Jim Crawford: Have the Republicans gone through the looking glass?

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 8, 2023

Renowned author Lewis Carroll coined the phrase “Through the looking glass” as a metaphor to describe any time the world suddenly seems unfamiliar or turned upside down from the norms.  

Our Republican friends might be experiencing this odd feeling while looking forward to the 2024 elections. All seems calm at first glance as ex-President Donald Trump is polling well, the Biden administration is polling poorly and election season is set to begin in less than 60 says.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Well, maybe the failures of the Republican-led House of Representatives could cause hopeful Republicans some consternation. 

Chaos would be an apt description of what has occurred since Republicans took the gavel in 2023. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas offered this concern: 

“I want my Republican colleagues to give me one thing – one thing – that I can go campaign on and say we did,” he said. “One!”

No one has stepped forward to provide the answer to Roy’s caustic reflection of reality, nor is anyone expected to discover accomplishments from the party of no policy. 

Republicans cannot keep a speaker in place, advance a budget that can become law or do anything to serve their voters.

And then there is that seemingly unfamiliar concern in almost every way, that their chief candidate for the presidency is an ex-president who lost his re-election bid in 2020, has presided over several national party losses since 2016, is facing 91 criminal charges, has been recently found liable of sexual abuse and may, possibly, be a convicted felon before voters cast their votes in 2024.

What could go wrong with that?

Just how turned upside down is today’s Republican Party? 

Consider the ideas that once were Republican values in what many Republicans recall as the glory days of American nostalgia, the presidency of war hero Dwight Eisenhower.

Eisenhower advanced the Roosevelt New Deal programs, he expanded Social Security, advocated for and increased the minimum wage, created the departments of health, education and welfare. 

Eisenhower supported the growth and strength of American Unions and demanded better health protection for all Americans.

Eisenhower supported improved job safety for American workers and advanced the improvement of the unemployment system. 

His policies included protecting pension plans from abuse by large corporations, and he demanded equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.

In contrast, today’s Republicans demean Social Security and Medicare, and have endlessly fought a livable minimum wage for all Americans. 

Our Republican friends would not create any government agency and would more likely defund or dissolve most federal agencies, in their zeal to de-regulate protections.

Republicans since Eisenhower have done everything possible to destroy the union movement that has represented workers’ wages and benefits.

While Eisenhower sought a national healthcare policy unsuccessfully, Republicans today, notably Donald Trump, still seek to end and destroy the popular Obamacare program and replace it with nothing.

Today’s Republicans seek not to improve the unemployment system, but to undermine the system, arguing that only economic growth can solve this problem.

On equal pay for equal work, an Eisenhower imperative, today, Republicans, as recently as 2021 blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a blatant attack on women’s rights in the workplace.

For most Americans, nothing on Eisenhower’s list of goals and accomplishments sounds outrageous or out of touch with our core values, but to our Republican friends, through the looking glass they cannot recall, remember, or desire to return to their role in service of the American people.

Today’s Republican Party is little more than a rhetorical device of division and destruction of core American values, a party adopting a language of violence in a time where violence poses a transcendent threat to democracy.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.