By David Marcus
The 2020 election shattered all previous records as Americans on both sides of the aisle, fulfilling their civic duty, went out and voted in record numbers by the end of Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
Then the unimaginable happened. The president of the United States, unhappy with his loss, openly advocated for throwing out those votes (at least the votes that weren’t in his favor), going so far as to encourage his followers to attack the U.S. Capitol.
If anybody reading this had done just half of what I describe above, you would already have been arrested and after a trial, most likely would be facing serious prison time.
Divided by a president with a propensity for ugly lies and tweets who exacted retribution on anyone who didn’t bow down to him, our country moved from being revered for our democratic political system and for its laws and order, to a country on edge. We used to pride ourselves on our ability to hold elections free of dictators telling us who was going to win. Now we are nothing but an embarrassment, and used as an example of the failure of the democratic system by our adversaries.
To make matters even worse, a fringe group of Americans, encouraged by the past president, has literally gone off the rails, believing anything people might post on YouTube by members of QAnon and other conspiracy theorists.
- 5G cell phone towers are a conspiracy to control your mind by Bill Gates (they aren’t).
- George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, has been busy funding Antifa, and is believed to be in control of a large portion of the world’s wealth and governments. The problem with this is Antifa doesn’t exist except as a political protest movement composed of many separate groups with a common opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology. For those of you for whom history is not your strong point, Hitler and Mussolini come to mind as the most famous fascists of the 20th century. I identify as anti-fascist, and if Antifa were real, I would support the organization. But, because they don’t exist, George Soros can’t fund their organization, and he is not in control of a large portion of the world’s wealth.
- PizzaGate. Users of the website 4Chan began speculating about the links between Comet Ping Pong in Washington, D.C., and the Democratic Party, claiming specifically that the basement of the pizzeria is the headquarters of a child trafficking ring led by prominent Democrats. The pizzeria doesn’t have a basement, but that hasn’t stopped the conspiracy theorists from believing this garbage.
And most recently, to quote the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” referring to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Greene has, among many crazy conspiracy theories, stated that, perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were staged and the California wildfires were caused by Jews wielding laser beams. And, Rep Greene isn’t the only Republican nut case elected to Congress.
Sadly, one of the most dangerous aspects of these conspiracy theories is the majority of believers are promoting garbage pushed by white supremacists, with a decidedly anti-Semitic tone.
Our democracy survived, at least for the time being. It’s very future, however, is in the hands of the very fractured Republican Party.
I believe it’s important for our system of government to have a two-party system. But, for the GOP to survive, it’s imperative they search their moral and ethical principles when deciding what they do, both at the upcoming impeachment trial of Donald Trump, and whether they decide to stand up against the “loony lies and crazy conspiracy theories” that McConnell referred to. All of that could determine what becomes of the future of the GOP, and America.
Unfortunately, I’m guessing that 90% of the GOP, out of fear of what Donald Trump will say, will find a way to placate the QAnon believers, the conspiracy theorists, the White supremacists, the neo-Nazis and the few decent people left who love Donald Trump for their own misguided reasons. The GOP will leave this problem for our children and their children to grapple with.
Our forefathers must be fuming in their graves at the state of our “disunion.”
David Marcus is an El Paso certified public accountant.
Cover illustration by Nick Youngson.
Disclosure: David Marcus is a financial supporter and board member of El Paso Matters.