Monday, August 9, 2021

Republicans wouldn't know a communist if one bit them...

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Just to set the record straight, we Democrats are not communists.  We’re just Americans, Americans who love our country, and our flag. We’ve always thought America was Great and we are proud to hold a hand over our heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It shouldn’t be necessary to have to say any of this. I must though, because some lies about our love of country, calling us communists and flag haters, were printed in the Wild Rivers South Advertiser in July and August 2021, with a byline, “paid for by the Barron County Republican Party.” (see below)

They smear us as “communists” because we Democrats support government subsidized general benefit programs: Social Security, Medicare, public schools, crop insurance, highways, bridges, police, fire, ambulance, FEMA, and now the expanded child tax credit. They know these programs are popular, so they use a slur—“communism”—and hope the voters don’t look too deeply. 

It is to their benefit to tar us with one “communist” brush.  But we Democrats have diverse opinions about the role of government, about free-market economy, about health care access and help for people in need.  In our Party there is room for debate, and I’d think it is fair to say that rural Democrats are quite a bit more conservative than our big city cousins.  Yet even here we enjoy diverse opinions within our local party. 

I’m worried that something ugly is happening with local Republican Party leadership, now that Trumpian impulses have taken over. They’ve given up on promoting policy points and enabling good government. They put up billboards with heroic pictures of their leaders surrounded by patriotic images (ala, North Korea). They sell gun raffle tickets and hold “Cold Dead Hands” rallies. They pay for newspaper ads that shout Democrats Are Communists Who Hate the Flag. They are all about guns, and there are even some links on their website to suggestions that it’s time to form up militias.

I worry too that their extremist rhetoric will cause some confused person with a gun to take it all to heart and do something awful. If that happens, it will not be sufficient to look away and blame someone else’s mental health. All this “end of society” rhetoric encourages people to act. Already we see people violating customary social norms displaying profanity on flags for any schoolchild to see passing by on the school bus, as if the country will be saved by potty talk.

I suspect these leaders are not able to accept that Trump lost the election.  He can’t, so why should they?  Go along with that one lie and the rest pile on—the Covid vaccine is a hoax; the election was corrupt; Democrats are communists.  If that is what they want to believe, it’s their choice. But they need to back off on the dangerous rhetoric before someone does something stupid. 

Some of the thoughtful, constructive ads the Barron County Republican Party has been running...
Newspaper ad: Democrats call our flag a symbol of hate
Newspaper ad: Democrats support communism
Newspaper ad: God gave his archangels weapons because you cannot fight evil with tolerance and understanding
Newspaper ad: You are your 2nd Amendment Sactuary, God gave you that authority