Where is the outrage against the alarming forces that are threatening our country?
The “Big Lie” continues to be embraced by a large percentage of the population. As this deception metastasizes, other blatant lies and lawless acts attach to it. Appallingly, the Republican Party has adopted the behavior of a fascist, ultra- nationalistic and authoritarian party. The Party has embraced the “Big Lie” following, like sheep, its leader, Donald Trump. According to Ruth Ben-Ghiat, the author of Strongmen, a scholarly examination of how close the US has come to fascism, Trump follows the template of fascist leaders. The GOP openly supports a man who has blithely exploited most of the institutions of our government to increase his own power and financial gain.
The Republican Party has been hijacked. It is no longer interested in upholding democratic institutions, law and order, protecting the rights of citizens, equal justice for all—in short—in our Constitution. In denying the legitimacy of the election and the fact that the events of January 6 were an attempted coup, it forfeits any claim it had to integrity and patriotism.
What is left of our democracy is on a very dangerous precipice. How can this be happening in our country?
Recently I listened to a presentation by Philippe Sands, a British international lawyer and scholar of genocide and crimes against humanity. In his research, he studied the sons of two Nazis accused of genocide. One was the son of Hans Frank, who was captured, tried, convicted, and hung at Nuremberg. The other was the son of Otto Wachter, who was also accused of genocide. Unlike Frank, Wachter had escaped, was never found, and therefore never tried and convicted. Frank’s son hated his father for his crimes. Wachter’s son, however, respected his father and lived in denial of his father’s crimes because his father was never tried or convicted by any court.
As Sands said, “this mirrors the denial of individuals, families, groups, communities, even countries.”
If Trump had been held accountable for his egregious crimes, as well as the hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths from COVID-19, would the Republican Party be able to maintain loyalty to him? Would the GOP and Trump’s followers continue to act in ways counter to our democratic values? Would they still believe in the “Big Lie,” as well as embracing and promoting so many other lies?
Would this nightmare have happened if he, and his cohorts, had ever been held legally accountable?