I’m done with giving the benefit of the doubt. I’m through with assuming people are acting in good faith. I’m finished with being tolerant.
Politically speaking, I mean.
2020 in particular (and the last 4 years in general) has put a strain on both civil political discourse and adherence to the founding principles of this country. Neither side of the isle is without blame, but the impact and influence that President Trump has had on basic political norms is almost impossible to underestimate. He, along with the people who cultishly support him, has pushed the constitutional limits of the Presidency in ways we have never seen before — including claims he has ‘absolute power’, using the office to promote his personal business, calling for investigations and/or jail for political opponents, and I could go on. And now, as delusional efforts to overturn the 2020 election are in full swing, Trump and those who support him appear to be living in a fantasy land where people like Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and (sad to say) Rudy Giuliani are in charge. In this fantasy land, elections can be overturned because of fraud even if no examples of systemic fraud can be proved in a court of law. It’s like Alice’s Wonderland, but less realistic.
What’s worse, the fantasy is gaining traction with members of Congress, — people who are (in theory) bound to follow the rules and laws in the U.S. Constitution. Just this week Trump-sycophant Louis Gohmert (R-TX) filed a lawsuit that, in essence, argues that the Constitution gives the vice president, in his role as president of the Senate, sole discretion to determine whether electors put forward by the states are valid. So much for federalism and States’ Rights — ideals that used to be viewed with reverence by conservatives.
This is the tip of iceberg, of course, and it is also dangerous. And I’m not sure I know how it will end. And while I’m not naïve enough to think that Trumpism will end once Trump leaves office, I do have hope that Trump is a ‘one-off’ political force, something that can’t easily be replicated. Sure, others will try to win using the ‘Trump Model’ (I’m looking at you Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz), but Trump is a unique force and there is no one like him. Trying to be Donald Trump is not the same thing as actually being Donald Trump.
But just to make sure we reverse the trends of the past four years, I’ve made a list of things I’m going to be less tolerant of this year. It’s a self-serving list, to be sure, but I’m sticking to it.
This year I’m going to be less tolerant toward:
- those who believe and promote wild and baseless conspiracy theories,
- those who ignore the blatant and pathological lies of the President,
- those who claim that any political decision or outcome they don’t like must be the result of fraud, the ‘deep state’, ‘haters,’ or some nefarious foreign government,
- those who support unconstitutional methods (including military actions) for deciding elections,
- those who rebut any criticism with ‘but what about…’ — Whataboutism is not an argument,
- those who think childish insults and name-calling are acceptable methods of communication for well-adjusted adults,
- those who run away from views or positions that differ from their own — seeking outlets (on social media, cable news, etc.) that merely confirm what they believe rather than challenge what they believe,
- those who make decisions about which politicians they like or don’t like based on a single tweet from the President,
- those who have political convictions that can be changed based on a single tweet from the President,
- those who simultaneously decry ‘fake news’ and believe ‘fake news,’
- those who treat ‘alternative facts’ as if they are actually facts,
- and, perhaps most importantly, those who complain that wearing a mask is a violation of their rights and who claim COVID isn’t real while hundreds of thousands of Americans die from the disease.
So that’s the list. It’s incomplete to be sure, but it’s what I could come up with over two cups of coffee this morning, the first morning of 2021.
What did I miss?