If you wandered into the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) over the past two days and didn’t know where you were, you might well have thought you’d landed in the middle of a seditious nest of militants who were busy plotting a violent overthrow of the U.S. government.
In other words, welcome to the GOP in 2022, where talk of battle, war, and violence are found in nearly every speech that’s delivered.
And those violent utterings are being eaten up like ambrosia by attendees, according to Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone, who reports that former White House advisor Steve Bannon kicked off the jihad chorus by telling the audience for his speech, “We are at war.”
Repeating the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, Bannon insisted that Joe Biden is an ‘illegitimate imposter.’ Calling on Republicans to send ‘shock troops’ to Washington, Bannon promised the crowd they had an opportunity to ‘shatter the Democratic party as a national political institution’ He alleged that the party has been overrun by ‘radical, cultural Marxists’ and ‘groomers’ who ‘want to destroy the Republic.’ Bannon insisted the GOP must pursue absolute victory over ‘power-mad and lawless’ Democrats, asserting: ‘There can be no half measures anymore.’
Bannon, of course, holds no office, hosts a pathetic, lie-filled podcast, and is headed to federal prison in the near future after being found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, however, does hold office, and he was eager to add fuel to the rhetorical spark set off by Bannon, telling attendees:
Barbarians? Sounds like classic psychological projection, something Republicans excel at, because they can only deflect from their own disgusting ideas by placing blame for them on others.
Dickinson sat through two days of speeches and was struck, he reports, by just how warlike the words were from everyone who took the podium. And considering what transpired on January 6, 2021, that does not bode well for the future of American democracy:
The rhetoric of revolution and frontline confrontation went hand-in-hand with other speakers and presenters who cast the American left as demonic, evil, and destructive — in other words the kind of enemies who deserve to be dealt with harshly. CPAC has long been a political circus, a relatively harmless sideshow. But its latest incarnation has become manifestly dangerous — more fascist than farce. It is holding up alleged perpetrators of political violence as martyrs. It is demonizing its domestic political opponents as diabolical ‘enemies within.’ And it is giving MAGA supporters a militaristic frame for their charge to the ‘front lines’ of America’s culture wars.
In short it is playing with fire. But it’s the rest of us who may get burned.
Today’s GOP has become the firemen of Fahrenheit 451, a modern-day Montag and his gang, all of whom loved the flames, reveling in their own defilement and destruction:
How do we put out the flames? By voting in numbers so large that we extinguish the tyrants and exile them into irrelevance.