Hope Versus Fear

Author: Gary Hart

To say that America is divided is to echo dozens if not hundreds of similar observations.  But this division isn’t just ideological or partisan.  It is between those who see the election as restoring hope and those locked in fear.

On the hopeful side are those who believe President-elect Joe Biden will now lead a great restoration project to return the nation to its principled roots and standards, repair our badly damaged relations with our allies, conquer the demon virus, and put us back on the path of reason, science, and facts.

On the fearful side is pretty much the entire Republican Party.  And this is a mystery.  What are all these senior elected officials, donors, interest groups, and ambitious candidates afraid of?  The answer is both simple and bewildering.  They are all afraid of Donald Trump.

But he is headed, willingly or not, to Mar-a-Lago.  What is the fear?

For the elected Republicans, and especially the ambitious ones, the fear is of the 70 plus million people who voted for him.  And for a Republican Senator or Member of the House, those voters in his or her State or district can be summoned to form a primary opposition.

For example, in Colorado’s Third Congressional District, a very conservative veteran Republican Congressman was unseated by a newcomer whose principal qualification were her saloon where she and her waitresses pack pistols and her friendship with QAnon.  She had Trump’s endorsement.

Get a spine, you might say to these fearful Republican politicians.  Shaming will not work.  They know they don’t have a spine.  Their respective spines were removed by a disease called careerism.

There are layers of irony here because to a man or woman each of these politicians campaigned initially and thereafter on the repeatedly tested theme of straightening out Washington, cleaning up the mess, and, yes, draining the swamp.  But here they are, several terms later, still claiming to straighten, clean, and drain with no evidence to prove a result.

Why cling to an office in the middle of a swamp?  Because the dreadful Washington, the capitol of our nation, is still a better place to live than East Oshkosh back home.  That is why so many politicians want to go there and never want to leave.

But even faced with defeat or retirement, there is always the revolving door…with ready access to the real swamp.  So, even if you tire of voting with the zombie hoard, you still need acceptable credentials to take that taxi from the Capitol to that lucrative lobbying firm on K Street specializing in access to Republican Members of Congress.

And if you have summoned enough courage to overcome your fears of the Trump cult you probably will have trouble finding that taxi.

History will undoubtedly show that Mr. Trump learned enough about creating fear in the New York property market to take that talent to our nation’s Capitol.  In New York he only needed lawyers and bankers.  In Washington he needed a cult and he created it by appealing to grievance, anger, and resentment, by demonizing immigrants and minorities, and by turning over the reigns of government to powerful special interest groups.

But he is not finished.  To keep the cult, he must intimidate Republican elected officials and he must crush the hope for change and renewal.  If your mind, uncluttered by principles and values as his is, seeks continued power…and, who knows, probably also planning recapture of the powers of the White House, there is no concession, no mature conveyance of authority, no surrender.

The enemy of hope for restoration and renewal is fear.  And as long as an entire political party fears loss of access to power on both sides of the revolving door, a very long struggle is just beginning, a struggle for the preservation of American democracy and the Republic whose flag we salute.

8 Responses to “Hope Versus Fear”

  1. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    Maybe America is so divided because it hasn’t been properly led for so long, well before Trump, in fact.

  2. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    >>>>>>But he is headed, willingly or not, to Mar-a-Lago. What is the fear?

    Indeed, right?

    Well, I’ve heard rumours that Trump may run in 2024. Ahem. Now, if that doesn’t make you roll of your chair on to the floor, laughing out loud, uncontrollably, then you just don’t have a sense of humour.

  3. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    >>>>>>For the elected Republicans, and especially the ambitious ones, the fear is of the 70 plus million people who voted for him.

    Oh, the congressional Republicans should be very afraid of the people who voted for Trump. And, that goes most especially with regard to all of the people who supported and voted for Trump who Biden can still persuade – through engagement with these voters and by actions that are taken (or even attempted to be taken and hard fought for in the face of Republican obstructionism) in the best interests of these voters and that make their lives better.

    Part of the long game that is the art of persuasion here will be be exposing the Republican attempt to block everything Biden wants to do that will protect and improve the lives of all Americans and, perhaps most importantly, exposing – once and for all! – the Republican cult of economic failure.

  4. Elizabeth Miller Says:

    >>>>>>The enemy of hope for restoration and renewal is fear. And as long as an entire political party fears loss of access to power on both sides of the revolving door, a very long struggle is just beginning, a struggle for the preservation of American democracy and the Republic whose flag we salute.

    I’m betting, from afar, on the promise of America. But, hope won’t conquer fear without a muscular and sustained effort to prove that the art of persuasion is not dead.

  5. Neil McCarthy Says:

    I’m more concerned about the views of the people who — even after four years of lies, incompetence and 240,000 deaths — still voted for him. “Electeds” do not have spines because they (honorable exceptions excluded) rent them out to voters. And we know the GOP’s electeds’ tenants. For any interested in a larger exposition of my fears, they are set forth in “Flat Earthers, Big Bangers, and the Risks Going Forward” at https://neils3ds.blogspot.com.

  6. Michael Says:

    Senator, you are looking at this the wrong way. It isn’t mere careerism or fear. Republicans with their media complex have created a groundswell for authoritarianism. That is what those 70-plus million Trump voters represent, and they are prepared to ride that wave to the end of the republic.

    Electing Biden was a relief. Yes, he is a man of principle who intends to govern with integrity and respect science. But there is nothing to celebrate here. The American people did not deliver redemption. They didn’t flip a single state legislature in a redistricting year. Democrats barely held onto their majority in the House. Even if they win both runoffs in Georgia, they won’t be able to govern because Joe Manchin has already said he won’t support eliminating the filibuster. Biden won’t be allowed to govern. McConnell won’t give an inch. The Republicans in the House and Senate will devote all their energies to destroying his presidency with the goal of taking both bodies in 2022. And why would they do otherwise? Ever since Gingrich they have sought to portray the opposition as illegitimate. Their goal is a Russian-style oligarchy; effectively a one-party state that drives wealth ever upward and where elections are a formality. Biden is a minor bump in the road. They have packed the courts. They are masterful at using the Constitution’s anti-democratic flaws impose a tyranny of the minority. This election was validation that they are just inches away from their goal. They will be more ruthless in their power grabs; drive even more conspiracy theories and cries about Socialism to their supporters through ever-narrowing channels of information which no alternative views can penetrate.

    This is the end game. When the Republicans take all three branches, democracy in this country is done. The next Trump won’t be a blithering gameshow host buffoon. He (yes, he) will be effective at using the levers of power, and the entire Republican Party at every level will stand united with him. We had the chance to turn this around on November 3rd. We didn’t. There is no one to blame but ourselves.

  7. Stephen D. Pillow Says:

    THANK YOU MICHAEL!

    I have been waiting for someone else to take off the rose colored glasses and look at the harsh reality that is the Repubican Party and its end game. They are no longer a “democratic” party looking to maintain our republic, but as you so rightly put it, “Republicans with their media complex have created a groundswell for authoritarianism.”

    For all of his talk about “reaching across the aisle” to work with the repubicans, Biden is being blind to the fact that those across the aisle don’t have any desire or plan to work with him. If the repubicans do maintain control of the Senate, which they probably will, McConnell will not allow any legislation proposed by Biden to pass. Biden will have to learn how to govern by “executive order” to get anything accomplished.

    For those Democrats, who think that they can now breathe a sigh of relief and go about their “other” business, I have this to say. THE FIGHT HAS ONLY JUST BEGUN. YOU WON A BATTLE, BUT THE WAR IS FAR FROM OVER. YOU HAVE NOT VANQUISHED THE REPUBICAN FOE. YOU NOW NEED TO DOUBLE YOUR EFFORTS AND START DISMANTLING THE REPUBICAN STRANGLE HOLD ON LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS WHILE MAINTAINING THE FIGHT AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. WINNING THE WHITE HOUSE IS MEANINGLESS IF YOU DON’T ALSO HAVE THE LEGISLATIVE POWER TO PROPERLY GOVERN.

  8. LORENZO CHERIN Says:

    A piece of polemic that resonates.

    Trump is a one off that is not a flash in the pan. He is, like Reagan only in one thing. He spawns a tendency. Reagan as a man was likeable and warm. His politics far from nasty, they summoned up a selfishness he and his soulmate Margaret Thatcher did not intend and at least sometimes regretted. Reagan did rectify it by becoming a moderate on world diplomacy with Gorbacev, Thatcher by an attempt at bringing in the One nation Conservatism she had basically ignored or shunned.

    reaganism, Thatcherism, were mainly economic. They were far from authoritarianism compared to Trumpism.

    This is because they were inspired by two basically pleasant and decent people.

    Trump is unpleasant and =indecent.

    Trumpism is a by word for authoritarianism, disguised as libertarianism.

    We must smile about Biden. But not too much/

    Until after we see Trumpism evaporate…

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