By Rod Miller, columnist
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Thus, Charles Dickens opens his classic, “A Tale of Two Cities”. Dickens could just as easily been describing today’s Republican Party and the schism that makes the GOP look like a house divided, warring against itself.
As the GOP leadership, both in Wyoming and nationally, purges from the ranks any voices critical of ex-president Trump, the ideological schism widens. The result will be a party containing two cities – one loyal to a demagogue, and one loyal to the U.S. Constitution.
So, what’s the solution? Let’s take a look at another old, dusty document and see if we can get a hint.
WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
Dissolving political bands seems, in times like these, to be a wise idea. The Republican party (or one or the other of the factions within it) should summon up the intellectual honesty to admit that the current schism will not heal, and that the opposing internal ideologies should divorce.
Break-ups are always painful and angsty, but often necessary. The modern GOP is, in fact, the result of the Whig Party dividing over the question of slavery in the new western states back in the 1850s.
The new Republican Party, only a couple of years old, lost its first presidential election in 1856, when John C. Fremont was the candidate. They took their lumps in the first contest, but won four years later with Abraham Lincoln leading the ticket.
So, history teaches us that being a brand new political party splitting off because of ideological differences is NOT the kiss of death.
The Whigs split over slavery, but today the shear point in the GOP is the personality of one man. One element of the Republican Party would gleefully follow Trump over a cliff just to kiss his ass. The rest of us owe fidelity to the Constitution, rather than to any individual. The only solution is to divide the party.
The Trump wing should proudly disavow itself of any political impetus other than what comes out of his mouth, thus freeing themselves totally from any constraints that the Constitution might impose. And they have an instructive example from Argentina in the first half of the 20th Century with Juan and Evita Peron and the Peronistas.
The rest of us should re-read “Conscience of a Conservative” and re-dedicate ourselves to a party that embraces the Constitution, the rule of law, fiscal constraint, individual (rather than governmental or corporate) rights and responsibilities, peaceful transitions of power, civil debate, and good grammar and punctuation. We should also take a firm stand against the designated hitter rule.
These two approaches to a nation’s civic life simply cannot co-exist within the same party. Its time for a break-up and a new political party. I suppose we can flip a coin to see who gets to keep the name “Republican”, but if this current situation goes on much longer, that name won’t have much meaning anymore.