Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” lists the attributes of a rational human being. Paramount is to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs… That’s a tall order these days. Robert Reich, famed economist and liberal commentator, lost his head recently. Furious with Senator Krystin Sinema for quashing two voting rights bills, he tweeted, Democratic senators should have given her the backs of their hands. Misogyny being unfashionable among his peers, he was quick to withdraw his statement.
Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey lost his head when President Joe Biden used money from the American Rescue Plan Act to encourage mask-wearing in schools during the pandemic. First, Ducey responded with a counteroffer. Districts that banned masks at their sites would receive an extra $1,800 per student. Second, he encouraged his Attorney General to sue Janet Yellen. The two men complain her monetary policies in support of Biden’s mask objectives violate Arizona’s rights.
But wait, there’s more! In 2020, some states, unhappy that Biden won the election, submitted false documents to the Electoral College, ousting his electors for Donald Trump’s. At least two states, Michigan and New Mexico referred the fraud to the federal government. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich chose to do nothing. Perhaps there’s some method in his madness. Why worry about fraud when folks like Andrew Clyde and his fellow Republicans describe the January 6, 2021 insurrection as a tourist visit.
To his credit, GOP Senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin doesn’t accept Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was rigged. On the other hand, he thinks “Americans aren’t looking for election reform.” That’s why he opposes making voting easier. Polls suggest he’s partially right. Most people report they’ve encountered few problems with voting either on-site or by mail. Evens so, they are enthusiastic about making early voting easier.
Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, including Johnson. For example, people are free to believe vaccines contain chips that will turn them into government zombies. Despite that right, no one is required to take these theories seriously. But when theories clash with science, they shouldn’t set public policy. Ignorance is no excuse for allowing the guardrails of reason to fall away. When it does, all that remains is unfiltered opinions–mine, yours, Trump’s, Putin’s….
Here’s a further example. Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene asserts Biden protects Ukraine from Russia for a personal reason. Ukraine is blackmailing his son. She offers no evidence for this statement, and if she kept her opinion to herself, no harm done. Taking her charge to the airwaves to affect public policy becomes slander for which she should be prosecuted. The same should happen to all the liars, opportunists, and those engaged in sedition.
Would Kipling agree with me? Seeing the state of our democracy, I think he would. Or, maybe I’ve already lost my head.