Who’s the Security Risk Now?
With GOP It’s Fox News Guarding the Henhouse
The Republican assault on reality in service of our twice-impeached former president is not an anomaly, like waking up next to a stranger and realizing that someone drugged you at the club. It is a habit and requires intervention.
A recent example is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s outrage that Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to accept his naming of saboteurs to the select committee on the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. He thinks diverting attention to Black Lives Matter protests will cause collective amnesia. Meanwhile, Trump calls the January 6 rioters “a loving crowd.”
Trump wouldn’t recognize love if it spanked him with a copy of Forbes magazine.
McCarthy, who has the gall to accuse someone else of partisan hackery, said his team would conduct their own investigation. He might as well resurrect John Gotti to lead a task force on gangsters or Benedict Arnold to investigate traitors.
Politics is like grits: it reflects what you put into it. And the Trumpists have laced it with poison. We cannot expect decency, responsibility, and concern for others from a party dominated by a sociopath. (Ever alert for a racial wedge, Trump calls the Cleveland Indians’ name change to the Guardians an effort to “destroy our heritage and culture.” What do you suppose he means by “our”?)
But blaming politicians only gets us so far. As Prof. Eddie Glaude of Princeton says, “This is us.” When we applaud those who replace fact-based arguments with narratives appealing to our fears and resentments, we are joining the mob even as we sit alone with our mobile devices.
Given the brutal footage from January 6, including vicious attacks on police officers whom conservatives claim to support, how can so many people swallow the Big Lie? Look around you: plenty of help is available on cable TV and social media in constructing alternate realities.
After a steady stream of seditious disinformation, Republicans have lately noticed that most of those dying from COVID-19’s Delta variant are their supporters, and we were treated to 11th-hour pro-vaxxer conversions by Steve Scalise, Sean Hannity, and Ron DeSantis.
I will believe the Republicans have come to their senses when Rep. Liz Cheney beats Gov. DeSantis in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries. As a liberal, I disagree with her on almost everything, but I respect her for maintaining her conservatism while so many colleagues have become useful idiots for Vladimir Putin.
Remember when homosexuality was deemed a security risk? Years ago, when I needed a security clearance, the investigators awkwardly asked about my being gay. I suggested they look me up on search engines and, after perusing my public activism and commentary, ask themselves what was left for which I could possibly be blackmailed? I got my clearance.
How could any Trumper get a security clearance? Forty-five says that Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should be court-martialed for his comments on Trump’s effort to overthrow the government. Why? For telling the truth? Trump acts like he’s starring in The Madness of King George.
The Constitution is not self-enforcing. It lives or dies in us. If we lack the stomach for a fight and let Fox News guard the henhouse, we are lost. Years before January 6, Trump brazenly attacked norms we took for granted, and found them unguarded.
Being part of the reality-based community means resisting wishful thinking. I am as tired of COVID-19 as anyone, but the surge of the Delta variant makes me hesitant to attend large family gatherings. I do not wish to be part of a super-spreader event, even though I am fully vaccinated. I will take a booster shot as soon as they are available and recommended.
I loved a recent headline in Vanity Fair: “Anthony Fauci Tells Anti-Vaxxers to Sit Down and STFU as COVID Cases Surge.” When Dr. Fauci called bottom-feeding Sen. Rand Paul a liar at a Senate hearing and said, “You don’t know what you are talking about,” it was a blow for sanity amid an ongoing public health crisis.
As Jonathan Rauch writes in his compelling book, The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth, “[A]cquiring knowledge is a conversation, not a destination. It is a process, a journey—a journey we take together, not alone. Others are always involved. Knowledge is not just something I have; more fundamentally, it is something we have.” Let’s defend it. ▼
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist at email@example.com.