There is a commonly used metaphor in statistics called “The Walkard’s Walk”. If a drunk man walks down a sidewalk and stumbles from side to side, that drunk will soon find himself either in the gutter or in someone else’s front yard. However, if there is a wall on one side of the sidewalk, the drunk will always end up in the gutter. This is true even if the drunk’s natural tendency is to stumble against the wall.
In nature, this simple proverb explains any number of seemingly puzzling riddles about the world around us. For example, life started out very small, and bacteria emerged pretty quickly once the planet cooled down. However, it doesn’t seem possible for free-living organisms to shrink, so 4 billion years later … blue whales. There was a wall on one side and no wall on the other. The drunk inevitably stumbles towards the big, no matter how much pressure there may be on the small.
In adopting Reagan’s 11th Commandment, the Republican Party made sure there was always a wall on its left, but not a single barrier on the right. The problem worsened because the party also agreed to the idea that there isn’t too far to the right. If they had designed a map from the 15th century for the budding traveler, the entire right margin would be embellished with “There are absolutely no monsters here”. Therefore, as long as the Republicans have kept Reagan’s command, they have also tried to turn historical fascism into something that is “on the left”. They have used every possible excuse to reposition figures like Hitler and Mussolini as “socialist” where they can safely be objects of contempt.
While the progressives are aware of the horrors associated with totalitarian communist regimes, the Republicans believe that on the right it is clear to sail to the horizon and beyond. Indeed, it has become Republican orthodoxy that more right is always better.
The result is that the Republicans sailed their ship of state straight into fascism and didn’t even slow down. Not only did they greet all sorts of racists, misogynists, and conspiracy theorists on board, but they also drew up nets full of genuine authoritarian beasts that had never met a democracy they did not want to destroy. They have sailed far enough that now they are no longer trying to reposition Nazis, but are surrounded by people who revere Nazis.
And while they got these new “Republicans” on board, the Party Institute, which has been pretending there was no right to be for so long, forgot to notice – these people don’t believe the 11th Commandment. Instead, they believe in the reverse golden rule that Donald Trump so clearly put.
“Get on with people. If they’re kidding, screw them back ten times as hard. I really do believe “- Donald Trump
A gazelle party that has refused to monitor its ranks for six decades has admitted tigers. Now they are being eaten. Which was always inevitable.
The vision of Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who opposes the counting of Pennsylvania votes approved by that state’s Republican legislature, is the future of the Republican Party. So Rep. Matt Gaetz travels 2,000 miles to Man-Splain and Out-of-State-Splain as Liz Cheney doesn’t understand her own condition. Rep.Lauren Boebert is keeping insurgents informed of where to pick up Congress hostages. MP Marjorie Taylor Greene has pooled the anti-Semitic force of the past nine centuries on a plan to roast California with a Jewish space laser … that’s who they are.
If you are building a wall on the sidewalk side that includes democracy and leaving the side open that includes fascism, fascism is for you. The only real miracle is that it took them so long to stumble completely into the dirt.
Frustrating as in the same decades, the struggles among Democrats have had a different outcome – a party that is not fully united behind a single leader, but behind a set of ideals. It is a party in which the meanings of equality, equal opportunities and justice have been questioned again and again, fought over and redefined again and again. It was messy. It was annoying. It cost the party elections, disgusted the candidates, and made potential supporters turn away.
What remains is a contentious, messy, troubled alliance of people working toward similar, if not identical, goals. Which is a pretty good definition of a healthy political party.
That doesn’t mean that every outstanding democratic politician who puts his personal vision above the good of the nation should be celebrated (you see, Joe Manchin). This does not mean that the mess of internal democratic politics will not continue to be both destructive and constructive. But while we argue about how best to save the planet, create opportunities, ensure equal justice, and secure the future of the nation, we are all in the same good fight.
The party that raises all its fists clenched in support of a single leader and point of view is always the unhealthy party. The gazelles had one last chance after January 6th to simply run away. You didn’t do it. Now the tigers are eating. It is far from clear whether there will be anything left over and above just a fat tiger. What is clear is this: shit being her.