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What Would Nellis Say?

Who Are We? February 2024


Who are we?

By Rick Stiller


Our former twice-impeached president started his first campaign by claiming that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York and not lose any supporters. He’s probably right but that says more about the morals of his right-wing voters than the candidate.


A recent campaign ad called, ‘And God gave us Trump’ touts the presumptive candidate as the second coming of Christ, the only soul on the planet who can save humanity from the threat of freedom and equality! How fickle our memories of the chaos and dissonance, more than a million deaths and economic disaster that evolved under his divisive “leadership”! 


Dominated by his whims, the 118th Congress spent this term arguing about who Trump would anoint as Speaker, rather than dealing with the country's problems. Other than approving appropriations for the funding of the Department of Defense and passing a temporary endowment to cover the Debt Ceiling, as well as the Electronic Duck Stamp Act and requiring the Treasury to mint coins commemorating the 250thanniversary of the United States Marine Corp, The House did not debate or pass any other substantive bills.


Instead, Select Committees spent millions of dollars and wasted countless days conducting noisy but non-productive investigations of their political enemies and attempting to impeach President Biden without producing any evidence of “high crimes or misdemeanors.” 


News reports over the past few days suggest that the FBI arrested star witness Alexander Smirnov for fabricating the evidence and lying to Congress. Since those initial reports, he has confessed to obtaining his information directly from a Russian security operative. Putin provided a decisive hand to help his preferred patsy in 2016 and his interference campaign to disrupt American elections continues unabated…with applause and appreciation from far too many extremist elected officials who seem to prefer authoritarianism over democracy.


Radical Republicans ran on a platform of chaos and disruption, the victimization of our white population, and the demonization of every minority, with a primary focus claiming that illegal immigration would “poison the blood” of the nation. When the Senate proposed a bi-partisan bill that addressed everything the Republicans had demanded, Donald Trump commanded that it never see the light of day, let alone come up for a vote. The issue is far more valuable to him as a campaign slogan and his puppets in Congress dutifully followed orders.


We elected these lawmakers to serve the people, to work to create solutions for the real problems that our country is facing rather than using their positions to perform political theatrics for the evening talk shows. Their supporters believe the hateful and false propaganda that blankets the airwaves and the internet and could not be bothered to seek facts or truth before blindly but enthusiastically casting their ballots. I ask, who are we that white nationalist voters, a tiny sliver of the population backed by enormous financial resources, can elect these extremists to hijack our government?


State legislatures have taken the Dobbs Decision, granting states the right to pass their own restrictions, to unprecedented extremes by outlawing abortion without exception for rape, incest, miscarriages, or preserving the life of the mother, defining the procedure as felony murder, and banning women from traveling to other states to get medical care. 


The Republican Party is making no secret of their intention to use the Comstock Act of 1873 (Act of the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use) to prevent sending abortion, morning-after, or birth-control medications through the mail. States are preparing legislation that will require maintaining records for every woman who has an abortion, and Texas allows any citizen to sue their neighbors for $10,000 if they suspect that a woman has had an abortion or helped another woman seek one. 


The Alabama Supreme Court just upheld a law that would recognize invitro-fertilized eggs as full-fledged humans that could not be discarded if they were not implanted in the mother’s womb. It appears that if a woman becomes pregnant with one of those embryos, she will be liable for murder for not using the remaining eggs. Every red state is contemplating similar laws that will allow Christian Nationalist legislators to control the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth.


Historically, the Republican Party prides itself on protecting individual rights…but only for white males. As second-class citizens, women do not deserve the right to determine what happens with their own bodies. At the same time, those same legislatures have demolished funding that might help support those millions of unwanted babies…think programs like supplemental food programs WIC and SNAP, Medicaid support, or school lunches.


The Koch-funded Heritage Foundation published a thousand-page detailed plan of action (Project 2025) for the next Republican president, which outlines in detail the plot to fire fifty-thousand professional civil servants to make way for ultra-conservative lackeys who will dismantle every executive agency in the government. 


It proposes defunding the Department of Justice, the FBI, Homeland Security, and the IRS, eliminating the Departments of Education and Commerce, and gutting environmental and climate regulations that inhibit the fossil fuel industry which has funded right-wing extremism for decades. In addition, it proposes rounding up millions of immigrants and homeless people who would be confined to enormous concentration camps before being processed in kangaroo courts and deported.


While they may not be here legally, our economy depends on those workers for construction, agriculture, food service, and many other low-wage jobs that American workers refuse to take, because the Republican Congress refuses to raise the $7.25 per hour minimum wage that has been in place since 1994. Jobs for prison guards will be plentiful but everyone else will witness the rapid disintegration of many of the services that we take for granted in every state in the union.


Trump and the radical right are broadcasting their plans to tear up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in favor of a dictatorship that serves their wealthy white patrons. Despite constantly repeating these intentions, a majority of our citizens have not accepted the looming threat posed by the theocratic fascism that has become the working philosophy of today’s Republican Party.


Considering all this and so much more, the question becomes, how did we as a nation…as a people, lose our souls to the cult madness spawned by a candidate who has been found libel for rape by a jury of his peers, fined more than a half-billion dollars for illegal business practices, and faces ninety-one felonies for attempting to overthrow a legitimate election? 


Why have we allowed a minor fanatical religious movement, built not on the teachings of Jesus or the Bible but on hate and racism, to seize enough power to demolish social conventions, legal standards, and historical norms that affect the entire country? 


How did we permit accepted facts to be replaced with utter nonsense and complete lies, history to be rewritten, classic books to be banned and burned, and librarians to be tormented and vilified? (Librarians? Really?) 


The war on public education started and funded by original John Birch Society members in the early 1960’s, is spreading throughout the country and diminishing our higher education system that is the envy of the world. The next generation of students will be denied the opportunity to accept or debate truth and facts about who we are or how we got here. By ignoring history, the horrendous tragedies of the past will be repeated.


Why did we not react with outrage when thousands of babies were snatched from their immigrant mother’s arms with no intention of reuniting them? (Years later, more than a thousand have yet to be returned to their parents). Why is rampant mass murder of children in their schools or worshipers in their churches dismissed with thoughts and prayers rather than a solution?


How did we allow our society to become so calloused and desensitized to these outrages? Why are hateful racist “trendsetters” given star power and a national audience by the fanatical spectrum of the media? Why are we not out in the streets demanding a return to sanity, empathy, and compassion?


All of which raises questions about who we think we were in some fantastical past, who we are today, and who we will become if we are not brave enough to stand up for everything that is good and right and true. Our children and our children’s children deserve more from us than this legacy of betrayal to all that our nation should stand for.


The moderates of this country have this one chance to put aside their differences and unite to preserve our democracy by defeating every extremist candidate from your school board to the presidency in what might be our last free and fair election. You can make the difference.

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