This was the week when just about everything that came gushing out of our Great News Funnels seemed to be sounding an all-too-real warning: Our world’s greatest democracy was shaking, shuddering and basically going to hell in a handbasket. (Whatever that means.) But we know the bottom line about what it all really means: What we really need — right now! — is a bold, patriotic new movement that transcends old name-calling and is committed to Make America Governable Again.
Our new MAGA movement must be rooted in America’s heartland on a foundation that includes millions of you who are patriotic Republicans. Especially those of you who finally began to realise this week that you’ve been conned by power-seeking populist politicos who have been feeding you all those feel-good lies that gave you good reasons to hate the other side. But you’d always felt uneasy when the loud motor-mouths in your crowd saw no difference as they shifted from “Lock her up!” to “Hang Mike Pence!” You knew deep down he was as patriotic as you are. And you didn’t like when Pence was attacked by President Donald Trump, who you always thought was your kind of Republican and who you voted for twice.
Then this week, a social media thing flashed across your news screen — and you hated what you saw. For the first time in history, a former US president was suggesting that a US military chief of staff deserved to have been executed. Yup, your hero: Trump. In the final days of the Trump presidency, Gen. Mark Milley got word that China feared Trump was so upset at being defeated that he might order the military to attack an enemy. Milley believed he had to reassure China so that Beijing wouldn’t go on hair-trigger alert status, miscalculate and erroneously plunge the nuclear powers into unthinkable war. So America’s top general assured his counterpart in China he would alert Beijing as to the president’s thinking.
Now, Trump’s social media, which has been making off-the-wall public comments as his indictment woes soared, called Milley’s promise to China a “treasonous act” and declared: “This is an act so egregious that, in times gone by, the punishment would have been DEATH.” You know Trump’s comments like that can trigger a violent act by an unhinged follower. We all know that — and so does Trump. So of course, Wednesday night, those of you who are patriotic Republicans tuned to the Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library’s huge Air Force One auditorium to see how the seven Republicans running for president would handle the questions about Trump’s potentially menacing declaration. And many of you who are true patriots surely were shocked that the Fox News journalists running the debate never even asked about that historically unprecedented (see also: abhorrent) Trump card. And none of the Republican presidential candidates chose to mention it.
And this forces us all to recognise and confront the urgent reality that confronts America today. If America’s democracy is to survive, rebound and once again earn the worldwide respect it once had, we all have roles and obligations that must be fulfilled. And so far, we are all failing. Our political leaders — especially those who have long been proud to champion the conservative values of the Republican Party — are failing to fulfill their obligations of governance and leadership. The Grand Old Party populist demagogues dismiss their party’s non-demagogic traditionalists as “RINOs — Republicans In Name Only.” But they’ve got it backward. They abandoned Ronald Reagan’s conservative values as they demagogically propelled America toward a federal government shutdown that they knew would hurt most the hard-working middle-class workers they claim to represent.
In Washington’s backward politics today, it is the House Freedom Caucus demagogues who are performing as the de facto RINOs. And it’s the traditional Reagan Republican conservatives (the ones the de facto RINOs call “RINOs”) who have become Wet Noodle Republicans — so fearful of condemning Trump’s illegal and unpatriotic deeds that they fake political laryngitis rather than tell the truth to those of you who still call yourselves Trump followers. And finally it is my news media colleagues who spend too much time covering the partisan populist demagogues — and not enough reporting on the potential solutions and consequences on issues ranging from the security of our borders to the consequences of a yet another reckless shut down.
So our best hope is that the best of our people will step forward and lead your Real RINO leaders to do what they haven’t had the guts to do. Begin with a ceasefire on all name-calling. Then launch a movement that transcends old politics and has just one simple commitment — let’s Make America Governable Again.
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Zeng has spent much of his life in service to the Chinese state, designing monuments in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and coal plants for the Ministry of Coal. He’s a member of Shenzhen’s state-sponsored artist’s association.