Letter 2 America for September 17, 2021

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Dear America,

In one sense, it is quite remarkable how little things change, and on the other, it is profound how much they have changed and continue to do so.  As to what hasn't changed much, there is the Republican Party for example.  Certainly, the withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been done better.  Our government has had since last October, when Donald Trump committed to the Taliban that we would withdraw from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 to sort out the status of those we have used during our tenure there and to be sure to get them to safety before the last of our troops withdrew, albeit there were over 100,000 people in various statuses who wanted to leave.  And we did get the vast majority of them--over 100,000--out, but apparently a few hundred were left behind.  Some of them have gotten out already and others are on the verge of doing so, but there are still some others who don't know what will happen to them.  Of course, the Republican Party has jumped on those few who are still there as an indictment of the Biden administration, never mentioning that from last October until near the end of this past January when Biden was inaugurated, they did virtually nothing about the problem even though their president created it and they had the power to push him to make some plans.  There are some Democrats who have been participating in the Republican dog-and-pony show, mostly pusillanimous hacks who are afraid of the Trump constituencies in their jurisdictions, but they are still Democrats.  And then there are the hyper-righteous Republicans who have rebuffed Trumpist bullies but still wear sanctimony like their Sunday best.  I'm thinking of Mitt Romney in particular.  He sat in his committee seat and castigated Secretary of State Blinken for withdrawing the troops but never mentioning that a member of his own party promised that we would do so in the name of the nation.  Blinken did point that out briefly, but you never hear it in the news; all you hear is Republican whining as if their ox is the one that has been gored.  You can claim to have the interests of the nation foremost in your heart, but actions speak louder than words, and hypocrisy is not a substitute for patriotism or commitment to our nation and its people.  The Republicans never change, and their continuing fealty to a lunatic like Donald Trump, just in consequence of the rabid mass of  voters he controls, is craven self-interest no matter what you call it.

Speaking of Trump, though he is a Republican, perpetually the party of political opportunism and personal ambition, and he is thus predictably possessed of those Republican appalling cardinal traits, his overt conduct in his own interest has gained a kind of support that surprises me even in the Republican population.  That's new.  Trump is so transparently aspiring to be a Putinesque autocrat--in fact, his regard for Putin seems like more of a crush than a political eventuality--that to stay in character, the Republican Party should be rejecting him rather than storming our legislative house in his support, which many of them did.  Someone please explain to me how Donald Trump is a champion of the kind of liberty to which this country is committed, and in the name of which it was created.  Actually, I have an idea of how the thinking goes; they want to preserve their freedom at the expense of everyone else's, and for that--precipitation of racial purity, which is at the sub-rosa heart of Trumpism along with the right to wave a gun around as you proclaim that freedom--Donald Trump has become the go-to designated hypocrite.  All of this lunacy masquerades as something else...something to which we are all supposed to be committed: civil liberty.  But it is no such thing, any more than Nazism was.  Freedom for some is not freedom at all, but try to explain that to a Trump supporter.  That is a profound change in party politics, though the pious flag waving persists.  Then add Mitch McConnell's co-dependent relationship with Trump, which he maintained throughout the Trump administration, that is, service to the tyrant while protecting his fellow Republicans from having to cast unpopular votes at his behest on measures that the Democrats introduced and the American people favored, and you have an anomaly in American politics: anti-democratic practice.  The Republicans have followed McConnell in lock-step, who follows Trump that way, all the while claiming the democratic moral high ground, and Republican voters have fallen into lock-step behind them.  I never agreed with William F. Buckley, but at least he thought about his ideas and analyzed the problems they addressed, rightly or wrongly.  Republicans today don't seem to think.  They just vote in accord with their un-contemplated ideas regarding their own nation, which they don't seem to understand either.

It's all very dispiriting, and frankly, my wife and I just applied to renew our passports because we don't know what will eventuate from what we construe to be a menace to American democracy.  I certainly hope I won't have to use mine, but I'll make sure it is current from now on.

Your friend,


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on September 17, 2021 4:39 PM.

Letter 2 America for September 10, 2021 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for September 27, 2021 is the next entry in this blog.

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