Hello! It’s 2021 and everything is fine now! Ha, ha, just kidding. The dumpster fire rages on.
Some things in 2021 are delightful, like that guy who made the music video about the broccoli casserole heist — if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it. That is a thing of beauty. But 2021 is off to a rough start otherwise.
We knew this would happen. Trump is still the president, after all, and he is determined to stay the president even if that means we don’t get to have democracy any more. The kind of shit that’s going on right now is what we expect in other places, like Venezuela and Zimbabwe, largely because we’ve bought into the lie that is American exceptionalism that goes hand in hand with America’s racism. In America, it can’t be bad if a white guy is doing it.
And boy, do we have too many white men in charge in the U.S. Trump’s phone call to Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state to pressure him to overturn the election results is stunning. Or at least it should be stunning, but these past four years have really dulled the senses. Trump telling the secretary of state to “find 11,780 votes” is VERY BAD. Sadly, Trump is like a car alarm. When you hear one you don’t go running to get help or call the police. You tune it out. We’ve learned to live with Trump’s insane shouting as background noise.
Raffensperger, by the way, is a Republican. So is Georgia’s governor. And the fact that he told Trump, “Mr. President, the data you have is wrong,” is considered hero-level stuff for the Republican Party right now. And it shouldn’t be.
For a long time the supposedly sane Republicans have said that Trump is an aberration, that he doesn’t represent the party. Oh, but he does. And the Republicans, a party that has always had a crush on totalitarianism, paved the road to Trump. This is no freak accident.
And now Ted Cruz, a man Trump wouldn’t piss on if he were on fire, is leading the charge of 11 oh so brave senators and senators-elect to step in and hold Biden’s presidency hostage unless a 10-day audit of the election. There is no proof, zero, of widespread voter fraud. The Republicans’ fit over the election is baseless. This call for an audit is political theater. And we all know that Cruz is a great actor.
But this 11-strong brigade of democracy-deniers, along with the Republicans across the country who are claiming the election was a fraud, is proof positive that Trump is no outlier. They want him to stay. They like how things are going under him. Trump IS the Republican Party, a party that has long sought to dismantle this country’s public safety net in the name of “personal responsibility” while completely disregarding the suffering of the people who fall through the net onto the cement below.
This is the party that was gung-ho to invade Iraq and lied to the country in order to get support.
This is the party that has only grown more intolerant of LGBTQ people and rights and doubled down on discriminatory laws and scapegoating, transgender people being a favorite group to discriminate against under Trump.
This is the party that has made a blood pact with the religious right to install as many right-wing judges as possible in order to further erode the civil rights of people they don’t like.
This is the party that thinks Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization while white supremacists get a wink and a nod.
This is the party who has members who are out-and-proud climate change-deniers because this is the party that thinks science is witchcraft. This distrust of science, along with the sheer incompetence of the Trump administration, has led to over 350,000 deaths during this coronavirus pandemic.
Let’s face it. The Republicans are the party of Trump. They like to call themselves a “big tent” party, but what they are is a bigoted tent party. They abhor government because they don’t care about people. They care about power. Even the Log Cabin Republicans backed Trump. The gay Republicans Endorsed Trump in 2020! Because Trump’s presidency, a disaster for the country, is the GOP’s crowning glory. And one of the things his supporters love about him is that he’s mean to people. He’s a bully. Republicans love to be the bully. Party over country. Fuck Your Feelings: Trump 2020. Cruelty is the point. Cruelty feels powerful, but it’s the mark of the weak and decrepit. And in the end, Republicans are a party of people who use their power to hurt the people they don’t like, helping only themselves.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.