This piece was published on January 2, 2021
It is not clear to me whether the good, decent conservatives in the Republican base will ever recognize the true nature of what their Party has become. (Acknowledging that would require courage of a kind not many possess.)
But there may never be a better time for such a realization than now, with what the bulk of Republican Party has displayed about itself since the election.
The door to that realization opens to any who will ponder a truth that an abundance of readily available evidence makes crystal clear: i.e. that the Republicans’ claim that Biden has stolen this election is a Big Lie. (And that the Republican leaders know it’s a Lie.)
In a rational world, every Republican voter – paying reasonable attention to the evidence from dozens of court cases, recounts, and expert testimony – would understand that Biden’s victory is legitimate, clear, and even decisive.
Regrettably, however, in parts of the American body politic the role of reason in our nation has weakened in our times. And so, recent polls show that three-fourths of Republicans believe the Lie.
Nonetheless, once the multiply-demonstrated truth about the election is recognized, some other very important and very dark truths — about today’s Republican Party — stand exposed.
** This Big Lie shows, first, that the Republican Party is willing to deceive their supporters for their own purposes.
No conservative who cares about good character would approve of such exploitative deception.
** Moreover, the Lie is designed to generate unwarranted hatred toward the other side. (This furthers a strategy of “Divide and conquer,” because pitting one side of the American electorate fiercely against the other makes it inevitable that they will be in conflict, and thus incapable of acting together to achieve their common purposes.)
No conservative who celebrates the ideas of “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill to Men” could tolerate a political party that deliberately instills conflict and hatred into the world.
** The Lie is thus designed also to have a destructive impact on the ability of the American government to take constructive action to repair a nation beset by crisis.
No conservative patriot would approve of their Party lying to paralyze the American government at such a time, when the good of the nation urgently needs national unity and forward movement.
** Additionally, this Lie to delegitimize what has been called the most “secure” election in our history is a direct attack on the heart of our Constitution. (Elections are the heart of the Constitution — because they are the means by which the sacred “will of the people” chooses our leaders, which our founders said is what makes a government “just”– and with their attempt to delegitimize a duly elected President — these Republicans are driving a stake through it.)
No conservative who reveres – or even simply respects – the Constitution could support a political Party that doesn’t hesitate to attack the foundation of our constitutional order in order to grab for power for itself.
(Conservatives who are about integrity, and abhor hypocrisy, should be especially offended by these Republicans – who not long ago paraded around with pocket editions of the Constitution in their pockets, posturing as defenders of the American Way.)
Moreover, in abetting this Lie, which is an attack on the Constitution, a majority of Republicans in the House demonstrate that they don’t mind violating their oath of office – taken with their hand on the Bible—to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
(That “majority of Republicans” abetted this Lie, and violated that oath, by signing onto a case so utterly without merit that even the most conservative Supreme Court we’ve ever seen dismissed it contemptuously.)
No conservative who regards oaths as sacred promises that must be honored could support a political party that gives no sign that they hold any value higher than its drive for power.
What the Republicans have been doing since the election is completely unprecedented in American history. America has traditions about how the losing side in an election should behave—conceding defeat, respecting the outcome, treating the people’s choice with at least some degree of respect (and openness to the possibility of working together for the good of the nation). Today’s Republican Party has shown a complete lack of respect for that tradition—vital to that core democratic principle of a peaceful transfer of power.
No conservative who respects the value of tradition could accept such reckless violation of long-established norms.
So any good, decent conservative – looking at the Republican Lie about the election – should see that the spirit of that Party is an ugly spirit of brokenness. Betraying people, creating strife, violating a sacred oath, pushing to take power from the people to grab it for themselves—are not all of these signs of a spirit that acts in the world in ways that conservatives used to describe in terms of Evil?