The Fault, Dear Brutus
When Edward R. Murrow did his famous See It Now broadcast on CBS that helped expose Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), he ended the program with a quote from Julius Caesar by Shakespeare, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves." His point being that for McCarthyism to have succeeded, it required an acquiescent public to support him and accept it.
I wasn't thinking of Murrow yesterday when I sent a tweet, but afterwards I realized that the connection was apt when I wrote, "Let's be clear, while Donald Trump & Dr. Ben Carson have said reprehensible things, their success is far more a condemnation of today's GOP."
Donald Trump keeps exceeding himself with racist and near-fascist comments about Mexicans and Muslims, with calls for building a border wall and registering people of a religious faith he doesn't apparently like. And Dr. Ben Carson keeps making racist pronouncements like referring to vetting Syrian refugees as being similar to that of "rabid dogs."
But in the end, the only reason comments such as these have even the slightest resonance is because the two men sit as the top two leaders among Republican voters. If they didn't have the huge GOP support that they do, what they said would have little substantive meaning, or (especially) media coverage. Dingy bars across the country are full of sloppy drunks where such sentiments are heard every day, as are barricaded homes full of angst-ridden reactionaries on the far right, yet those thoughts remain on the tavern stools and in the private rooms without a camera or microphone in sight. So, as reprehensible as are the words of Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson, they would be close to unheard if the two candidates had little Republican support. It would be not much more than the craven rantings of two would-be demagogues.
That we do hear those rantings, though, is a mirror of today';s Republican Party -- an embarrassment to its founder Abraham Lincoln and its longtime leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, even the very conservative Barry Goldwater and more, like Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, and Jacob Javits.
That Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson can continue to try to undermine the foundation of the United States and its most-impactful credos, like "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," along with "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" -- and most importantly, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution holding high freedom of religion -- only has meaning because half of today's Republican Party supports them.
Let's repeat that: half of today's Republican Party supports the two wildly unqualified men who keep pronouncing these outrages. It is that Republican support that that allows such outrages to exist.
And to be clear, it's not just that Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson continue to spew their racist, hate-filled, thoughtless, un-American, near-fascist rantings (and if you are angered by that description, you have a very poor definition of registering people for their religion), but almost more to the point, they largely go unchallenged or criticized by their opponents. On occasion, a rival like John Kasich (R-OH) will speak up in opposition, but it's rare and Gov. Kasich's poll numbers are so low as to make his criticism almost meaningless.
The point here is that the bulk of today''s Republican Party seems to accept this. I am sure that not all Republicans do, I am sure that there is a significant portion of the GOP that is horrified by what their party has become -- and for all I know they might stay home on Election Day depending on the nominees, or even vote Democratic out of patriotic defense of their country. But right now, it is not possible to look at the success of Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson and not say that the majority of today's Republican Party is giving their support to two men who are pushing their agenda towards a foundation based so much in racism and hate, that it dances on the edge of fascistic outlook.
I'm sure that there will be many people enraged by what I write here. That doesn't refute what I'm saying, it merely supports it. Donald Trump spoke on behalf of registering Muslims because of their religion. Dr. Ben Carson made a comparison of Syrian refugees to "rabid dogs." And more. So, anyone who supports these two men are supporting their positions. Which brings us right back to the point here.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, it is in those who support them.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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