By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist
In my surgery practice, I was a perfectionist. Not a bad thing for my patients, but it meant I was highly self-critical and rarely satisfied.
On those occasions when I found myself feeling proud of how I handled a very difficult situation, the pride didn’t last long. I came to believe that if the gods of surgery discovered a surgeon feeling good, they’d send a case that erased it. Similarly, surgeons and surgical personnel know never to say, in the middle of an operation, “Gee, this is going well.”
With that in mind, I hesitate to say I’m feeling mildly encouraged about Democrats’ electoral prospects in ’24. The positivity is due, in part, to the results of recent off-year elections, where Democrats won jobs long held by Republicans. Mayor of Jackson, Florida, for one, deep in DeSantis country. Have he and his party overestimated America’s tolerance for punitive autocracy? Maybe a majority of people prefer making their own choices for what books their children read; letting parents make decisions about non-binary children; aren’t threatened by pronouns. Trust doctors more than legislators when it comes to health decisions. Aren’t bothered by Rudy Giuliani’s penchant for dressing in drag. We’ll see.
Perhaps the hypocrisy and legislative nothingness coming from the right will be dispositive. Maybe enough people are disgusted by House Republicans’ unanimous refusal to rid themselves of serial scammer George Santos while proposing expelling Adam Schiff for … doing his job. Might they be repulsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene filing articles of impeachment against President Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, D.C. District Attorney Matthew Graves, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas? In her Georgia district, such attention-hogging oxygen-wasting will undoubtedly play well. Around the country, though, will she be seen as emblematic of Republican (non)governance? Will people in less-gerrymandered precincts and in states where Democrats’ votes are ineffectively suppressed defeat similar candidates?
The future of America under Republican control isn’t speculative. It’s on display in Texas, Florida, Nebraska, Montana. … Ron DeSantis just signed a law allowing him to take custody of trans children under age 18, making criminals of parents faced with heart-rending, difficult choices in supporting their own children (Crooks & Liars: tinyurl.com/notrans4u). He’s preventing public colleges from teaching courses related to “diversity, equity and inclusion” (Washington Post: tinyurl.com/2banDEI4u). Is it because teaching kindness and history might produce students lacking MAGAntipathy?
In times lost to memory, the Republican Party stood against such invasive government intrusion into private lives. It’s possible real conservatives still exist, and look with revulsion at the prospect of American “Floridation.” Maybe they’ll consider banning Amanda Gorman’s poem read at President Biden’s inauguration because just one parent found it offensive, a step too far in whitewashing minds. Conceivably, sending school librarians to prison for allowing children to read books could be a deal breaker, too (Washington Post: tinyurl.com/jail4them).
It might be that the Foxified who believe there was no Russia/Trump connection will read of the Americans that Putin permanently banned and note how many are ones who’ve criticized, disagreed with, opposed, lampooned or written truthfully about Trump. And rethink. (Among the chosen are Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers.)
It’s not impossible, as we approach debt-ceiling Armageddon, that a determinative number of Americans will recognize that Republican hypocrisy on the matter is because S(peaker)INO Kevin McCarthy takes orders from MTG and Trump, the latter of whom would deliberately ruin millions of lives, hoping voters would blame it on President Biden. For not yielding to extortion. They might conclude Trump’s desperation to be elected is to escape prosecution for his manifold crimes.
A significant majority of Americans recognize climate change as the serious threat it is. Will they see Montana, which just banned considering impact on climate change in permitting new construction, as how R-USsians would deal with it? Possibly.
How many voters will consider Ted Cruz’s proposed Senate investigation of Bud Lite as the best use of legislative time? Or MTG’s intent to bring Hunter Biden’s alleged prostitutes before Congress? What of “Gym” Jordan’s defense of funding for his star witnesses by rightwing half-billionaire, Trump apologist Kash Patel; and his refusal to share their testimony with Democrats on his “weaponization” committee? What if roles were reversed and the funder was George Soros? Hypocrisy? How about its chairman admitting politicization of the “oversight” committee? (Bulwark: tinyurl.com/beanspiller)
Could there be a limit to tolerating Republican rejection of sensible gun laws; living in a country whose FBI makes how-to videos on surviving a mass murderer? (YouTube: tinyurl.com/2hide4u)
We haven’t even mentioned red-state abortion laws, or how they create unwanted pregnancies and children in need; or their heartless forcing of women to bear doomed babies, endangering their own lives (Propublica: tinyurl.com/4death2u). Maybe even most Christians prefer not to live in a Christian nationalist theocracy (Washington Post: tinyurl.com/2xnt4u).
Is optimism justified? Perhaps. But I haven’t yet bought a pig-proof umbrella. The gods are watching (tinyurl.com/caution4u).
Email Sid Schwab at email@example.com.
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