Rule of law vs. law of the jungle
RECENT DEVELOPMENT seems to suggest that the U.S. is veering towards a rightward trajectory. The problem with this is that the law of the jungle is supplanting the rule of law. Yes, proponents of the law of the jungle are bamboozling those who adhere to the rule of law. It is survival of the strongest. And as someone once said, it’s “a situation in which people are prepared to harm other people in order to succeed.” Yes, the strong will lord over the weak.
And the sad part is that those who are doing it today are members of the Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln. He must be rolling in his grave right now. And the irony of it is that former president Donald Trump is now the undisputed czar of the Grand Old Party. He imposes his rule over Republicans who hold him as their almighty lord, to do as he pleases and suffer the consequences if they defy him.
During the 2020 elections, Trump tried to overturn the elections in six swing states: Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Had he succeeded in selling the Big Lie that the election was stolen from him, he would have accomplished a coup d’état and prevented the Senate from counting the electoral votes. This would hand power to Trump for another four years.
But then, Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the electoral vote count — whom Trump pressured to declare him the winner — had the temerity to turn his back on Trump and declare Joe Biden the winner. For that Trump will never forgive Pence. Had Pence declared Trump the winner, it would have been the end of democracy in the country and would usher in an era where the law of the jungle reigns supreme. It’s going to be to each his own — dog eat dog.
While the American people had to be thankful to Pence for doing the right thing, the shameful exit of Trump – after he toyed with the idea of launching a coup just before noon on January 20 – was a fait accompli when the disgraced ex-president walked up the steps of Air Force One on his flight to exile in Mar-A-Lago. A handful of supporters bade him goodbye as he turned around to acknowledge the few who bravely showed their loyalty to the one-term president.
And as the Air Force One flew south to sunny Florida, one wonders what Trump was thinking at that very moment. Would it be the end of his political career? Or was he thinking what to write in his memoirs? Or was he contemplating how he’s going to make a comeback in 2024? Hmm… a comeback would certainly be the coup of the century. He would come back to the nation’s capital and take his rightful place at the Oval Office, which he believed was his fate to complete his abbreviated presidency. Why not?
But no sooner had Air Force One landed in Florida than he opened his office in Palm Springs and put a sign saying “Office of Former President Donald J. Trump.” He’s back in action and he’s going to raise hell! Four years will come and go in no time at all. He’ll remain active in Republican politics, coaxing members of Congress into supporting his comeback plan. He promised to endorse them in the upcoming primaries if they followed his wishes. And for those who didn’t, he’d destroy them by bad-mouthing them and encouraging others to run against them. For the most part he was successful in keeping them in line because they’re afraid of losing the support of his loyal base that subscribed to his mailing list, which is more than 40 million and growing. It’s a propaganda machine in the tradition of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister.
Trump’s mailing list
Upon signing up, his first email will welcome you to the “Team” to promote that “we’re all in this together.” Then he’ll go on to say, “We are up against an unhinged left-wing mob, a Democratic party that has embraced radical socialism, and the FAKE NEWS media that will NEVER tell the truth about all of our accomplishments.” Now, that will suck you right into the Trumpian universe.
It’s no wonder then that Republican politicians are hooked into his propaganda machine, which would compel them never to criticize him lest they’d be banished from his world. He’d destroy and pulverize them into nothingness… oblivion. And many have been hurt by Trump’s attacks, which often goes personal. It’s not uncommon that once Trump attacks, they immediately declare that they’re not running for re-election.
But there is one Republican member of Congress. Rep. Liz Cheney, who hasn’t acquiesced to Trump. She’s the vice chairman of the January 6th Select Committee that’s investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Cheney has emerged as the leader of the “we-need-to-repudiate-Trump” Republicans. As a result, Trump is going after her by backing a primary challenger against her. The Wyoming GOP also voted to no longer recognize her as a Republican. But Cheney was also praised by 25 former GOP lawmakers for her courage amid Republican backlash. Indeed, she was steadfast on her stand against Trump, which makes one wonder: What’s her future in a Republican Party that’s controlled by Trump? But Cheney has remained outspoken in her belief that Trump shouldn’t play a role in the GOP’s future.
Although Trump has a strong base of supporters, it is not enough to win public support for Trump-endorsed candidates. A case in point was the loss of Susan Wright to Jake Ellzey in the House GOP primary runoff election in Texas, which shocked the GOP. Is this a harbinger of the fate of Trump-endorsed candidates?
The 2022 midterm elections should tell us whether America is going to swing direction: to law of the jungle or stay as a nation of rule of law. I am saying this because Republicans of the Trump variety seem inclined to follow his style of leadership, which is autocratic. His use – and abuse — of authoritarian power to get people to do his bidding is very dangerous. And his followers in Congress seem to do the same, like Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Paul Gozar, to name a few. Like Trump, they love to attack others who they disagree with.
America is now going through a series of events that are attacks on democracy: the voter suppression laws that are being considered in 47 states and the abuse of the filibuster, which is preventing Congress to pass laws that are good for Americans like the Voting Rights Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Act, For the People Act, and Build Back Better Act. If these proposed bills don’t get passed before the 2022 elections, the Senate and House of Representatives could be taken over by the Trump-controlled Republican Party, which is against passing these bills.
We are now on the cusp of history. Democracy is in peril. Is America going to be run by the rule of law or by the law of the jungle?