colorized_lincoln_photo_cropOn January 21, 2020, the Republican Party begins the process of impeaching itself. Sure, the guy in the White House is the official subject of the impeachment trial, but it is the Republican Party itself that is under indictment.

Not surprisingly, Mitch McConnell, the most corrupt, most Anti-American Senate Majority Leader in history, is doing his best to cover up what has been shown as blatant abuse of power, obstruction of justice, treason, and self-dealing corruption. McConnell is actively working to destroy any semblance of a trial, never mind a fair one. He’s blocked witnesses, blocked time to present the case, and blocked media access so that Fox News and other Goebbels-style propaganda outlets can lie to Republican constitutes.

This isn’t a revelation given McConnell’s long history of self-dealing. He has violated his oath of office so many times in the last 10 years that it comes as no surprise that he openly and gleefully violates the oath he just took to be “an impartial juror” in the impeachment. The oath and responsibility that the Constitution dictates he follow. His mockery of the Constitution and honest play is infamous and well documented. The shear audacity of McConnell’s dishonesty and subterfuge would have resulted in him being thrown out of office by his own party in days when the Republican Party at least made the attempt to be honest. Sadly, the Republican Party has become the Know-Nothing party, built on racism and relying on blatant lying on every issue and action. Every. Single. One. Documented.

So while the traitorous acts of the White House are under indictment, so too is the Republican Party. And it is demonstrating its guilt every day.

But there is still a chance. Right? People who identify as Republicans could stand up to the abyssal corruption of the party’s leaders. Right? That’s what my Republican friends tell me.

I haven’t seen it. I see otherwise honest people instead look the other way. They rationalize that their ideological benefits somehow outweigh the destruction of the Constitution and the institutions formerly known as the three co-equal branches of government. Actions they saw as traitorous in Obama (even if they made up most of them) they now see as “a unique style” in their own leaders. Worse, they have immersed themselves in such a fantasyland of the surreal for so many years that they actually have begun to believe their falsehoods are somehow true. They aren’t.

Ah, but you can see that Republicans do know that they are protecting corruption. Their social media feeds go radio-silent whenever the evidence shows “their guy” (in reality, their entire Party structure) is guilty as charged, and more. They don’t try to defend what they know is indefensible, the kind of things they would have been screaming pitchforks in the street if Obama had done it. Instead they hide and deflect. Suddenly their feeds are all about “what movie character are you?” or some other completely unrelated topic. They know they are hiding from the truth, and it reflects who they are more than any other one thing.

My Republican friends tell me they are conservative. But they aren’t. Their every action proves that they aren’t really conservative at all. If they were, they would speak up against the profligate corruption of their own party. They would speak up against Mitch McConnell blocking the workings of Congress. They would speak up when McConnell blocks bipartisan legislation designed to protect the attack on our nation’s electoral system by foreign parties. But they don’t. Republicans should be speaking up against their own leaders’ destruction of American institutions…their own leaders’ attacks on American workers, on American business, on American principles. But they don’t.

My Republican friends tell me they are conservative. But their actions prove that isn’t true. When several foreign powers bribed their leaders, they made excuses for it. When other foreign powers bribed us to the brink of war, they made excuses for it. When their leaders started a trade war solely because of ego, and then “fixed” it by bribing farmers and then getting absolutely nothing in return after giving up, they made excuses for it. When their leaders’ threw out conservative principles for political expediency, they made excuses for it. You can’t call yourself a conservative when the only “conservative” values you fight for are redistribution of wealth to the smallest number of people, racism, bigotry, misogyny, and corruption, all at the expense of 95%+ of the American people. All of this is documented. Look at what McConnell and Company have done with their time, including when they owned both Houses and the White House. Everything they did benefited the very few while destroying protections and the future for the rest of America.

Making excuses for corruption, incompetence, treason, and an average of 22 blatant lies per day every day of this administration isn’t being conservative (and that is only one person; it doesn’t even count the lies of McConnell and the mafia pack that has blasphemed the word conservative on the Republican side of the House). Defending blatant dishonesty isn’t being conservative. It’s being Anti-American. And I know all my Republican friends would admit it if you looked at it with an honest eye, an open mind, and strong faith.

My Republican friends tell me they aren’t like that. They aren’t dishonest. They aren’t Anti-American. All I ask is that you prove it. Act like it. Don’t be the party that cozies up to Nazis. Don’t be the party that makes a comfortable home for white supremacists and the KKK. Don’t be the party that lies in every breath about everything – big and small. And they do. Documented. Don’t be the party of dishonesty. It’s time to do some soul searching and be honest with yourselves and your families.*

Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican President, back when Republicans were the progressive party and Democrats were the party where racists felt comfortable (i.e., the opposite of today), noted that “the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present.” He also said, “Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history.” He was right on both counts.

We cannot escape history. Republicans cannot escape history. The choices you make now will define you forever. Your children, your grandchildren, your family, your friends–everyone–will remember the choice you made today. The Republican Party is impeaching itself today. You don’t have to. Stand up for the nation you tell me you cherish.

*And yes, I’ve done that soul searching. And no, I am not a Democrat. I consider myself an honest American who has faith in the Constitution and the strength of this nation’s institutions, a faith that has been sorely tested this last decade. As a scientist and historian I’ve spent my lifetime evaluating information, parsing bits of data for its veracity and contextual meaning. I don’t claim to be anything but human, with human faults and human perceptions. But this isn’t hard. The data are unequivocal. We see it every day. We just have to listen to it instead of dismissing it because it doesn’t jive with our ideology or expediency. I’ve made my choice to speak up because I don’t want to be like the person who said “I didn’t know” as Hitler was openly and actively gassing millions of people. Being American means taking responsibility for how our country works. Which means doing what is right. It’s time to “stand with anybody who stands RIGHT. Stand with him while he is right, and PART with him when he goes wrong.

David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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