Not the racists and white supremacists like Ted Cruz, Steve King and Tom Tancredo. Not the loud mouthed and fowl language tweeting president himself. Not at all, as our president would have it, the caravans of mostly women and children fleeing the widespread gang violence, joblessness and hunger in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador seeking asylum in the United States.
What we have to fear most is not even, as FDR would have it, fear itself. What we have most to fear are the mealy-mouthed Republican members of Congress, and especially the Senate who, while settled in their comfortable Washington DC homes, pretend to do the work of the Congress but so far have refused to be as the Constitution would have them a check on the other two branches of government, in particular on the Executive power of the president.
The result being that we have a president who pretty much does and says what he wants, and while doing so, the Muslim ban, the wall, the taking away of president Obama’s health and environmental protections, thereby revealing in spades his own ignorance of government, of history, and not just the history of this country. For example he doesn’t seem to know, let alone understand the most important single characteristic to be learned about us, that we are first and foremost a country of immigrants, of all colors, beliefs, ethnic origins. And that only the native Americans, those who are still alive anyway having survived the brutal several hundred year passage of the Europeans through their lands and sacred places, can claim a privilege of place, the real nationalists among us if you like.
By not speaking up against the president the Republicans of the Congress are allowing him by his words and actions to weaken if not undo the constitutional safe guards of our democracy. To weaken if not undo Enlightenment values such as individual rights, freedom, equality, tolerance of differences, the rule of law, the place of reason in our lives. In fact the tweets of the president might best be characterized as a triumph of unreason, of untruth. And the Republicans seem to be swallowing them whole.
Mealy-mouthed? Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mike Pence (the President of the Senate), Chuck Grassley, John Thune, and just about all the other Republican Senators, even those recently elected (maybe the most Trumpist of all), such as Rick Scott of Florida, even those who do speak out against Trump, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and a few others like them, but who when it comes to a significant vote that could change things for the better, vote with the president, finally even the most recently elected Mitt Romney, the figure whom I first heard described as mealy-mouthed.
These Republicans are timid, passive, submissive, without back-bone, so far kowtowing more or less completely to Donald Trump. Why are they doing this, and how long will it last, that the checks and balances, the three branches of the government as described in the Constitution, are no longer checking and balancing one another? And instead of the three branches we have the one, the executive, bullying the other two. That’s the big question that most depresses me, how long will it last, and what real damage to the country will have been done before it’s over?