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  • Writer's pictureFrank Romans

New Years Revolution

includes an excerpt from The Hokey Pokey of Politics book by Frank Romans

"We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the powers of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been." - Senator John McCain.

The alt-right, QAnon, paramilitary, and Donald Trump-supporting mob that stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, certainly believed they were emulating the founding fathers in overthrowing an illegitimate government that no longer represented them. They referred to it as the second American Revolution. A romanticized appeal and recollection of the past loom large in their collective memories, but it is fair to note these recollections are selective. They have conveniently forgotten or callously ignore the fact that their constitutional rights have come at the costs and rights of others.

These extremists, and the conservative politicians who enable them, take comfort from the Constitution, especially their interpretation of free speech and right to bear arms parts. Those are actually from the Bill of Rights, a series of ten amendments tacked on to garner the support of the Constitution's opponents.

So what is it they are so mad about? They feel their grip on democracy is waning. Their distorted view of democracy is one of white power and it is slipping away. They would rather see the country's demise rather than any loss of control. Here's the scary part...the January 6th riot marks a disturbing new trend in American politics. The far-right has demonstrated the willingness and ability to arm themselves, to mobilize, and to use violence if necessary to overthrow liberal democratic institutions. This is continuously stoked by the former president and his conservative allies. These groups are primarily white nationalists and have no problem using violence. Their anger is fueled by the erosion of their privilege. Some are simply taking advantage of the unrest to profit from it.

They claim they want to "Make America Great Again." Does anyone have their answer of exactly when that was? The Reagan presidency of the 1980's? Sometime prior to the civil rights movement? Or would they return us to a time when slaveholders overthrew a government to protect their rights, including the right to hold people as property?

Could we possibly find ourselves on the brink of another civil war? I don't think so. Our political differences are all over the country, and there is no North/South division as before. However, we could very well see increases in domestic terror activity. There are far too many private militias operating and that is troubling. We operate from a winner take all perspective with both sides believing the other side doesn't play fair. When winning is the goal, governing doesn't happen.

In spite of our differences, even with all the vitriol on social media or the rage spewing from talk radio and TV, I believe we are a kind and generous people, with a culture of good ingrained in us. It is in our nature.

I choose to believe our great nation will weather this political storm and emerge as that "beacon of light" Ronald Reagan spoke of years ago. I also believe we can provide social safety nets, such as Build Back Better, without endangering our democracy or economy. We have the ability to make this great American experiment soar ever higher. Our country and our politics have changed and evolved many times, just as our personal views have. We will do it again because we must. The single most important item to address today is voting rights legislation. Without halting the gerrymandering and voting intimidation, we are destined to have a tyranny of a minority system in which a particularly extreme and motivated fraction of the populace can wield outsized power in the face of a majority, which is either too indifferent or too scared to oppose it.

Our choices have consequences.

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