R.I.P. G.O.P.

I’m progressive, even radical on many topics, but I also hold some conservative views; and like most people, I’ve grown more conservative as I’ve grown older. I’m not a fan of the Democrats, and I’ve always prided myself on being an independent who doesn’t toe any one party’s line. I’m at a time of life, when my natural progression, perhaps, is from Democrat to Republican.

Despite all that, and as a direct result of the debacle that is the last year and a half, I find it increasingly hard to picture myself voting Republican for any office, from dog-catcher on up, ever again in my lifetime. In my opinion, the Republican party, the one-time party of Lincoln, has cast itself willfully onto the dustbin of history, and I now hope it rots there and never rises again. I’d like to see this country have two strong and healthy parties, but it will have to be a different second one for me.

Senator Portman, I hope and pray you read these words. I could have voted for you this past election –perhaps would have –had Trump not been the top of your ticket. I dislike Strickland, and have respected some of the stances you’ve taken in the past. But instead, I voted with the Green Party.

But that’s in the past, and the present demands more from you than your mild and measured expressions of concern. Our nation is in a crisis, and we need our elected officials to advocate for us! Being a Congressperson needs to mean more than a cushy sinecure and a pension at taxpayer expense.

I’m a child of the Cold War era. I grew up in the 80’s, hearing the Republicans warn us endlessly against the sinister menace of the Soviet Union. In those days, it was the progressives who were seen as too cozy with the Russians. How the Republicans’ sainted “Gipper” (Ronald Reagan) must be spinning in his grave these days. It turns out those warnings were right all along. And yet when a former KGB agent pushes ahead with re-forging the Soviet Union right under our noses, plunking us down in the middle of a Cold War era spy movie, complete even with double agents being poisoned with radiation, and worse, he blatantly and quite possibly successfully influences the results of our election, in a manner so open that it seems as though he is disinterested even in covering his tracks, the Republicans turn a blind eye and look away. All because the man who benefited had an “R” after his name on the ticket.

Well, beware of Greeks bearing gifts. It was a deal with the devil from the beginning, and even now he is exacting his due. I’ve said and thought a lot of bad things about the Republicans over the years, but I never in my worst moments dreamt they would be willing to sell us out this cheaply. Even when I was dead set against their every policy, I at least thought they had the courage of their own convictions. But it turns out it was all just empty rhetoric and political games.

It has become all too clear that the GOP spent eight years doing nothing but coasting on a wave of hatred for and (largely empty) resistance against Obama and his policies. Had they been serious about any of the things they said, they could have spent those years –at least a few of them –researching, crafting and campaigning for a legitimate alternate solution to the very real issues this country faces in healthcare. Instead, what they offer us is nothing, or rather less than nothing, a step “forward” that even their supporters can see will leave us off worse than when we started. It is no surprise that the “Party of ‘No'” has no ideas, no vision, no plan, and is leading us nowhere.

Now come the latest, and most damning to date, in what has been a steady and unabating stream of news about ties between the Trump administration and the Russian government. As with the Cosby trial, while no conviction may have been obtained, what has been already admitted to, in the accused’s own word, and by his own account, is so damning, and so close to the accusations themselves, that even the most loyal supporter must surely take note. We have Donald Trump Jr.’s own release of an email, promising hostile information about the opposing candidate, and explicitly attributing it to the highest levels of the Russian government. We have Donald Trump Sr.’s own words, directly after, promising the public new and damning information about Clinton. We have the admission that the meeting was attended by Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, with the explicit hope and expectation that they would receive that information, a meeting attended, among others, by an admitted “former” Russian spy. Following that meeting, reports suggest the Trump campaign pressured the GOP to drop language opposing Russian interference in the Ukraine from their platform. Following that, WikiLeaks released emails, from Clinton’s server, now universally confirmed to be originating from Russian governmental hackers, an event that quite likely affected and perhaps even changed the eventual outcome of the election.

What other evidence is needed? The Trumps have already expressed that they were willing and eager to gain and accept any advantage over Clinton, no matter what the source. Everything is all on the record, as is the fact that Kushner perjured himself in obtaining his security clearance.

Republicans: This boat is sinking, either now, or in 2018, when you lose Congress, and you are all implicated. Unlike in the case of Nixon, who lost the support of his own party as details of his crimes emerged, you have been complicit in Trump’s bad behaviors for a year now, standing by his side as revelation after damaging revelation emerged. Your only hope of avoiding a politically disastrous impeachment is to pressure Trump to resign, and the sooner the better. After all, you’ll still have Pence –at least until 2020.

Democrats: Now is no time to fall silent. Your sudden shyness in following up on this revelations causes this observer, at least, to wonder if the rumors that both sides have been compromised are true. Could it be the case that you are afraid to shine too bright a light on this scandal for fear that your own crimes will be exposed as well? If not, it’s time to speak out. Otherwise it might not be just the Republican party that fails to survive past this current, catastrophic political season.

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