Obituary for a Party

By Greg Bear, 12/10/2016

Many years ago, it became clear to me that we were witnessing one of those historic moments when a major U.S. political party was dying.

With the recent elections, it seems likely to many that the party that’s dying must be the Democratic party.

But the party that has already died, and is now in the process of zombie-like decay, is not the Democratic party, for all its problems--but the victorious Republican party.

What we currently refer to as the Republican party is no longer recognizable either in terms of attitudes, personality, hopes and ambitions, or political outlook.

The Republican party I grew up with, the party of many in my family, was fiercely protective of national sovereignty, political independence, economic freedom, and (sadly, as the party of Lincoln) the continued political ascendancy of white people over other minority groups.

Beyond those character traits, and even with the last trait, because of its fierce resistance to communism, the Republican party was the party of choice for most military officers, most defense-minded individuals (including in industry) and many of those involved in the enforcement of justice, most especially police officers and the FBI.

That party, last year, was flayed of its expected candidates and representatives in a terrible public vivisection. This November, it finished the process of dying, and is now undergoing a gruesome afterlife as a decaying appendage of one man: Donald J. Trump, who was never a Republican, but always an opportunist.

Trump is the opposite of all the strengths, concerns, and articles of faith that kept Republicans solid contenders in American politics.

And yet--he won.

And now the evidence is finally being confirmed that in part explains why he won, and how he won. That official finding of fact arises from within the U.S. intelligence community--which has also tended Republican over the decades.

And it is both astonishing and damning. 

Trump benefited from an amazing interference by our onetime archenemy, Russia, to shift the tide of our election. Before the election itself, that interference was known to high-level members of congress and to the executive branch, but Republican lawmakers tried to ignore it, and kept Americans ignorant of the certainty of outside interference by Vladimir Putin.

The Republican party I knew would have reacted with shock and repugnance to such a turn of events.

But they are dead. The former Republican party has betrayed us all.

This political partnership between Trump and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Vladimir Putin puts an end to any illusion that Republicans still have American sovereignty and freedom as a core concern. That they have given in to a KGB master and his stooge is beyond irony and over the margins into horror.

What we have left is merely a party of big business and big banks, of cutting taxes for the wealthy and supporting the dominance of industries that supply oil and gas. No matter that the country they are trying to construct will be less free, less pluralistic, less secure. No matter that climate change will continue to ravage much of the country, and perhaps even degrade states that voted red.

They can still maintain that Republicans are in power.

But the rotting corpse is proof they are wrong. They have forced us to put our trust, and our future, and the future of our children, in the hands of a political monster.

Because of them, the tree of liberty is now sprouting fruit with a ghastly pallor. The roots of the ground around the tree glow with noxious gases.

And for the first time in my adult life, I truly fear for the integrity and unified survival of our nation.

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