What Do You Really Think?

What do you really think?

Not what you’ve heard,
Those predigested generalizations
Tailored to specific constituencies,
Foot soldiers amassing in the unity of certainty.

What do you think that’s genuinely yours,
Uniquely yours,
The product of your own ingredients,
Of your own mental exercise,
Unaltered by expectations of approval
Or disapproval,
Stripped of cliché,
Of second-hand observations . . .

Summon the truest voice within and tell me,
What do you really think?

~ Poem and Photo by Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Who Is To Blame?

Russ Loar Interviews Presidential Candidate Bill Clinton ~ 1-14-92

We are witnessing the dissolution of the Republican Party, which of course has roots in what has been so commonly observed: The changing demographics of the United States. The party of Lincoln has undergone substantial change during the last few decades. Its current incarnation is certainly a pale shadow of William F. Buckley’s philosophical conservatism. His war of ideas has largely descended into a war of words; a war of accusations. And just when I thought we could fall no lower, words were supplanted by insurrection.

The primitives among us have had enough talk. Now they’re ready to overthrow American democracy itself. And let us be clear, the storming of the Capitol was a product of the Republican Party—Trump’s Republican Party. Democrats may dream of big tent inclusiveness, but there can be no compromise when it comes to physical violence employed to overturn presidential election results.

If it were not for gerrymandering, socioeconomic voting restrictions, corporate lobbyists, wealthy campaign contributors and Fox News, Republicans would not have the support they now enjoy. And a man without any public service experience, of dubious morals, with a background of questionable business practices, would never have been elected president. And this twice-impeached former president, defeated in his reelection bid, would be stripped of political influence. Only ten presidential incumbents have lost reelection. Trump is the tenth.

Yet about 43% of Americans believe he should be reelected president. And among Republicans, 87% believe Trump should return to the White House, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll published in February 2021.

There is another motive force inspiring the uninformed. It is the dumbing down of discourse into millimeter-deep sound bites. And so political allegiances become less a product of thoughtful inquiry and more a matter of fad and fashion.

It cannot be overestimated how much influence Fox News has in bailing water out of the leaking boat that is the far-right Republican Party. Fox news is the highest rated cable television news channel by significant margins over its left-wing rivals: MSNBC and CNN. Wherever ignorance and fact-impaired faith persist in our culture, Fox News is there to lend support.

I am a political independent. I have been an independent all my adult years. I support good ideas from either party. That’s how I define bipartisanship—the cooperative effort to arrive at the best ideas and then implement those ideas by way of legislation. As a former political reporter, I did not want to be seen as biased toward the right or the left.

But when our country has sunk so low as to threaten a demonstrably fair presidential election that has been upheld by numerous courts, there is clearly no room in the big tent of democracy for these insurrectionists.

It goes beyond partisan politics to ask who is to blame. We must ask. And we must answer.

~ by Russ Allison Loar ~ Photo by Shauna Norfleet © All Rights Reserved