By Don Mohler
The battle for the soul of our nation continues. Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene continue to try to rewrite the history of January 6, 2020. The Celebrity Ex-President threatens violence on a regular basis, and a major Republican candidate for President called the invasion of a sovereign power a “territorial dispute.” Antisemitism and racism are on the rise, and the Director of the FBI identified White Nationalism as the greatest threat to our domestic security. And hospitals are shutting down OBGYN clinics in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.
This is where we are.
Recent research indicates that “political beliefs” have become a dealbreaker for those navigating the dating world. According to a 2020 YouGov-Economist poll, “Eighty-six percent think it has grown more difficult to date someone who supports the opposing political party in recent years.” Women find this to be a very important factor when exploring relationships: Only 35% of women are willing to date someone who has significantly different political views. Men also find it a challenge, but are slightly more willing to give it a try. I don’t know about you, but the thought of having a romantic dinner with someone who right in the middle of the shrimp cocktail says, “You know, I love that Tucker Carlson. He really tells it like it is,” just doesn’t compute. I would choke on the cocktail sauce, and they’d need to call 911.
Given this great schism, I continue to wonder how we dig ourselves out of this hole. The answer is certainly not by screaming just a bit louder. Like so many of you, I am exhausted from screaming at the television screen. Regardless of how loud I scream, nothing changes. Screaming at our MAGA friends and relatives is also a waste of time, and it threatens to do lasting damage to relationships that are more important now than ever. The only way out of this morass is at the ballot box. How do I know that to be true? Because the far right agrees, which is why they are doing all that they can to limit voting access across the nation.
According to the Gallup organization, 29% of Americans identify as Democrats, 27% as Republicans, and 42% identify as Independents. There are approximately 170 million registered voters in the United States. Of the 46 million Republicans, roughly 32 million are hard right, MAGA followers, loyal to the former host of The Apprentice. To them, the truth is not relevant. They live in an alternate universe, and thus, are not the target audience.
But (and this is “the” big but,) that leaves 140 million voters who are open to the truth. They are the voters who will make the most important decision in our nation’s history in November 2024. These are the men and women across the nation who rejected the Red Wave this past November. They are our first line of defense. They respond to facts. They don’t like book burnings. Racism and antisemitism make them uneasy. They have gay, lesbian, and trans friends and relatives whom they love very much. They reject chaos, and the believe that a shred of decency still matters. We reach them by making sure they read and hear the words of despots and their followers, unfiltered and unedited. Then without any screaming, come election time, I believe they will conclude that “those people” don’t believe in what I believe in. I love our nation. I love our diversity. “They” do not. “They” are crazy, and “they” are scary. With that in mind, here is the first of what will become a semi-regular series over the next 18 months—Notes and Quotes.
Notes: It looks as if Donald Trump is likely to be indicted for paying off a porn star just prior to the election in 2016. While this may not be his most grievous offense, it is still a fact. Despite the carnage of January 6, he once again called our nation to violence in anticipation of the Grand Jury’s decision. These are his unedited words:
Quotes: What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known that No Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death and destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country. Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA.—Donald J. Trump
Notes: Did Donald Trump really post a picture of himself with a baseball bat standing next to District Attorney Alvin Bragg? Yes, he did, and death threats immediately followed. Here is what Rupert Murdoch’s “New York Post” had to say about that.
Quotes: “He hasn’t changed in the slightest. There is no shame. After riling up rioters, cheering for a coup, and agreeing that his vice president needed to be hanged, he’s back to making violent threats against fellow Americans. This is not a felony case, and Bragg trying to turn it into one is pure politics. But rather than seek his vindication in the courtroom, or even just make an impassioned speech, Trump wants to inspire a mob. In the face of a possible criminal case in New York, he screamed that “death and destruction” would follow any indictment. He posed with a baseball bat aimed at the head of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. THIS is Donald Trump.”
Notes: The Michigan legislature is on the verge of passing gun safety legislation that mandates that guns be safely secured in a home, while also implementing universal background checks. These are actions overwhelmingly supported by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The Chair of the Republican Party in Michigan, Kristina Karamo, responded by comparing the legislation to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. The State’s GOP posted a photo of wedding rings being collected by the Nazis superimposed by the text, “Before they collected these, they collected all the guns.” Following widespread criticism of the extreme comparison, let’s look at exactly what Ms. Karamo had to say.
Quotes: “History has shown us that the first thing a government does when it wants total control over its people is to disarm them. President [Ronald] Reagan once stated, ‘If we lose freedom here, there is nowhere else to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.’ #2A [second amendment] #GOP.”
The quotes above are their words, not mine. Words matter. As we move forward, we must lower the decibel level, but we must also share the truth. It is not our truth. It is not their truth. It is simply “THE” truth. If we are able to do that, we might still have a chance to save this thing we call Democracy.
Don Mohler is the former Baltimore County Executive and President and CEO of Mohler Communication Strategies. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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