Mike Lofgren, former GOP Congressional staffer turned gadfly, offers an interesting and provocative take on false equivalence on BillMoyers.com.
It has been six years since I last saw Capitol Hill and the Republican Party in the rearview mirror. Ever since, I have been relentlessly critical of the GOP because, as nearly as I could determine, it is contemptuous of anyone who is not wealthy, runs government institutions into the ground, and plays to the America people’s worst instincts.
Five years ago, having seen the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower on the road to becoming a nihilistic cult of goose-steppers and power-worshippers, I wrote that Republicans would roll back the Enlightenment if they could. My principal error was underestimating the speed and thoroughness of that transformation.
That said, I did not consider myself a Democrat or generally a person of the left. Establishment Democrats, caught between their base and the people who finance their elections, have crafted equivocating and backpedalling into a fine art. There were times when it appeared Barack Obama was hesitant to take his own side in an argument. To borrow from Yeats, they lack all conviction, while their opponents are filled with passionate intensity.
Nevertheless, one must never be tempted into false equivalence: a head cold, however uncomfortable, is not Ebola. Donald Trump is the political equivalent of Ebola. There should be no temporizing on this fact, no retreat into “both sides do it,” and no complacency that our institutions will magically prevail intact.
And what about the racism? Trump’s vicious misogyny? The open incitement of violence against protesters at his rallies? The campaign to delegitimize a free and independent press which has led to CNN tightening security for its employees?
The march through the institutions of Trump and his gang is going to change us whether we like it or not. The sane portion of the American people must certainly become more tough-minded, more practical and more strategic if Trumpism is to be defeated.
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