Let’s Be Realistic

Over the past few days, I have heard some of the weirdest, most insane theories and ideas coming from people in positions of authority. For instance, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) opined that the solar eclipse is God’s way of communicating with us. In a tweet (Are they still called tweets?) on X (formerly Twitter), MTG wrote:

“God is sending America strong signs to tell us to repent.
Earthquakes and eclipses and many more things to come.
I pray that our country listens.”

X, to their credit, added this community note to her post:

“Monday’s eclipse was predicted hundreds of years ago, it will not have been caused by contemporary actions.  Earthquakes occur naturally and happen (on average) more than 30 times a day across the world, although many are too subtle to feel.”

MTG then doubled down when she received pushback to her post. In a subsequent tweet, she said:

“Many have mocked and scoffed at this post and even put community notes.

Jesus talked about that in Luke 12:54-56.*

Yes eclipses are predictable and earthquakes happen and we know when comets are passing by, however God created all of these things and uses them to be signs for those of us who believe.”

I don’t mean to besmirch MTG’s religious beliefs, but I would point out that if a prehistoric caveman or members of the Inca Empire had said these same things, we would shake our collective heads at their ignorance. Bless her heart.

Perhaps we should not be surprised by MTG’s posts. Afterall, at various times she has contended that the 9/11 terrorist attack was a hoax, wildfires in California were caused by Jewish space lasers, the school shooting in Parkland, FL was a red flag operation, the 2020 election was stolen, the January 6 insurrection was caused by Antifa and the FBI, and many more wild and wacky conspiracy theories. But MTG is not alone.

Over the weekend, Brian Perras, a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida, accused President Biden of molesting children and claimed that Ukraine was behind the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. Not to be outdone, Donald Trump himself accused Biden of being high on cocaine during the State of the Union Address, said inflation is currently 50%, and claimed that countries around the world are emptying their prisons and sending the convicts to the United States..

I could give many more examples, but I think you get the point. There is a segment of the population that is Republican, is part of the MAGA movement, and is utterly disconnected from reality. These people routinely market in misinformation and disinformation, primarily for political purposes. They use mis/disinformation to stoke the culture wars, keep their supporters angry and ignorant, and to create a state of chaos in the country that they then complain about and claim only they can fix.

It’s easy to point out these crazy beliefs on the right. They are so numerous, obvious, and ridiculous. But there are also beliefs on the left that are disconnected from reality. They are not as obvious, but they still exist.

For instance, consider the belief that the country and our democracy is going to be saved from Donald Trump’s authoritarian movement by the justice system. It sounds nice. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the judiciary stood up to Trump and held him accountable for both his civil and criminal wrongdoing? However, is there any evidence to suggests this is going to happen?

I know that most of us view the justice system as fair and impartial, and I’d like to think that’s true in most cases. However, our judicial system was not designed for the circumstances we find ourselves in currently. Rather than fair and impartial justice, we have seen courts bend over backwards to accommodate Trump. They’ve allowed him to post lower bonds than other defendants would be required to post. They’ve allowed him to threaten and denigrate judges, prosecutors, potential witnesses, and their families. No other defendant would be allowed to say a fraction of the things Trump has said and published without being jailed for contempt. Courts have issued “gag orders,” but they’ve not seriously enforced them. And Trump has been allowed to delay trials in ways no other defendant would be allowed to do, and which has effectively denied justice to the government and the people they represent.

A civil court found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation, yet he has not been forced to pay a judgement. Trump’s company was found to have committed fraud, yet he has not paid a penalty and will likely draw the case out until the judgement is meaningless. He was indicted on 91 criminal counts in four different jurisdictions, yet only one of those cases even has a trial date. Even if they go to trial, Trump will likely be allowed to delay and appeal until he either becomes president again, giving him the power to end some of the cases against him, or he dies and the charges simply go away.

I don’t mean to sound hopeless. Neither do I want to suggest that authorities shouldn’t bother to pursue charges against Trump. They absolutely should, and the prosecutions should be vigorous and unrelenting. What I do want to say though is that we should not count on the courts to save us. It is highly unlikely that they will or can.

The only thing that is going to stop the Trump train from reaching the station is if all people of good faith get out and vote in November and if we are diligent in our defense of our democracy. At every opportunity, we must stand up for our democratic way of life and governance.

It’s an overused phrase, but we are literally fighting for the soul of our country. Are we going to remain a democracy that honors the Constitution and the rule of law, or are we going to become an authoritarian regime, headed up by a buffoonish cult leader, run by a group of right-wing extremists, and featuring a legal system that acts at the whim of the leader and is designed to protect the few and punish the many? That is the choice we face.

But before we can get there, we must start being serious about the problem and realistic about the solution. Let’s get realistic, then let’s fight to preserve our democracy, our rights, and our way of life.

*The Bible verse MTG points to doesn’t really say what she claims it says. Here is the verse:

“54 He said to the crowd: ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky.”



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