When ‘America First’ is a ticket to last place

It came and went in a second, in political time, a proposed idea that proved too racist for the politician reportedly behind it. But an “America First” caucus that was disavowed, sort of, by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and several of her Republican colleagues who at first seemed ready to sign up should be treated as more than a ridiculous sideshow.

The notions that fueled a “draft” stating the group’s principles have lingered, becoming part of a conversation that’s becoming a little less shocking and a lot more routine.

That’s one takeaway from Greene’s enormous fundraising haul, despite her lack of House committee assignments and useful endeavors. Even though the Georgia Republican backed away when the caucus’s endorsement of “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” leaked out, the very idea seemed to excite some GOP lawmakers and ignite a constituency that is larger than many “real” Americans would like to admit.

You know, the real American citizens of every race, creed, color, orientation and national origin, who believe in the ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence without reservation, despite the country’s history of both triumphs and failures on that score. They are the Americans not surprised, but still disappointed that too many of their neighbors, co-workers and elected representatives are willing to toss democracy if that’s what it takes to hold on to the power they perceive to be slipping away, and justify it all with a sense of superiority — cultural and otherwise.

Pandemics and gun violence are real life, not ‘theater’

Perhaps Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky needs a refresher course on the meaning of the word “theater.” His GOP colleague Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas could listen in.

The former recently initiated a verbal brawl with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease specialist who has been providing information and advice to guide Americans dealing, along with the rest of the world, with a deadly pandemic. The latter accused anyone proposing the consideration of gun restrictions, in light of two horrific mass shootings in the space of a week, of “ridiculous theater.”

Now, I realize the term “theatrical” can be used as an insult hurled at someone accused of exaggeration, but what is happening in America is a fact. So let me offer my own definition: “Theater” is the thrill of escaping from it all in a darkened hall with a group of strangers, to see and hear professionals act or sing or dance, and to be uplifted by the experience, if only for an hour or two.

And it’s something we’ve been deprived of during this past, very long year amid the pain of COVID-19, with deadly gun violence that has not abated as a backdrop, and so much more.

 

Politicians who hate government give government a bad name

Ronald Reagan, considered a secular saint before, during and after his two presidential terms by many in the Republican Party, an actor-turned-politician who also served as California’s governor, was famous for his stated disdain of the thing he spent much of his life doing: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Of course, his administration’s tax cuts were plenty helpful for high earners, but it certainly made for a catchy sound bite. And it became a guiding philosophy for his, and now Trump’s, Republican Party.

And that brings us to the culmination of the effort to paint any government acting competently with a dash of compassion as evil — Texas, the Lone Star State that went it alone. We all saw how that worked out. When a cold snap broke the state, exposing glaring failures in everything from its independent energy grid to its power and water systems, the state’s leaders were either ghosts — escaping to Mexico for a vacation, in the case of Sen. Ted Cruz, or to Utah, where state Attorney General Ken Paxton traveled — or defiant apologists.

What’s Next Following the Wisconsin Primaries?


 

CHARLOTTE, NC — Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders both pulled off big wins in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primaries upsetting each party’s front runner Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The victories narrow the delegates gap between the party nominee hopefuls. WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis talks with us about the wins and what’s next in the race for the White House.

Christ Is Risen, But Campaign Discourse About Faith Has Fallen

Fewer Americans are flocking to religion, but you wouldn’t know that from the current presidential election cycle.

The politics of Washington are on pause for Easter break, but the campaign trail does not relent. And despite our separation of church and state, religion has been front-and-center this election season, often in ways that emphasize division rather than reconciliation.

 

Clinton, Feinstein and standing up to bullies

If you said Hillary Rodham Clinton owes the start of her independent political career to Rick Lazio, even Lazio might agree. The tipping point for the 2000 race for the U.S. Senate from New York between a former first lady and a U.S. Congressman? When Lazio, the Republican nominee, crossed over to Clinton’s side of the stage in a pre-election debate and demanded she sign a piece of paper. Few remember what was on that page, a pledge against using soft money in the campaign. They do remember the moment. Women – and to be fair, a lot of men – cringed, recalling similar encounters they might have had with a guy who stepped over the line. The rest is history, and it belongs to Clinton.

I thought of that image watching the back-and-forth between Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the gun legislation debate last week. Cruz’s question on the constitutionality of a ban on assault weapons, using the example of limits on the First Amendment, had merit. But it was the tone of condescension in Cruz’s voice and the smirk on his face that stuck.

While his Senate seat looks to be safe in Texas, his national ambitions definitely took a hit. Who wants a president who reminds them of that dude who treated you like an idiot?