Letter to the Editor (October 2022)

Republican Extremism Not Recent Phenomenon

I’m often asked why so many people don’t challenge what is being said by Republicans, especially Donald Trump. I try to make sense of it, and I think it has a lot to do with what has been happening the last fifty plus years in the Republican Party.

Author David Corn’s recent book, American Psychosis, An Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy, traces Republican extremism, beginning with McCarthyism up to its current form — Trumpism. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s impact is still with us. His picture is displayed above the jury box in the Shawano County Court House. Why?

From 1950-54, McCarthy lead a witch hunt to root out alleged communists in the US government, Hollywood and elsewhere. Most of those he accused had nothing to do with the Communist Party, yet they were still blacklisted and/or lost their jobs.

The John Birch Society picked up where McCarthy left off. They even accused President Dwight D. Eisenhower, of being a Communist.

More recently, we have had the Tea Party, which falsely repeated over and over that President Obama was not born in the United States, that he was a Kenyan nationalist seeking to take over the government with socialism. Now we have Qanon with its unexplainable conspiracy theories.

Our nation is struggling to hold onto its democracy. In the past, the two major opposing political parties worked cooperatively. Today, it has become a money-fueled winner take all power struggle. Republicans make assertions that Democrats want to destroy our country. Democrats say Republicans are actually doing it: with stacked courts that render blatantly partisan decisions, and legislatures that seek to suppress the vote, even intent on controlling the voting process itself and the final outcome as well.

History has shown us that some people can and will say and do anything for power. History will also show that the elections next month can and will determine America’s future based on who we choose: whether it be a renewed effort to maintain our democracy, or acceptance of a radical right wing shift towards an authoritarian takeover by people who will not accept election results unless they win.

We need to vote wisely for our future and that of our families. That is, if we want to remain the United States of America. As Abraham Lincoln cautioned during a similar time of great peril: “a house divided cannot stand.”

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