Republicans to the Rescue!

A history of the Law & Order Party not Protecting Democracy or Americans

To the remaining rational minds in our country, it is clear that the Republicans, the  “law & order party”, have given up on both law and order. They seemingly switched it off the moment Trump won the 2016 Presidential election and they have never looked back. It was a surprisingly easy transition for them, almost as if they stumbled into their “sweet spot”. In fact, one could argue, and we will here, that Trump and Trumpism simply allowed Republicans to be themselves. 

For decades, Republicans have been exploiting their self-designated role of “defenders of Democracy”. When we take a closer look, however, we see that they have done much to hurt America and its people. They, and conservatives of all types, have been leading us down a path that has been slowly destroying America and literally killing Americans. Let’s see what’s really behind that superhero facade.

Before getting into the tangible damage the Republicans did to America, it’s important to first mention the less obvious damage they did to the American mind as this is what allowed them to get away with everything else. The steady stream of blatant and dangerous manipulation from modern conservative voices didn’t just suddenly appear. Decades of messaging and policies from the Right primed us to embrace the hate and bluster of Donald Trump.

Mainstream conservatives hatched a power grab plan in the late 1960s that was to be fueled by divisive and anti-government rhetoric. A divide and conquer approach started with their Southern Strategy that gently fanned the flames of racism with coded words such as “states’ rights” and “law and order”. Vietnam War protesters were incorrectly characterized by the Right as lazy hippies, spoiled college kids, and elitists from the Left who were betraying the country and the troops (ironic because Nixon and his operatives purposefully extended the war for political advantage

While this rhetoric was slowly taking hold of the American psyche, corporate-funded conservative think tanks were quietly weaving their pro-wealth  “free market”, and “trickle-down economics” ideologies into Republican policies and into our government. These were paired nicely with “Government IS the problem” and government getting in the way of “free enterprise” so it’s ok to defund it. They conjured up imagery of countless Welfare Queens, exploiting overly generous liberal government handouts, pitting them against a shrinking number of rugged and righteous individuals who survived only on liberty and their ability to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

So…don’t worry about what the corporations and billionaires are doing to you, your government, and your planet. Just blame your government and your neighbors and we’ll protect you. Their strategy worked and they stuck to it and it has led us to the brink…

Imagine how much more effective the Republicans’ early rhetoric would have been if Fox News was around during their early power grab. Now imagine them imagining the same thing. Conservatives knew that mainstream media was too competent at that time for them to have their way with the public – and they wanted to do something about that.

In 1970, aides of President Nixon, including Roger Ailes, conceived, planned, and budgeted for the creation of their own conservative-biased news stories. These stories were primarily for distribution to LOCAL news stations to avoid scrutiny by the major networks. A 318-page memo laid out their plan for unfair and unbalanced disinformation using “our own news” that would provide “a brutal, vicious attack on the opposition.” The plan also revealed their lack of respect for voters and their willingness to manipulate them: “People are lazy, …. With television you just sit — watch — listen. The thinking is done for you.”

(Notice that “thinking” is underlined – that says it all.)

The only thing that kept their “GOP News” from starting up was the Watergate scandal – something they probably would have spun enough to prevent Nixon’s need to resign. We can use the comparison of what Nixon didn’t get away with and what Trump did get away with to understand the devastating impact Fox News has had on truth and the American mind.

It wasn’t until 1996, with the help of cable television and billionaire Rupert Murdoch, that Ailes was able to finally get his Fox News deception machine up and running. Once they had a following, they started to gently groom us. Now they are fully dedicated to dividing us and replacing truth with tribalism. Fox News and conservatives have spent years warping the minds of their followers to the point where they now demand insanity from their favorite news hosts and their politicians.

Fox News was created of, by, and for Conservatives, giving us insight into what conservatism is truly all about – a willingness to harm people and destroy Democracy for their own gain. Leadership based on lies and manipulation will create a void that will be replaced by authoritarians – we are already seeing it.

At this point, our bipartisan Congress was still functioning. Both sides regularly compromised on policies and got along quite well (even in their personal lives). This appalled the power-hungry Congressman Newt Gingrich who, in the early 1990s, began engineering the dysfunction of Congress. There was always some partisanship in Congress but Gingrich turned it into tribalism.

For Gingrich, politics was not about policies and leadership, it was a war for power – nothing else mattered. He headed up the GOPAC political organization which formalized and distributed his battle plan in training material including a memo called “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control” which included terminology to demonize and dehumanize Democrats, portraying them as traitors that are out of touch with American values.

Newt’s comfort zone was manipulating the American people. A classic example was when he (or some of his freshman Congressional minions) would regularly castigate Democrats to a completely empty Chamber late at night. It was shown on and distributed to other networks by CSPAN, which was not allowed to show the empty chamber. This allowed him to say whatever he wanted, without rebuttal, to an “attentive” chamber. He was literally acting – and lying to Americans.

His most famous abuse of Americans was his “Contract with America” which continued the “government is the problem” mantra, but like most things from the Right, it reflected the desires of billionaire donors, which were wrapped in patriotism. The Republicans knew most of these policies would never happen, but they loved the soundbites.

Closing Office of Technology Assessment was one way the Contract with America shifted power to the wealthy. The OTA provided Congress with important non-partisan technical information. Unfortunately, science, facts, and data were counter to most policies of Conservatives and corporate America – so Newt and the Republicans made it go away, purposefully making Congress ignorant. As always, they framed it as saving taxpayers from a wasteful and incompetent government. The OTA was replaced by corporate lobbyists.

In many ways, America is still recovering from the surprise attacks against America on September 11th, 2001 Sadly, there were not all that surprising. The Bush Administration had solid warnings that attacks were imminent. One was in July of that year, two months ahead of the attacks when CIA director George Tenet and CIA and anti-terrorism deputy Cofer Black went to the White House to personally raise the alarm that there were going to be multiple attacks against the United States either here or abroad or both – and with heavy casualties. The only thing the Bush administration did was to strengthen the defenses of some overseas bases. The CIA asked the White House to go on a war footing against Al-Qaeda – but that didn’t happen. Another was in early August when Bush was handed a memo that described Al-Qaeda’s activities to hijack planes and their recent surveillance of New York City buildings. 

Republicans like to take credit for there being no major attacks on American soil ever since 9/11. How convenient for them that they just happened to start counting terrorist attacks after their massive 9/11 blunder. A blunder that led, not only to the 9/11 attack but to two Wars (one largely fabricated) and one million people, including thousands of Americans, killed or injured. The results of these conflicts continue, generating a hatred toward America that terrorist recruiters are only happy to exploit. We remain less safe because of this gross incompetence 20 years later. Imagine if the Democrats screwed this up as the Republicans did…

Conservatives are constantly pushing our Government to deregulate corporate activities related to food safety, pollution, nuclear energy safety, the airline industry, worker safety, consumer protection, etc. The claim is that this will restrain an overreaching and incompetent government that is stifling job creation, the economy, and the progress of America. The reality is that deregulation is done to increase profits for corporations at our expense. 

Another way conservatives twist our government into favoring industry is to do it from the inside out. This is done by replacing those pesky qualified, objective, and agenda-free government employees with cronies, loyalists, and profiteers. Sometimes we see the damage such as President George W. Bush’s head of FEMA, Michael Brown, and his handling of hurricane Katrina, or President Trump’s Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, gutting the Postal Service just before an election. Typically, however, we never hear about which fox is guarding which henhouse.

Republicans have even tried to completely do away with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get it out of the way of business (and the coronavirus). What makes sense for corporate America does not necessarily make sense for Americans or humanity.

Even better than denying us healthy bodies, Republicans excel at denying us a livable planet.  The Republicans, on behalf of fossil fuel, manufacturing, big ag, and other industries are doing all they can to deny climate science even though both the oil industry and the coal industry knew many decades ago that it was real and that they were causing it.  They continuously push back against the regulation of polluters and the power of the EPA right when we need them most.  In case you haven’t heard, climate change is spinning out of control and it is way ahead of schedule. Climate change is the ultimate failure of the conservative/libertarian/corporatist/free-market clusterfuck of lies.  These greed-based ideologies that tell us that everyone should act in their own interest (which is an excuse to justify their pursuit of corporate profits over people and the planet) are being proven wrong in the most devastating way.

Speaking of deregulation, when it comes to favoring corporate America and the wealthy, wealth-inspired policies from the Right far outnumber those from the Left.  To be fair, it takes two to tango and it’s not like Democrats refuse to support “wealth-inspired” policies.  But to be even fairer, it is our newly corrupted system of government that forces many members of both parties to vote against their constituents and their own morals.  The rampant corruption that is handing all the money and power to the wealthy has been brought to us by the Supreme Court.  Over the past several decades, decisions of the Court have weaponized “freedom of speech” by turning it into an excuse for the wealthy and corporations to write bigger and bigger checks to influence politicians and policies.

It is the Libertarians, Conservatives, and Republicans who have masterminded a steady and purposeful realignment of the Supreme Court to favor industry and the wealthy, resulting in a Supreme Court that has acted against the needs of the rest of us.  Republicans make sure that their base believes that abortion is their main focus when it comes to judicial nominations but that is hardly the case – the number one qualification of a Supreme Court Justice nominee is the prioritization of the needs of the wealthy. This not only leads to the deregulation of polluters, big oil, pharma, insurance companies, etc. – all of which causes us physical harm – it also lets the wealthy run the show. SCOTUS has so greatly corrupted our government that most politicians focus on making a buck more than protecting Americans and Democracy. 

Shifting control of our government from our hands into the hands of the wealthy and corporate America (Big Oil, Big Ag, Pharma, polluters, NRA, etc.) is incredibly dangerous. 

On the other hand, conservatives will label anything the government does for the working class as a “handout” or “the start down the road to socialism” and therefore an attack on Democracy. They take this a step further and make it not about policy, but about people, pitting us against each other, claiming that our government is giving “takers” and even “welfare queens” the hard-earned money of patriots. Conservatives have enough money and reach into various news outlets and social media platforms that they can drill into our heads every night just how “bad” some folks in our society are. Fox News is by far the biggest contributor to this and they incessantly attack anyone who is not white and Christian as the reason America is failing. For conservatives, this intersects nicely with the foundation of hate that they had secured through their Southern Strategy.

Another way they justify not paying taxes is to make us despise our government and prioritize the needs and success of business. It started with President Reagan with his “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help”. This messaging has become more aggressive over the years, describing our Government as being in the way of business success, over-regulating, overtaxing, and, of course, taking our personal liberties away. This ultimately degraded to pleas from conservative pundits to “burn it all down” and ”flush it down the drain”. The purpose of all of this is to create an environment where we don’t mind as much when jobs are sent overseas or when wealth-inspired legislation guts the agencies and regulations that protect us or that essential services are privatized (for even more profit).

Even though it started decades ago with the “Southern strategy” and “trickle-down”, all the rhetoric added up and the results are now front and center all across America. We see it with blatant racism, job losses, and extreme economic inequality along with their inevitable growth in our frustration, depression, and inability to see a future. Tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy defund our government, resulting in decreased public service, especially in the areas of education and mental health, and the lack of mental health specialists. 

This is the oldest game in the book – divide us and distract us so we blame our neighbor while the wealthy take all our money and ruin the country. In terms of the damage caused by years of the conservatives’ divisiveness and wealth-concentrating narrative, the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.

To help us deal with all the anxiety and anger created by conservative fiscal policies and conservative fearmongering and scapegoating, Republicans make sure that there are as many guns floating around our country as possible. To complement this massive number of guns, Republicans make sure that there are as few gun safety laws as possible or weaken existing gun safety laws. Ever since that devastating day in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been more laws that increase gun ownership than laws that increase gun safety.

Not only have the Republicans and the NRA made it easy to buy a gun, but they have also convinced people to buy as many guns as possible. They’ve done this by creating a “gun culture war” by repeatedly claiming that “liberals want to take your guns away”. This has been drilled into the heads of their constituents so they keep buying guns and keep voting Republicans.

Each year the number of gun sales far outnumbers the number of births in America, saturating our country. The parallel growth of gun ownership along with social and mental health issues, divisive rhetoric, and economic strains endangers all Americans (including the police0.

Then of course there is the small matter of the pandemic. All of us watched the ever-growing pile of ignorance, missteps, exploitation, and outright lies out of the Trump Administration, Republicans, and conservative media – but not all of us survived it.

The poor handling of the pandemic was also related to a voter base that had fallen under the spell of the least engaged, least intelligent, and least caring president in our history. It didn’t take much manipulation to convince these folks that wearing a mask was not about saving your lives or the lives of others, instead, it was all about the government attacking your personal liberties and it was just the first step of some sort of socialist/communist takeover from the radical left. The GOP, conservative media, and certain religious leaders had no problem sending out the wrong message in order to create further hatred of the government and the Left – in other words, they had no problem killing Americans, even sacrificing members of their own base, for political gain. It even got to the point where Republicans, from Trump on down, attacked Dr. Fauci so much that he had to get bodyguards – welcome to Republican dystopia.

Republican leaders around the country tried to show that they were tough – always pushing back against the suggestions from doctors, scientists, and government agencies. The fact that President Trump took the vaccine, but kept it secret, is really all you need to know about the man, his priorities, and the “lead by theater” approach of the GOP. For conservative, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste and the pandemic was no exception. Their instincts were to use showmanship, props, grandstanding, and chest pumping as part of their divide-and-conquer power grab. They took something that could have brought the country together and should have showcased what a competent government could do, and instead turned it into a shitshow and showcased what their corrupted, grifting, gutted, and incompetent government was all about

If we are more likely to be shot, get sick from pollution, or have long-term COVID then it seems only fair that we are less likely to have medical insurance. We can always count on Republicans to work tirelessly to keep us from getting the healthcare we need. Republicans act as if medical coverage is reserved for the healthiest and wealthiest of us. They have spent years bending over backward and burning through millions of our taxpayer dollars to terminate Health Care for millions of us. They like to say that “the country” can’t afford these handouts, but the truth is “the country” has more money than ever before. The problem is that the folks that keep the Republicans in power have taken all the money and they don’t want to give any of it back, even to keep us alive.

Conservatives and conservative media outlets have been slowly intensifying their manipulative rhetoric over the years. Their efforts resulted in a widening political divide, a deeper distrust of our government, and increases in hate crimes. The more their base embraced this messaging, the more the conservative politicians relied on it, and in many cases were forced to nurture it to remain in the good graces of Fox News – who were now driving much of the conservative narrative.

Republicans pushed things too far until they finally lost control. When you lose control of the monster you created, you get this:

Just like President Bush was opposed to the 9/11 commission to investigate what led to one of the worst days in American history, the Republicans were opposed to the Jan 6th commission to investigate what led to the other worst day in American history. If you don’t want to figure out what happened, then you either have something to hide or you want it to happen again. If they were so convinced that “Antifa” attacked the Capitol, then one would think they would embrace the investigation…

It’s hard to know when Republicans became comfortable with the idea of power through violence. or how far they will let it go. But we do know that the growth of right-wing extremism and violence has been tracked since the 1940s and has ramped up considerably due to conservative rhetoric. Not only have conservatives nurtured right-wing extremism along, but they have also stymied efforts to stop it through pushback against reports, having reports retracted, and defunding efforts to track and thwart these groups. So while the Right has been overplaying the threat of terrorism from Mexican and Muslim immigrants, they have been ensuring the threat of terrorism from within.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Republicans have destroyed truth and they are using that accomplishment to destroy our Democracy. Republicans and conservative pundits and media outlets are continuing their “big lie” about the 2020 and 2022  elections. Minimally, the long-term goal is to sow more seeds of doubt about Democracy so that the actual destruction of it becomes acceptable. However, Republicans in states where they control and Trump lost are using the  GOP-perpetuated pile of “alternative facts” to rewrite election laws that will allow Republicans to decide who gets to vote. If that doesn’t work they might be able to simply overturn election results. Just as Conservatives and Republicans have weaponized the Constitution to take over our Democracy, they are now weaponizing election laws to ensure that there is nothing we can do about it…

Anyway, you get the idea, the Republicans are full of shit. They pretend to be the “true patriots” and “one of us” while they torch our health, wealth, future, and Democracy itself, all in the name of the wealthy, corporate America, and their own personal gains. No matter how patriotic they sound, no matter how adeptly they tug at your heartstrings, the conservative movement is about manipulation, exploitation, corruption, obstruction, and destruction – and nothing else. They are not the “law and order” party – they are the “power at any cost” party.  If at the moment, you happen to feel “safe” in their version of Democracy, then you better start paying attention, because history shows that that feeling won’t last.