What Progressives Are Saying About This Dangerous Moment in American History – As The Insurrection Continues

by on June 3, 2021 · 10 comments

in Civil Rights

Many progressive pundits, politicians, civil rights advocates and observers are calling this moment America finds itself in, a very dangerous one.

For instance, Robert Reich says:

The greatest danger to American democracy right now is not coming from Russia, China, or North Korea. It is coming from the Republican Party.  … American democracy is at an inflection point.

Then there is this statement from over 100 scholars who express their deep concern regarding the assault on democracy:

A Statement of Concern Regarding the Assault on Democracy
By 100 Scholars, New America / 02 June 21

We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm. Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.

Columnist Joan Walsh at The Nation thinks we are should be worried about things like the recent statements by Michael Flynn advocating a military coup:

This weekend he might have taken his most dangerous turn yet, advocating a military coup similar to the one in Myanmar. “It should happen here,” he told an audience of the faithful at the “For God and Country” rally in Dallas. He later denied he said it, but there’s video.

Today comes news from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, so far only on Twitter, that “Trump has been telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated by August.” It’s not clear how he believes that “reinstatement” would work, but she says he’s “laser-focused” on the baseless GOP “audits” of votes in large Democratic counties in Arizona and Georgia.

Conservative Byron York likewise reported that Trump believes the theory floated by crackpot lawyer Sidney Powell at the same event where Flynn endorsed a coup: “It should be that he can simply be reinstated, that a new inauguration day is set,” she said to cheers. “And Biden is told to move out of the White House. And President Trump should be moved back in.” That can’t and won’t happen, of course—but should we be worrying about all of this anyway?

A Republican Congressman from Michigan, Rep. Pete Meijer – a U.S. Army veteran- called pro-Trump conservative Republicans “treacherous snakes,” and criticized them for “salivating for civil war.” Meijer added:

“Claiming they need to destroy the Republic in order to save it in the ultimate betrayal of oaths sworn. Those treacherous snakes can go straight to hell.”

Meanwhile, after major corporations were given props not long after the January 6 Capital insurrection for their expressions of support for voting rights and promises to suspend political action committee donations to Republican lawmakers who tried to overturn the election, there is other troubling facts:

Left largely unmentioned: brand-name corporations and corporate lobbying groups still funneled $15 million last year to two major GOP groups — the Republican Attorneys General Association and the Republican State Leadership Committee — after the organizations and their officials pushed to curtail voting rights and overturn the 2020 election, according to IRS records we reviewed.

Meanwhile, many major companies continue to support the US Chamber of Commerce — even as the powerful lobby group has been leading the fight against federal legislation protecting voting rights.

After Senate Republicans used the filibuster late last week to torpedo a bill that sought to establish an independent commission to probe the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, there are intensifying calls from progressives to get rid of the archaic legislative tool. Following the vote, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted the following:

“If Senate Republicans can block an independent commission investigating a deadly armed attack on the Capitol because it might hurt their poll numbers with insurrectionists, then something is badly wrong with the Senate. We must get rid of the filibuster to protect our democracy.”

Buzzflash asks: “Isn’t It Already a De Facto Insurrection When Senators Representing a White Minority Prevail?”

Then there’s this from The Nation: The Party of White Grievance Has Never Cared About Democracy – From the Democrats of the Civil War era to the Republicans of the Trump years, the white party has always posed the greatest threat to our political system.

A coalition of nearly 60 progressive advocacy organizations led by Indivisible echoed that message in a joint statement released Friday, noting that “this is no longer a debate about hypotheticals.”

“Senate Republicans have filibustered a bipartisan bill to form a bipartisan commission investigating an attack on their workplace and the seat of our democracy,” the groups said. “Despite Senate Democrats ‘imploring’ Republicans to work with them to get this done, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell and his caucus swatted away every attempt at good faith bipartisan work and committed themselves to partisan obstruction.”

“Now the path forward is clear: The filibuster must be eliminated as a weapon that a minority of senators can wield to veto popular democracy-protecting bills,” the coalition added.

Here is more of what Robert Reich wrote very recently:

Only 25 percent of voters self-identify as Republican, the GOP’s worst showing against Democrats since 2012 and sharply down since last November. But those who remain in the Party are far angrier, more ideological, more truth-denying, and more racist than Republicans who preceded them. And so are the lawmakers who represent them.

Today’s Republican Party increasingly is defined not by its shared beliefs but by its shared delusions.

Last Friday, 54 U.S. senators voted in favor of proceeding to debate a House-passed bill to establish a commission to investigate the causes and events of the January 6th insurrection. This was 6 votes short of the number of votes needed for “cloture,” or stopping debate – meaning any further consideration of the bill would have been filibustered by Republicans indefinitely.

So there will be no investigation.

The 54 Senators who voted yes to cloture – in favor of the commission – represent 189 million Americans, or 58% of the American population. The 35 who voted no represent 104 million Americans, or 32% of the population.

In other words, 32% of American voters got to decide that the nation would not know about what happened to American democracy on January 6.

Furthermore, the 35 who voted against the commission were all Republicans. They did not want such an inquiry because it might jeopardize their chances of gaining a majority of the House or Senate in the 2022 midterm elections. They also wanted to stay in the good graces of Donald Trump, whose participation in that insurrection might have been more fully revealed.

Eight of these Republicans voted against certifying Joe Biden as president on January 6. Some of their constituents were responsible for the insurrection in the first place.

The Republican Party is also pursuing new laws in many states making it harder for likely Democrats to vote and opposing voting reforms in Congress.

It is actively purging any Republican who has temerity to criticize Trump. They have removed from her leadership position Liz Cheney, who called Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and his role in inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot the greatest “betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

Local Republicans leaders have either stepped down or been forced out of their party positions for not supporting Trump’s baseless election claims or for criticizing the former president’s role in inciting the deadly Capitol riot.

American democracy is at an inflection point.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar triggerfinger June 3, 2021 at 1:11 pm

I agree the rise of cult-politics is very alarming. I’m a right-leaning independent and watching the events at the capitol was very traumatizing to me. Conservative taking heads mocked liberal media for equating it with the 9-11 attacks. In many ways I think it was worse than 9-11. That at least involved a long-time foreign enemy making it a bit easier to stomach and understand and come together against…. vs an assault on our democratic values by a significant number of our own misled citizens.

I don’t think the lack of this commission is a major issue so much as the Republican party’s continued loyalty to Trump. I think it’s clear to most how it played out. This is all a game to Trump, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything beyond the tip of his nose, not even his own voters. We need more republicans to stand up and lead and relegate Trump to the history books, and demonstrate a better path to advocate for conservative principals.

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Avatar triggerfinger June 3, 2021 at 1:15 pm

As for voting laws, many changes were also rushed by democrats as well in response to the pandemic, while also using the pandemic as an excuse to alter the laws going forward.

So it’s a bit unfair to claim only one side has been disingenuous in their efforts.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 5, 2021 at 1:11 pm

Comparing Republican voting law changes with the pandemic along with the current dozens of mad anti-voting bills in the states (illegal to give water to thirsty people in line…make people go to polling places that aren’t there because Republicans pulled them? WTF?) to what the democrats pushed (mail-in ballots, more ballot collection points, everybody gets to vote) is, bluntly, ridiculous. You are comparing apples to bags of cement…

You might want to read these. I apologize in advance for any possible cognitive dissonance they might impart:

They’re Not Conservatives, They’re Extremists

Foreign Policy In Focus

The House Freedom Caucus is routinely described as conservative, by its members, by the mainstream media, by Wikipedia. The caucus, which draws together 45 Republican Party members of the House of Representatives, is the furthest to the right of any major political formation in the United States. The most extreme and flamboyant politicians in America, like scandal-plagued Matt Gaetz of Florida and gun-toting Lauren Boebert of Colorado, are proud to call the Caucus their political home. Even Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, after threatening to form an explicitly racist America First caucus, chose ultimately to continue promoting her nativist, QAnon-inspired beliefs from within the Freedom Caucus.
continued at link…
____

At a Time When America Faces Cascading Crises, Republicans Just Say No

The scope of what they won’t do is breathtaking.

Chicago Sun-Times

Just say no. That seems to sum up the position of Republicans in the Congress these days. For all the talk about bipartisan compromise or about the two parties working together, at the end of the day, the Republican position is simply to say no.
The scope of what they won’t do is breathtaking.

They say no to expanding support for day care, vital in an economy where both parents must work. They say no to investing in renewable energy and electric cars. They say no to renovating America’s decrepit and outmoded infrastructure, including clean and safe drinking water. They say no to democracy reforms and ending secret money in politics. They just say no.

It doesn’t matter if the reform is essential to human life and to equal justice under the law.

continued at link

sealintheSelkirks

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 6, 2021 at 1:12 pm

I was a little off. Dozens? HUNDREDS of anti-voting laws introduced. I’d only read about dozens but…wow.

GOP voting restriction push grows: 361 bills in 47 states; at least 70 in Texas and Arizona
More than 100 bills that would restrict ballot access have been introduced — within just the past month

https://www.salon.com/2021/04/02/gop-voting-restriction-push-grows-361-bills-in-47-states-at-least-70-in-texas-and-arizona/

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar triggerfinger June 6, 2021 at 10:08 pm

Well then I can’t wait to hear your take on Joe Manchin

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie June 7, 2021 at 9:06 am

Lincoln Project co-founder and GOP strategist turned Democrat Steve Schmidt, ahead of Donald Trump’s speech this weekend to the North Carolina Republican Party issued a dire warning: America is just one election away from permanent autocratic rule from the former president and his allies.

In a 512 word Twitter thread Schmidt warns that Republicans have grown even stronger since the January 6 insurrection, and those who think Trump being out of the spotlight and off social media has weakened him are “fools.” He also urges the media to stop focusing on the demise of Trump’s blog. https://www.alternet.org/2021/06/steve-schmidt/?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=7262

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 7, 2021 at 12:04 pm

May we live in ‘interesting times’ indeed. The Chinese curse kind, Frank.

And you did receive my book, yes? Should have gotten it by now. I promised to send you one and I hope you have time to read it. Enjoy the southside OB Pier surf pictures from the early ’80s as I swear the surf was better then…

This essay link is from:

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy.

His last three books are about Trump and Fascism which are listed at the bottom of this article. No, I haven’t read any of them but I have been reading this guy’s essays a long time. He’s been dead on which isn’t really a pun… Here’s a cut:

America’s Nazi Problem and the End of Policing

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/06/04/americas-nazi-problem-and-the-end-of-policing/

“The conditions that produce authoritarian societies are with us once again. The ghost of fascism haunts the present, appearing in a relentless number of assaults on the principles and institutions central to a democracy. America’s Nazi problem is evident not only in the 73 million people who voted for a white supremacist presidential candidate in 2020 but also in the attack on the Capitol by Trump’s followers whose “minds [were] waterlogged with conspiracy theories [took] lies as truth, spread hate and bigotry, [and wrapped] themselves in several flags – American, Confederate, Blue Lives Matter – and [who] use the Bible as a weapon of violence and repression.”[1]

This is not to suggest that the United States, especially under the Trump regime, replicated precisely Hitler’s Nazi Germany…”

Pretty telling essay, Frank. Goes right along what you just posted from Alternet.
_____

Triggerfinger: somehow I doubt very much you are truly “waiting” for any more of my opinions… It doesn’t matter what label one drapes over oneself, it’s what they are doing, saying, and promoting that tells who they really are. Remember that Nazi Germany called itself Socialist and in reality it was anything but.

I will say this about your thought; if Reagan was running for president today he’d have to campaign as a Democrat because he wouldn’t fit into the current incarnation being such a, you know, moderate thinker of a guy…

sealintheSelkirks

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie June 7, 2021 at 1:14 pm

Where did you send it?

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks June 7, 2021 at 9:24 pm

Went to PO box 7012 zip 92167 on 5/27 by USPS Media Mail which, like my dial-up internet connection, is slow but cheap!

I just put in the tracking number, said it was delivered to the po box on June 1st. Who picked it up???

sealintheSelkirks

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie June 8, 2021 at 8:00 am

That’s cool. I visit the PO Box once a week or so. So, no worries. Thanks.

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