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Brickner: The “R” is for radical

Brickner writes, "Like sinister shapeshifters, the GOP has largely morphed into a team of radical right-wing extremists, helped by their silent enablers. The “R” by the name now represents not Republican, but radical."

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Joan Brickner, Forum Readers Board
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President Eisenhower was impressive. This Republican helped integrate schools and taxed the rich. Despite GOP pressure, he resisted efforts to cut FDR’s so-called “socialist” agenda, like Social Security. One photograph shows Eisenhower strolling with Democratic President-Elect John F. Kennedy as they spoke on foreign policy. Civility.

No more. The GOP seems to stand not for the Grand Old Party, but the Great Old Plunge.

In the 1960s, the Southern Dixiecrats left the Democrats when President Johnson fought for Civil Rights. It seems the GOP wants to resurrect the rebel yell of the Confederacy.

Like sinister shapeshifters, the GOP has largely morphed into a team of radical right-wing extremists, helped by their silent enablers. The “R” by the name now represents not Republican, but radical.

I recognize exceptions. Some real conservatives left the party, like Michael Steele, and a precious few still speak with integrity, like Rep. Liz Cheney, R-W.V. For most, however, silence is consent.

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Radical. Some, like controversial Senate candidate Herschel Walker, R-Ga., want an absolute ban on abortion. No mercy or respect. Even birth control is threatened.

Radical 2020 election-deniers grow, despite Trump’s own administrators proclaiming it the safest ever. I.D. cards are fine, but other “election protection” measures serve only to disenfranchise the poor, including slashing polling places. January 6 defendants are called “patriots.”

“R” is for rifles. No Texas grade school massacre will stop them from the NRA Convention in Texas this weekend, dismissing the cries of 90% of Americans for change.

“R” is for reckless. One Republican referred to the Texas shooter as a “transexual leftist illegal alien.” Does any lie or conspiracy face consequences?

“R” is for racist. In speaking of the high maternal mortality rate of Black women in Louisiana, Sen. Bill Cassidy says, “… if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier…” In other words, Black lives don’t matter.

Some Republicans have essentially promoted the Great Replacement Theory (blaming Jewish elites for the rising percentage of non-white Christians). We find tepid reactions when this rhetoric leads to massacres of Jewish, Hispanic, and Black people, as in Buffalo. This theory stands despite the coming influx of white Ukrainians and President Biden’s ads in Latin America discouraging migration.

These radicals promote authoritarianism and fascism. Recently, the “conservative” CPAC held a conference in Hungary. Former President Trump joined a roster which included a man who has referred to Jews as “stinking excrement,” called Roma (formerly “gypsies”) “animals,” and Blacks “f----- n------.” Some extremists, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., refuse to condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine, despite President Putin’s slaughter of innocents, the rape of mothers in front of their children, and the rape of children in front of their mothers.

Eisenhower warned in his closing address, “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist…” The radical threat is real.

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I would like a strong Republican Party with reasonable policies. I don’t always agree with Democratic policies or candidates. But in embracing absurdities and extremism, including school bans on history, the GOP makes it clear they do not want to persuade people like me. Unless I become like Walker, the radicals and their enablers, like Sens. Hoeven and Cramer, are content to erase me, and even our democracy.

Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

READ MORE FROM INFORUM COLUMNIST JOAN BRICKNER
Brickner writes, "When I visited the Henry Ford Museum a couple of years ago, one exhibit showed the fight for women’s suffrage. A display case included a signed card by a woman opposed to women voting. This is one of the ironies: Sometimes the worst opponents of women are women themselves."

Opinion by Joan Brickner
Interested in a broad range of issues, including social and faith issues, Joan Brickner serves as a regular contributor to the Forum’s opinion page. She is a retired English instructor, having taught in Michigan and Minnesota.

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