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America has experienced some embarrassingly cultic, racist and repressive moments over the past couple of hundred years: the Mormon polygamy experiment in the 19th century; Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow politics in the south after the Civil War; the anti-Chinese riots in San Francisco in the 1870s; Woodrow Wilson’s crackdown on free speech during World War I; internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II; McCarthyism’s “liberals are pinko communists” campaign in the 1950s, to name just a few. The leaders of those movements all knew they were turning the citizenry in an anti-American direction, but were too drunk on ignorance, self-importance and power to stop themselves from going there.

Now MAGA Republicans have thrown all caution to the wind and are promoting violence and a radically altered version of current events to undergird their strategic objective, which is to destroy the Democratic Party. Framing a pedestrian court conviction as an evil Democrat conspiracy reminds one of Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik Party that proudly proclaimed, “Lying is justified by our objectives.”

Joe Biden, for his part, is conducting an only slightly less sinister policy in which he has been supporting a far-right Israeli ruler’s crusade to devastate and starve Palestinian civilian neighborhoods. However, the bad guys he is chasing are only slightly worse than Benjamin Netanyahu’s brainwashed and war-sotted Likud party members. Biden is now backtracking a bit by disingenuously announcing various ceasefire proposals that are destined to failure because they are not supported by either of the two powers involved. Notably, the people of those two nations have little to no say in the futile charade being acted out in their names, and neither do Americans.

The United States is experiencing perhaps the most shameful parade of political servility ever seen on this continent in the past 400 years, rivaled perhaps only by the communist and fascist movements in 20th century Europe and our own Civil War. Our two political party bosses demand loyalty to their causes even in the midst of the least exemplary performances by two opposing American presidents ever paired up in an election.

A “Latinos for Trump” hat rest on a table outside at Lark Community Center on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Donald Trump wants loyalty to his every whim based on the thin pretense of his love for God, pregnant mothers and his fabulous business methods that undergird his ability to fix every broken thing in America. Biden demands similar abject loyalty to his personal agenda even as he presides over the worst American-sanctioned religious persecution (Jews and Christians against Muslims) that this so-called tolerant nation has ever participated in.

The great irony is that American citizens claim to be libertarian islands unto themselves, whereby they cotton to nobody’s commands but their own. They also claim to be champions of religious freedom. In fact, they easily fall in line behind authoritarian personalities, turning over their rights and responsibilities to the preferred leader-in-charge. In truth, there doesn’t seem to be a citizen left in America who can bring an actual spirit of independence, intelligence, equality and justice into the room.

It is time for this nation to get educated as to what a true democracy requires of its people and to give birth to a wide variety of smart new political parties that can reconstruct our shipwrecked political party system around ethical principles.

Kimball Shinkoskey lives in Woods Cross, Utah.

Kimball Shinkoskey