If colluding against the Constitution, top secrets, elections, and law isn’t betrayal, then what?
Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Winston Churchill, among others, cultivated the high art of the biting yet witty, civilized verbal missile. Au contraire today as right-wing dullards practice hate speech that sweepingly impugns oppositional motivation, character and patriotism. Thus does bad faith not express love of country but exposes fake patriotism as truly “the last refuge of scoundrels.” We’re not talking nobodies but Tucker Carlson and Fox types who openly defame Dems for “despising” the country, but judge them “disqualified” from ruling. This “hate speech masquerading as journalism,” per the White House, fits Carlson and certainly Trump, forever ranting, “These are people that hate our country. They hate our country. They hate it, I think, with a passion.”
Such incivility spouts from what Lyn Cheney attributes to having elected too many party “idiots,” top to bottom, the worst crossing the line to demand Dems be “obliterated.” Say what? Exactly how to pull that off except by stealing elections? Or pulling off a coup. As if this sleazy minority can legally exile the dominant party? As if right hypocrites allergic to law and certified elections can morally fulminate against steadfast American defenders. Who wants to protect our national resources and infrastructure, let alone workers’ safety and conditions? Who thinks falling over vicious, un-elected dictators is just peachy?
No one can confirm hate or love, nor fix motivation from the outside, without direct evidence in speech and action. Does not inciting the lawless Jan. 6 coup, setting up scaffolds and screaming “Hang Mike Pence,” let alone pardoning convicts, blast rightwing patriotism? So much for the fraudulent GOP bellow, “love America or leave it,” a precursor to today’s Trump rants against foes. What fascist demagogue doesn’t impugn challengers as “hating the country” to justify a violent overthrow and seize absolute control? Most tellingly, googling fails to present one Democratic leader who put down the collective Republican Party for “hating America.” Revealing contrast, no? Is that because the non-mud-slingers honor living in a secular, modern, diverse, law-driven culture that offends unrepentant, ever-aggrieved malcontents?
Greatness, not fraudulence
Other than spirited dissent and free speech, let alone fair play, what informs American greatness? The very lie that any equal citizen—vs. anarchistic, children-murdering terrorists—hates America betrays our most revered values. Overseas menaces do explicitly “hate America,” like Putin, North Korea and zealous ayatollahs who rail against the U.S. “Satan”—in the main because their domestic power relies on denigrating the west.
Fine, most Republicans oppose the Democratic Party, rebelling against a world they can’t berate, control, or outlaw (re abortion, voting rights, suspect books, liberal teachers, gay rights, phony “wokism”). Fine, Republicans distrust government, especially Washington, object that taxation (as theft) exists, worst still is shared with “lesser citizens,” leaning hard libertarian (except when forcing its own government intrusion, like against affirmative action). Democrats do express strong repulsion toward Trumpers but not by questioning love of country—or speculating about motivation.
Cursing in the gutter
That is radically different from impugning critics as “hating America,” especially since the phrase is a curse rather than a refutation. When partisan rightwingers, too ignorant or reckless to know the difference, can’t distinguish legitimate attack from schoolyard name-calling, no more than sleazebags with mics. That’s Trump mode from Day One, who can’t rebuff or answer (or understand) the other side only “out to get him,” descending to denigration and calumny. And his base is not deceived but supportive of crude put-downs.
Of course, as corporate mass media is exiled as “enemies of the state,” then why not push rancid party collusion that Dems are unpardonable enemies of America. Curious that liberal/progressive “America haters” spend their lives getting elected, take immense heat (like censure), forgo higher salaries and work constantly, all in the name of national destruction. Makes far more sense to start the America Anarchy Party (which is what far too many insurrectionists, now out of the closet, promote).
Such gross malfeasance matches in craziness what Trump in 2016 said, that he “believed” Putin, an explicit enemy over U.S. intelligence services. Did any president dare express, especially overseas, a more bizarro rejection of veteran institutions and agencies? So much for Trump’s love of country, let alone his formal presidential pledge to defend US interests. Ditto, with Trump’s latest scattergun slamming of fellow citizens as “freaks, neocons, globalists, open-borders zealots and fools” if not “arsonists, the atheists, globalists and the Marxists.” What a joke to hear our greatest election arsonist defame a hundred million who backed the 50-state certified federal election. Do half of Republicans actually endorse such total Trumpist B.S.—so hate Biden Dems?
Typical of the rabid rightwing rampage, loudmouth Mark Levin authored a whole book, “The Democrat Party hates America.” He never explains how debunking the Constitution, elections, law, history and the peaceful transfer of power raises what “love” for America means. Levin’s imbecility broadcasts logical fallacies out the kazoo: first, wildly overgeneralized distortions, mind-boggling presumptions about proclaiming “hate,” and total blarney that anyone knows what “America” means. Thus does mock logic exude both crass arrogance and overt ignorance—packed with the jaw-dropping contradiction that, without Democrats, this zealot ardently embraces the utter tyranny of one-party rule.
The politics of infamous negation
Part and parcel of the Party of No (devoid of positive agenda), the hate-America dingers express TrumpSpeak to a tee. He and enablers refuse to retreat, just reload the slander gun and watch what hits the fan. When (or if) Trumpism is remembered a hundred years hence, count on historians identifying this lowest-brow, most insipid name-calling—and so far our greatest presidential failure.
Turning foes into enemies who hate America is inexcusable malpractice—a default that speaks to both malice and self-defeating politics. What triggered my thoughts is the scathing essay (which Alternet headlined as “Conservative judge scorches ‘spineless’ Trump-supporting Republicans”) from a rock-ribbed Republican, long-time federal judge J. Michael Luttig. Luttig indicts Trump politics as a national outrage: “No assemblage of politicians except [top, national]Republicans would ever conceive of running for the American presidency by running against the Constitution and the rule of law. But that’s exactly what they’re planning.”
Judge Luttig also provides a strong finale: “There’s no stopping Republicans now, until they have succeeded in completely politicizing the rule of law in service to their partisan political ends. If the indictment of Mr. Trump on Espionage Act charges—not to mention his now almost certain indictment for conspiring to obstruct Congress from certifying Mr. Biden as the president on Jan. 6—fails to shake the Republican Party from its moribund political senses, then it is beyond saving itself.”
Not being able to save itself does not mean Rethugs won’t bring down unspeakabledamage before the chaos connivers are purged—at least until democratic norms of civil debate offset bunker-busting smear politics. Even when Trumpism goes down, it will take years to heal the breaches and return to functional government. I trust that 2024 will continue the positive, democratic-serving reaction that became clear after the 2020 election. The disease is in retreat.