as his reasoning might be, at least I can understand it. I suppose you could say the same for Sen. Ted Cruz.

The Republican party now stand for nothing other than raw, naked power, with them in charge, of course, with no regard for our country’s future. Perhaps in years ahead it can resurrect itself, but it will take awhile.

On the other hand, the Democratic Party stands for too much ideology — moderates, idealists, and loonies. I watched the MSNBC coverage of the Iowa caucuses, and you need a Ph. D. in political science to keep up with the statistical presentations. And the tallying fiasco didn’t help.

Carroll wrote “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice through the Looking Glass” to show the idiocy of English societal thinking, where spoken things were a mirror image of reality, in the 1860s and 1870s. They were originally intended for children, but their mirror-image theme fits into modern politics.

Alas, the Cheshire’s grin is fading fast and perhaps may be gone entirely, and we are just keeping the image in our minds of what the Republican Party used to stand for, and what now stares us in the face.

Dave Pyatt writes from Mount Airy. Reach him at DPyatt2@verizon.net.

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