A Powerful Question


OK … I’m doing it again. But this is something that NEEDS to be shared. It was written by Robert Reich (via Substack):

A personal question to powerful people who continue to deny the results of the 2020 election

What do you tell yourself in private?

I have a serious question for people who have power in America and who continue to deny the outcome of the 2020 election and enable Trump’s Big Lie: What are you saying to yourself in private? How are you justifying yourself in your own mind?

I don’t mean to be snide or snarky. I’m genuinely curious.

I’m not interested in Trump’s answer to this question. He is too far gone — lost in the depths of his own pathological ego. I’m also not asking the millions of Trump followers, Fox News viewers, and rightwing social media fans who have been fed the Big Lie nonstop for almost two years. Two-thirds of registered Republicans now believe it.

No, I am asking my question to people with power in our society, people who presumably know the truth.

If you hold public office and still deny the outcome of the 2020 election, how are you explaining this to yourself?

Are you telling yourself that despite the overwhelming evidence that Biden won and the lack of evidence of fraud, you still genuinely doubt the outcome? But you must know that sixty federal courts have found no basis in Trump’s claim, nor have any state so-called “audits,” and that even Trump’s own Attorney General found the claim baseless.

Or are you telling yourself that it will soon be over — that Trump will fade, that the Big Lie will disappear, that your party and America will soon move on?

But you must know you’re wrong. The Big Lie is growing. It has metastasized into a cancer that’s dividing the nation and devouring our democracy.

Or are you telling yourself that you have no real choice but to support the lie if you want to keep or obtain political power?

Even if true, is power so intoxicating to you — so important as an end in itself — that you’ll do anything for it?

Where will you draw the line? If Trump is reelected and imposes martial law? If he or another Republican president forbids public criticism of his administration? If he calls for violence against those who oppose him?

And what do you tell yourself about the measures your party is taking based on the Big Lie: suppression of votes, takeovers of election machinery, assertions that state legislatures can overturn voter preferences in the certification process, rejection of the January 6 committee’s findings?

You have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. How do you defend yourself in your own mind?

I’m asking you, Kevin McCarthy. And you, Lindsey Graham. And you, Marco Rubio, and Rick Scott and Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson. And others.

And I’m asking those of you with significant power in the GOP who have remained silent in the face of all this – such as you, Mitch McConnell, and you, Mitt Romney: How do you justify your silence?

And I ask those of you now running for office who are denying the 2020 election results and pushing other aspects of Republican authoritarianism – such as you, JD Vance, and Blake Masters, Mehmet Oz, Herschel Walker, Doug Mastriano, and Kari Lake: What are you telling yourself in private? How are you excusing yourself? Why are you even running?

And I ask the billionaires and CEOs who are bankrolling these people: How do you rationalize spending millions, even tens of millions, helping them get or remain elected?

I’m asking you, Peter Thiel, and you, Stephen Schwarzman, and Ken Griffin and Steve Wynn and Mike Lindell and Patrick Byrne and others: Is this really the way you want to spend your fortune? Is this your legacy to the nation?

And I ask all the people making money off this rot – the TV hosts and producers and media moguls who are raking it in while poisoning the minds of America with bald face lies – what are you telling yourself in private?

I’m asking you, Rupert Murdoch, and you, Tucker Carlson, and you, Sean Hannity, and you, Laura Ingraham: How are you defending yourself to yourself?

I don’t expect you to answer me. This is a question for you to answer to yourself, alone and in private.

But before you do, may I have a confidential word with you?

Whether you’re a politician supporting the Big Lie, a billionaire backer of it, or a broadcaster who’s pushing it, it is not too late for you to get off the road you are on. Joe Biden has given you an off-ramp. He has stated the choice as clearly as it can be stated: democracy or autocracy.

Yet if you continue to promote or enable this lie, you are undermining our democracy and the norms of our society. The crisis you have helped create is worsening. You bear part of the responsibility for what comes next.

Know this: When the history of this trying time is written, future generations of Americans will judge your actions and your silences harshly.

They will recall your cowardice and your self-justifications. They will remember your lust for power and your moral blindness. They will recollect your unwitting ignorance or your witting failure to come to democracy’s defense in this perilous time.

Generations to come will sit in judgment about what you have wrought. And if the democratic experiment called America continues to unravel because of what you did or failed to do, you will live in infamy. 

35 thoughts on “A Powerful Question

  1. It is abundantly clear to me now that they really don’t care about keeping democracy alive.
    It really doesn’t matter to them, just as it doesn’t matter to them who gets shot in the next mass shooting. All that matters is that they retain power. Everything else is secondary or for that matter, disposable.

    Liked by 9 people

  2. My question for them, particularly the Repughs elected in 2020, is why they are accepted salaries for office if the election was illegal?
    The very act of taking a salary (whether earned or not) tells us they believe the results of the election are real.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

    They are the most deceived of all. They choose to be deceived and avoid reason like the plague. Descartes wrote about people reading the philosophers but never developing skills in critical thought, reasoning, or logic. He likened them to vines climbing to the top of the forest canopy and then having no way to climb higher. They depend on their politicians, priests, preachers, etc. to do their thinking.

    How to answer for those who have been educated in the best schools, like the Cruzes, Rubios, and Johnsons? We can’t answer for them, of course, but I suspect that they know they are simply hoping for some great position in the system they would use to replace democracy. I would like to remind them of how Richard III rewarded Buckingham.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But do they actually have a “system they would use to replace democracy”? Like the climbing vines they can only use what is already there in front of them: legislatures, senates, governorships, presidents. They might change the roles, but not one of them is capable of building anything new. Which is why, were they to win, and stop democracy in its tracks, force women to carry pregnancies to term, taking away the voting right of anyone who looks different or disagrees with them, outlawing non-heterosexual relationships, etc etc etc within a 100 years America will be a cess pool of starving people with no working sewers, and a few fortresses for the wealthy with small armies protecting their enclaves. Their “system” will collapse in on itself, and chaos will reign. When a particular group is forcing people backward, they will eventually end up with nothing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is the most dangerous part of the threat; they don’t really have a system. From the rhetoric of Christian Nationalists and GOP MAGAts, they intend to either have a dictatorship or a theocracy. Those two elements have always thrown themselves together. But the reality is, as you suggested, they have neither the ability to govern nor a policy in place. What we are likely to see, providing they’re successful in the next two elections, will be anarchy.

        We already see the damage done to the administrative state, the corruption of the Supreme Court and the court system in general, the control of the state electoral process in doubt, and members of Congress calling for political violence. We can expect the ground troops to take some action like they did on 01/06. We are fighting against capitalism, hijacked Christianity, and a political party that is only concerned with holding power for the good of the other two. This is the system that gave us slavery and a hamstrung democracy. Racial hatred, misogyny, xenophobia, greed, religious fanaticism, and white supremacy are their driving force. How far they will be able to go, and how much more damage they can inflict may depend on who has control of the military. I am aware that Biden has left several Trump appointees in place. That was not a good idea. They need to be removed before the election.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I honestly cannot fathom followers of Trump. I do not feel that way about any person, politician, actor, singer, scientist, military member, or founding father.

    I wish I could change someone’s mind. Maybe in the long run I contribute to that. But I doubt it. Has anyone, anywhere been persuaded by anything any of us has ever posted anywhere?

    But, there are days when I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then. ((deep sigh))

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can’t either..it’s almost like their brains are truly wired differently and unfortunately in a way that is not conducive to a functioning society, a happy inner life or any real sense of character and integrity. They somehow are missing these vital brain functions or they are convoluted in a very negative fearful distorted operating system. Their inner world is a mess basically.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. The morons at the bottom of the Faux News chain probably actually believe it. “Bless their souls.” /end snark.

    The politicains, most know better. They are liars for the R party, it’s all about never being wrong, admitting wrong, or allowing others entrenched in the party to think it’s even possible they are/were wrong. They are herding the sheep, hoping none escape to find to the truth.

    The right wing propaganda machine exists for the very same reason.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Yesterday, our friend Nan posted a question asked by Robert Reich and this may well be one of his best pieces ever! I was impressed enough to want to share it. Thank you, Nan … and Robert! (I actually thought I had re-blogged this yesterday afternoon, and didn’t find out until late last night that I had it all set up but forgot to hit the “Reblog Post” button! Senility is setting in!)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hey..there are many excellent writers who can say things much better than myself. I follow Robert, Robert Hubble and Heather Cox Richardson. All 3 excellent. Plus some of the comments are equally good and informative..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do still care, but I do feel the game is over. At this point, I can only vote and keep up with things thru newsletters, blogs, TV news etc…I do like to be informed.
      But I do lay most of the blame, at bottom, at the utter ignorance, gullibility, religious fanaticism and petty hatreds of the bottom tier in all this. Next tier up are the corrupt greedy politicians who will pander to any sub set of our species to stay in power and this includes trump. Then the big business and the filthy rich who really run the whole show. But it’s that bottom tier that makes it all possible and that is the irony and insidiousness of it all.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Nan, this is well said. There is not much to add other than what will these folks have to defend and rationalize next week, next month, next year…? I have been asking elected officials this for four years, as there is consistently something new. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

      • Nan, mature would be nice, but if we could at least start with people paying attention to the obvious. It does not take a lot of effort to recognize his history of deceitful behavior or see his recent and current deceitful actions. As I used to ask Senators and Congresspeople, “is the person on which you want to throw your hard earned name away?” Keith

        Liked by 1 person

    • They are trying to build a future they cannot see. They have no capability to look to see where they are going. They want to keep things the same, or worse, step back to an earlier time. There were reasons we left those earlier times. They were not working. They will still not work if we are returned to them. Imagine living in Spain in the time of the Inquisition! That is the world Republicans are trying to recreate. Constant fear. Lying about your neighbours. Acting in mobs. That seems to be the world they want to live in.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Capability? Or culpability? Both words would work in that sentence.

        Honestly, aren’t we already in that world? Haven’t we been in that world for a long time? As someone who takes public transportation & has for many years, I’ve been seeing signs in the subway & on busses that state “See something, say something” with the phone number of who you can contact. This is ever since 9/11 & the Patriot Act. & even before that, if you were someone from outside of someone’s neighborhood, your license plate number could/would be taken down by some do-gooder & reported to the police. This is since the 1980s. I know people who had problems simply because of that kind of thing. It was probably happening long before that.

        Don’t fool yourself. This is the world that has been promoted by the GOP since the 1960s. Since Nixon. Since I can remember, honestly. This is nothing new. This is what they have ALWAYS wanted.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I would suggest capability is up to them, but culpability is up to everyone. If society-at-large does not hold them culpable for their actions, they certainly are not going to hold themselves culpable.
          Reporting licence plates that do not belong in an area? How would anyone even know what licence plates belong in a area? If they tried that in Canada there would be such an uproar the people doing the reporting would be laughed into silence. The cops would charge them with mischief. If that has been happening since forever, some people need their heads examined.
          I am seriously glad I live in Canada!


Don't Be Shy -- Tell Us What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.