(Necessary to be read to gain full appreciation of the determination of and the current threat posed by the GOP)
Never, ever forget for a moment that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble . . ..” Other Constitutional guarantees apply, protecting the rights of Americans to conduct their private lives privately, without dread of governmental interference and inquisition.
No matter, in 1954, the Republicans were lead by Wisconsin Senator Joseph R. McCarthy in a full frontal attack on these sacred guarantees with nothing more than “I have in my hand a list of names.” The careers of those the GOP and McCarthy did not like were viciously and utterly destroyed. That anyone can wave off the inconveniences enumerated within the founding and sustaining principles that literally define America, and ruin those they so deem insufficiently in a mold they have devised is terrorizing, is an act of terrorism.
But never, ever forget the GOP had no qualms tossing the Constitution aside when the party felt it suited them. The Nixon administration maintained an "enemies list;" an indexed roll of thousands of individuals and groups it regarded as a threat to its unfettered hold on political power. According to the official White House Counsel, the purpose was "to screw Nixon's political enemies by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating 'grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, etc.'"
In 1980 Ronald Reagan opened his “[The interfering in State’s rights federal] Government is not the solution, government is the problem” campaign in Nastoba, Mississippi, the Southern backwater burg where in 1964 three civil rights workers were murdered and the farms and homes and churches of the local Blacks were set ablaze.
During the 1988 presidential campaign Republicans descended into the gutter to smear Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis with a lie: the infamous “Willie Horton” ad.
Through much of the 90’s the GOP funded an inquisition of the presidency of Bill Clinton. Millions were spent in vain. Every rock along the White River in Arkansas was overturned in the quest for any usable piece of evidence. It did not matter that not one incriminating thing was ever found. Confrontation with those facts neither slowed nor halted the pursuit. The Inquest was expanded outward like pond ripples until they caught a man prevaricating over an illicit affair. At last they had HIM!
The point was never justice, it was simple and singular: to bring down the sitting government of the United States!
In 2000 the GOP, distrustful that the party’s New Hampshire Primary victor, its then leading contender, Vietnam veteran John McCain, was adequately “conservative,” they slung muck through the back hills of South Carolina that McCain’s adopted daughter was really his black love child.
As night closed on the November 7, 2000 presidential contest, Democratic candidate Al Gore was called the victor by CBS. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to sit on the court, a Republican nominated by Ronald Reagan, was at a Washington DC cocktail party when the word filtered through the gathering. “Oh my God, we have to do something,” she remarked.
Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State and co-chair of the Bush campaign had earlier hired ChoicePoint to locate & purge thousands of voters from the polls on the premise they were felons and ineligible to vote. Overwhelmingly, the precincts targeted were Democratic Party strongholds. (Subsequent investigation determined that 97% of those denied their voting rights were not felons.)
As the vote recount proceeded through the ensuing days, the race wavered between the candidates. Once Bush gained a 527 — out of more than 8.5 million cast — Harris called a halt to further recount efforts and certified Bush as the winner. Ultimately the matter was decided December 12 on a straight 5-4 party line vote by the Supreme Court in Bush v Gore .
Georgia Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a Vietnam vet who lost three limbs in the military service of our country, was defeated for reelection n 2002 by GOP candidate Saxby Chambliss after newspaper ads hit the television screens that pasted Cleland’s image with those of both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. (By the way, during the Vietnam War, Chambliss sought & received a student deferment so he could attend law school.)
During the 2004 presidential campaign, GOP backers (Bob J. Perry, Harold Simmons, T. Boone Pickens, Carl Lindner, Aubrey McClendon, George Matthews, Crow Holdings, and on and on and on federal contract winning cronies of the GOP and the Bush family) organized and funded the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” attack ads on Democratic challenger, Vietnam Navy veteran and twice decorated, John Kerry. The ads asserted that Kerry had not earned his medals for valor, that he had conducted himself dishonorably while in Vietnam as well as during testimony before Congress following his military service. “Truth” had zero meaning to anyone in or associated with the group. Indeed, not a single SVBT member had served with or near Kerry during any period when their spurious allegations were to have found some premise.
Yet again, truth was never the objective; seizing and holding onto power, by any means necessary, is all that has ever mattered.