Mitch McConnell, when asked by a reporter what Republicans planned to do with power if the party took control of Congress, replied: “I’ll let you know when we take it back.”
“Mitch McConnell has told colleagues and donors Senate Republicans won’t release a legislative agenda before next year’s midterms, according to people who’ve attended private meetings with the minority leader” (Jonathan Swan, “McConnell: No Legislative Agenda for 2022 Midterms”, Axios.com).
President Biden responded to McConnell’s statement in his recent press conference by saying, “I did not anticipate that there’d be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done. Think about this: What are Republicans for? What are they for? Name me one thing they’re for.”
Progressive MSNBC says that McConnell is hiding the Republican agenda. It’s more likely the Republicans don’t have any plans because they have become “The Party of No.” What would they advertise as their platform: weaker gun laws, more tax breaks for the wealthy, a diminished Social Security, a successful roll-back of Obamacare, the stripping of more environmental protections? More fascist autocracy and the end of democracy? McConnell was smart to act like the Republican agenda would be revealed as a surprise after the elections.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Black voters and progressives are depressed. Biden was elected to bring about sweeping changes with new social programs for parents with children, protection of voting rights with the end of gerrymandering and voter suppression. Senate Republicans voted down Biden’s Build Back Better plan as a bloc, along with Democrats Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.
According to a Jan. 27 Washington Post editorial by Jonathan Capehart, “Young Black people are frustrated”, they’re also angry that Biden has not been able to deliver on his promises. Never mind that there is a 50/50 tie in the Senate, and only a 10-vote majority in the House.
The response of many minority Democrats is to decide to sit out the election in November 2022.
“A lot of the people that I speak to are completely prepared to just watch the county burn. Y’all can’t get it together. That’s not our [Blacks] fault,” a young woman told Capehart.
They don’t understand that success comes from persistence, not resignation. Changing attitudes is hard and difficult work. The Civil Rights Movement that led to the Civil Rights and the Voting Rights Acts took decades.
About every fifty years American politics spirals down into chaos. The 1920s saw the rise of unrealistic stock speculation, heightened crime due to Prohibition, a degradation of moral standards, and the resurrection of racism with thousands of KKK members parading down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. That era continued with the 1929 stock market crash and the subsequent Great Depression, which resulted World War II.
It occurred again during the 1960s and 1970s with the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti-Vietnam War protests. Fifty years later, it’s occurring again with the rights’ refusal to accept the 2020 election results and the Jan. 6 attempted election coup. Republicans are now attempting to convince the gullible that Jan. 6 was a minor disturbance. The COVID pandemic has only heightened divisions between conservatives and progressives and increased fear.
These fifty-year cycles occur because our culture changes rapidly. With rapid change comes uncertainty and insecurity. Insecurity leads to powerful resistance to those changes. We humans crave certainly. Buffoons and conmen, who think they are the “smartest people in the room” with all the answers, speak up, seeking power and spouting conspiracy theories based on warped and deceitful interpretations of events. Their messages appeal to the fearful and ignorant. In reality, according to the Dunning-Kruger Effect, the smarter a person is the more likely he/she realizes they don’t know all the answers. Intelligence breeds humility rather than arrogance.
We are living in just such an age right now. Just listen to what the Republican leadership is saying, or not saying, and how Democratic leadership is struggling against them. My hope and expectations are that this storm of chaos will eventually pass, bringing us a period of calm before the next storm of change. Enduring these political, social, and economic storms is really what will make America great again. It always has in the past.