Fahrenheit 45

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Edward Luce, reporter for the Financial Times, tweeted this: “I’ve covered extremism and violent ideologies around the world over my career. Have never come across a political force more nihilistic, dangerous and contemptible than today’s Republicans…” To which General Michael Hayden responded: “I agree. And I was the CIA director.” Which he was, serving presidents GWB and BHO, left and right.

Not even Republicans, especially Trump’s diehards, can dispute it. In fact, the more nihilistic and dangerous their leaders and candidates are, the more inflammatory and dishonest rhetoric they dispense, the more enthusiastically Trumpublicans, still in control of that party, endorse them. They WANT nihilistic and destructive candidates, fawn over them, no matter what their fellow citizens, including themselves, stand to lose. Exactly what Luce and Hayden were talking about.

Over the top, you say? Blinded by unwarranted, commie, “woke,” CRT-pushing, Soros-funded, baby-eating, infanticide-promoting, climate-hoaxing, (education-promoting, library-liking, science-understanding, diversity-not-fearing, empathy-endorsing, sexuality-comprehending) baseless Trump hatred? Hardly. Just look around.

Starting, again, with the obvious: Trump illegally removed highly-classified documents from the White House and took them to America’s leading toxic waste repository known as Florida. Recent reporting states he personally inspected all of them last year: he knew what was in them; knew some were higher than top-secret. And not planted. He refused to return them when requested. Why? What did he plan for them? And why would any law-loving American defend it? The facts are undisputed. His “only-the-best-people” lawyers are making it clearer every day. 

Central to the American system of justice are checks and balances. The FBI can’t “raid” homes without a warrant; including former “presidents.” Their lawful retrieval of documents, which Trump had no right to keep, followed months of investigation, ignored requests, and lies; coming only after authorization by a Biden-appointed US Attorney General, Trump-appointed CIA director, and a Trump-era federal magistrate, all of whom found probable cause. Their suspicions have been confirmed. Never one to pass up a good grift, Trump is, reportedly, sucking $1M per day from those suckered into contrived outrage.

From the right, there’s been virtually no support of constitutional rule of law. “If the home of a ‘president’ (who illegally removed highly sensitive documents and left them virtually unprotected) can be raided, so can anyone’s (who similarly broke the law and put national security at risk)” scream the screamers. This is anti-democracy nihilism at its close-to worst.

Closer is the lineup of unqualified, cynically-chosen, anyone-who-can-win-the-MAGA-vote candidates, top to bottom. Hershel “too many trees” Walker. Snake-oil pusher, TV creation, Mehmet Oz, who had to know he was peddling fake cures and did it anyway. To the tune of millions of dollars and countless deceived people. A skinny Trump. Also, JD Vance: former never-Trumper who five-fingered the wind.

Unmoscowed, Mitch McConnell is worried that, because of such terrible candidates (“candidate quality” is how he bemoaned it), he won’t regain senatorial majority leadership. And we’d miss his signature hypocrisy: doing what he accuses Democrats of doing, while decrying Democrats if they do what he’s been doing. 

Bad as that is, it’s in the states where theocratic intolerance is spreading like Carlsonian conspiracies. Governors, state legislators, secretaries of state, city councils, school boards, are being packed with election-denying, book-banning, Foxotrumpified Christian nationalists claiming to protect us from their latest, focus-group-tested MAGA manipulator: “Woke.”

But what’s more agenda-forward than banning history books, novels, any pages and words that might cause white Superchristian children or their parents to feel discomfort? Of the kind that stems from being asked to recognize equality under the law, of people other than those they see in the mirror.

In Florida, Texas, and elsewhere, they’re busily ensuring that people who respect religion enough to believe in keeping it separate from government have no voice. “Woke,” if it has any meaning at all, is, in fact, shorthand for Jesus’ most fundamental teachings: empathy, generosity, open-mindedness. Pushers of the opposite, like DeSantis and his holier-than-everyone-else followers, think it’s their ticket to Heaven. This is ironic. 

Running a close second to the preceding descriptor of Florida, Texas has passed a law limiting ballot drop-off locations to one per county. Henceforth, Loving County, with fifty-seven residents, will have the same number as Harris County, which includes Houston and has 4.7 million people. It’s not mysterious where most Democratic voters live.

In red states, the march to America’s unique, anti-Christian “Christian nationalism,” with its censorship, white supremacy, and enforced ignorance, appears unstoppable. And, since the Constitution unwisely embedded minority rule federally, nationwide takeover is well on its way. 

Lacking easy solutions to self-created problems, humankind is turning to scapegoating and authoritarianism, demanding only thought-free obedience and certitude in one’s unique, unassailable rightness. Which explains it all.

Dr. Schwab was born in Portland Oregon, attended college at Amherst College, med school at Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland, surgical training at UCSF. Drafted into the military, spent a year in Vietnam as a flight surgeon. Began practice in Salem, OR, spending a mere five years there before moving north. Married, as of this writing, for 51 years. Which proves something, but I don’t know what.

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Eric Dessner
August 28, 2022 3:56 pm

It’s interesting to note that there are 17 physicians in the current 117th session of Congress. Only 2 of the 17 are democrats. So when Edward Luce from he Financial Times states he’s never seen a “political force more nihilistic, dangerous and contemptible than today’s Republicans”, he’s including 15 physicians in that condemnation. None of the 15 voted for Trump’s 2nd impeachment. The hypocrisy is especially rich in this cohort that pledged to do no… Read more »

Sid Schwab
August 28, 2022 4:23 pm
Reply to  Eric Dessner

It’s always been a mystery to me that the R docs in Congress actually made it thru med school, where being able to separate fact from fiction is an essential part of the process. Rand Paul, of course, evidently couldn’t pass the ophthalmology boards so he created his own. The others, tho, that pushed covid falsehoods and climate change denial…. I simply can’t figure it out. Were they terrible docs? Is that why they ran… Read more »

Eric Dessner
August 30, 2022 5:38 am
Reply to  Sid Schwab

The bigger mystery to me is the fact that these republican physicians won’t stand up to the NRA and the gun lobbyist. You would think that the nurturing instinct would obligate these congressmen to stand up and speak out against the idiocy of current gun laws.

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