History is Flexible for Trump’s MAGA Troops
I used to believe, as George Santayana is said to have said, “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”
Nowadays, amid culture wars and the rise of former — and possibly future — President Donald Trump’s MAGA movement, Santayana’s sentiment might as well be “If you don’t like history, rewrite it.”
That’s what House Republicans tried to do recently. With a breathtaking disregard for the history that actually happened, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, and Elise Stefanik, R-New York, introduced resolutions to “expunge” Trump’s two impeachments, as if such Articles of Impeachment had never passed the full House of Representatives.
Yes, as you may well recall, Trump is the only president to be impeached twice — and both Senate trials ended in acquittal.
But that official acquittal was not enough for Greene and Stefanik, who know a golden opportunity to grandstand when they see one. Then again, they could hardly have picked a more appropriate hero to champion than the grand master of alternative facts, Trump himself.
On his long list of greatest hits, Trump claims he won the 2020 election “by a lot” (despite losing to President Joe Biden in both the electoral and the popular votes) but had his victory “stolen” by massive voter fraud, despite more than 80 judges and members of the Supreme Court who found otherwise.
He still claims “my economy” was the best in the nation’s history (it wasn’t), that he “completed” his border wall (he didn’t) and that his administration “accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country,” a claim that brought laughter when he delivered it to the United Nations General Assembly.
I used to think my favorite dystopian novel, George Orwell’s “1984,” was a work of fiction. But Trump and his MAGA followers make Orwell’s world of Big Brother and “thought police” sound like the evening news.
Yet, as thought-policing goes, Trump and his movement are only perched at the tip of a very large culture erupting all the way down to local school boards and libraries. As much as I defend freedom of speech and the press, I am constantly dismayed by those who take those freedoms for granted without examining what they really mean.
More ominous is how easily our democracy can be compromised by ambitious politicians such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican whose desperate struggle to be elected speaker of the House came on the heels of a diabolical deal. Under the concessions he made, there was a rules change to allow any single member of Congress from either party to bring a “motion to vacate,” which could force a vote on removing the speaker.
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