SUBMITTED OPINION: According to a Washington Post interactive published on October 6 and updated on October 12, all nine of Tennessee’s members of the U.S. House of Representatives are election deniers. All nine. And all, of course, are Republicans and up for reelection in the 2022 midterm. To put it differently, the entirety of this state’s Congressional delegation is, to varying degrees, riding a lie to cling to power.
In another time, a candidate or office holder from an opposing party might be considered someone with whom a voter could simply have ideological differences, but there would be no immediate reason to suspect that this candidate or incumbent lacked integrity. But to use an idea that hasn’t had a shred of credible evidence offered up for support and which has been turned away in court 60+ times as a means of gaining political momentum decisively knocks the legs out from under that concept.
Part of the bill of goods that both parties seem to subscribe to now is that the health and survival of the United States will come only through the electoral annihilation of the other party. This is never true. In a democratic republic, negotiation and compromise are what bring the most benefit to the most people, and the exclusivity of any single party is a surefire recipe for the failure of the state. History has taught us that lesson dozens of times. History has also taught us that as humans, we are unfailingly susceptible to propaganda. We believe what we want to believe, what has been presented to us most palatably and what resonates, for better or worse, with the twists and turns our lives have taken and the propaganda we’ve accepted as truth along the way. And nobody wants to believe, let alone admit, that they were wrong about a political choice or an ideology. That’s tantamount to admitting we were wrong about a friend or family member or minister or spouse in whom trust has been wrongly placed. It’s a blow to the ego that’s very difficult for anyone to bear.
It seems clear that the sitting members of Tennessee’s Republican cadre have little interest in serving or working to benefit their respective constituencies, the state or the nation. It seems that they are, to a person, utterly enthralled by a paladin of political and moral transgression, which is as shameful as it is dangerous. Their interests appear to lie solely and exclusively in gaining and retaining power for an oligarchy by any means and at any cost. And that will bring us all down, to a person.
The Democratic Party will probably not see significant wins this election season, at least not in Tennessee. We all know that. But the fact that a strong showing by the Democrats has not been guaranteed through the abject abandonment of integrity and decency by the Republicans currently in control of the party’s direction is on the one hand stunning and demoralizing, but on the other, a cruelly delivered anesthetic to the sepsis that our political environment has become. We, all of us, have become comfortably numb to outrage.
Maybe it’s time for all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, to get off the don’t-tread-on-me nonsense and admit that we’ve all been trod upon, to put it genteelly. Maybe it’s time to admit that the trust we’ve placed in our old friend, our democratic republic, was in error. Peace comes only through consensus, and maybe the sooner we can all agree that truth doesn’t matter, that prosperity is just around the corner from subjugation and that the government by the people, for the people has perished from the earth, or at least from between the boundaries of the Rio Grande and the 49th parallel, the better off we’ll all be.
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