Seventy-nine years ago the Empire of Japan attacked the United States and launched our country into World War II. In an act of unity, Congress got together with our President and declared war.
Sixty years later in 2001 Congress again put aside their ideologies to stand against terrorism. These acts of unity in difficult and dangerous moments in our history helped to move forward the democratic experiment of a free people that though, divided by political differences, are nevertheless united by our identity as Americans.
The winds of change in this regard however, have caught up with the politics of self-government and we have not answered the call for unity in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the economic devastation it is causing.
The Democratic and Republican Parties, the two major institutional instruments of our national political life, are not coming together for the sake of the country to fulfill their obligations.
This should be of great concern to the Latino community as it has a strong presence in both parties and the division affects its own unity. At this point, Republicans more than Democrats need to find their voice after the defeat of their leader, President Trump, in the national election. Finding their voice is complicated by the fact that Trump refuses to accept his defeat and is doing everything he can to undermine the institutional framework that makes our democracy work. Furthermore, he is in the process of taking the Republican Party hostage for his convenient and personal use in the future. For him, the election loss does not change his intention toward political control.
For the country, the Republican Party is rapidly becoming a “cult” that pays homage to one person at the expense of its traditional ideology (small government, reducing the national debt, balanced budget and states rights among others) and values that have been the hallmark of its politics. Now that the Biden administration is coming in, there are indications that Republicans want to return to those principles but are prevented to do so by the Trump shadow and its media threat.
Perhaps the Republican Party as an institution may see great favor in finding a way to free itself from the clutches of this would-be strongman. An impeached President that leaves office to be indicted and jailed for his many crimes may go a long way in freeing the Party and its members to resume their role as genuine partners in the political life of America.
The question has been posed to our incoming President and it appears that he will have none of it. This is because it is not his role to correct the voters or mandate our institutions to do anything other than their jobs.
That being the case, the voters have spoken and done what is in their power to make a change. Now it is up to our institutions, especially our judicial system, to do what they are constitutionally chartered to do in making sure that no one is above the law.
In the final analysis, it is the Republican Party that took this fellow in and made him their leader. It is their responsibility to find the courage to get rid of the “Albatross” around their neck.
For the rest of us, this should be a bitter lesson about our social and political division as a people that can lead to the loss of our democratic liberty. It is also a lesson on needing a healthy two-party system.