At some point, the loyal opposition has to show a little more loyalty and a lot less opposition or we will have no country.
Patriotism is more than digging into the pit of denial and obstructionism. Standing on your ideals stops being commendable when you are using the heads of others as your pedestal.
I can hear the Trump supporters already: The Never Trumpers never gave up opposition to a duly elected president and the administration he put in place, so why should we surrender to Biden and the libs? What about Pelosi’s impeachments? What about, what about, what about . . .
The pandemic is an important issue. The actions to leave Afghanistan and the chaos of the actual evacuation, especially the way it began, are valid points for public critique. The tenuous emergence of the economy as the country comes out of lockdown is worth examination.
But the most critical issue on the table right now is represented in the efforts of some hardcore Republicans to ensure that no matter what the effort, the Democrats must fail. No quarter.
Most of the headlines about Afghanistan evacuees, vaccinations and masks, and voter fraud are diversions optimized by those whose failures leave them with no tool but chaos. It serves Republicans who value their own career ambitions and need for power and pocketbooks over everything else. It’s bad for the nation, and, not incidentally, most of the people whose votes brought Joe Biden and the Democrats to power i to set the national agenda and make a plan to put it to work.
States that want to change the rules for voting are states where Republicans lost the last election. So, the message is: If you can’t win with the rules, change the rules or refuse to play, and just lie and declare yourself the winner. Stir up doubt and distrust of all government, all representation of authority. Challenge the credibility of any source of information that does not hew to the conservative line.
The big difference is that those never-Trumpers were opposed to the blatant attempts by Trump and his rightists to destroy the essential balance of powers in the country and turn government into a personality cult. We were headed for a dictatorship, and the most zealous right-wing opponents to democracy are still trying to undermine the will of the people.
If they get their way, elections will no longer mean anything. Our tradition is that if you lose the election, you step down and new leaders step up. The majority rules, with respect for the rights of the minority to participate, debate, even oppose changes in the direction of the government. There is no room, though, for rebellion to the point of sabotage.
Trump and his more ardent fans would end that and claim a dictatorship serving conservative positions on all things is better than compromising with the winners. The assault on Congress on Jan. 6 is a black mark on the conservative right, the Republican Party, and a day that should be considered a cautionary message to all citizens: These freedoms to choose and change leadership are precious, and all that needs to happen to see them go away is to excuse rebellion as some perverse form of patriotism; to stand by and say nothing to those who were willing to change our form of government by force because they did not like the results of the vote.
Denial of the truth is not an affirmation of a higher value. The truth is that the country has had enough turmoil, enough of Donald Trump, enough of the white racists who make up far too deep a base, enough of the adventurers whose disregard for law and order for all is used as justification for blatantly violent chaos and mindless rage without a viable alternative to what has been the best example of government of and by the people in history. So far.
Dean Minnich is a career journalist and served two terms as a Republican County commissioner. He writes from Westminster.