Every single American should be alarmed, outraged and spurred to action to discredit, and to defeat at the polls, the Republicans who, actively or by their conspicuous silence, continue their assault on democracy. The Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) amoral February 7, 2022, resolution censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger—the only Republicans with the courage and integrity to serve on the Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol—and calling the events of January 6th “legitimate political discourse,” is merely the latest example of the Republican Party’s decline as a committed participant in American democracy, and of its drift toward authoritarianism.
It’s hard to sustain outrage, though, and that’s part of the danger. Issues close to home occupy most Americans: We’re working to put food on the table, not deciphering the words in a resolution, statute, or party rule book. We’re trying to find someone to fix our leaking basement or care for a child or elderly relative, not puzzling over how it is that the wealthiest among us escape paying income taxes.
In fact, government’s role in making our lives more manageable is often confusing or completely unknown. We might not realize that the Trump era of Republican “leadership” achieved a lot—for the select few. We might not be aware that the “achievements” could well continue if those now in charge of the RNC in fact complete the work Donald Trump started: normalizing political violence, nurturing white supremacy, cozying up to the world’s dictators, further enriching billionaires, subverting elections, and fostering distrust of science—actually, of experts in any field.
Contrast that with the boring truth: When Democrats lead, the data show that the U.S. economy—and people’s everyday lives—improve. A horrendous example is the pandemic. The suffering and destruction that it brought can reasonably be considered equal or worse than that of the 20th-century’s two world wars combined. Fortunately, the American people voted Democrats into office November 2020 and restored, for now, competent government acting with compassion and integrity.
Within eight weeks of Inauguration Day 2021, Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP). ARP delivered expanded unemployment benefits and child tax credits, an expanded payroll protection program (that also covered independent contractors), grants to states overwhelmed with unprecedented expenses, compensation to landlords faced with lengthy rent moratoriums, protections for essential workers, tax filing and payment deadline extensions, and universal availability of no-cost COVID-19 vaccines.
Not a single Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan.
True leadership is not the stuff of reality TV. It is not entertaining, dramatic, or thrilling. It doesn’t deal in lies—about American history, election results, or people’s everyday suffering. It’s not about dividing everyone and everything between winners and losers, methodically destroying trust.
Ethical, responsible democratic government is about lifting all boats. It’s honest with the facts and draws out our best selves. Its imperfect processes can be messy. But the facts show that democracy—and Democrats who truly know how to lead—deliver real results for real people in their daily lives. Woe to our nation if we yield to those would, with lies, legal maneuvering and extortion, have us unwittingly “choose” otherwise.