| The Soapbox |

Hindsight Is 2021

Each in their own way, both political parties are living in la-la land

There are split-screen moments, and then there’s the January 6 commemoration this week.

A year after the Capitol riots, in which thousands of pro-Trump supporters stormed Congress, Joe Biden will deliver a version of what he said six months ago: “Not even during the Civil War did insurrectionists breach our Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. But six months ago today, insurrectionists did.”

Over in Mar-a-Lago at the same time, Trump will convene a press conference to deny that anything untoward happened. “The insurrection took place on November 3,” he said in an announcement, referring to the supposedly stolen elections.

The distance between the two sides about a historical reality just 12 months ago is head-spinning and disturbing for what it says about America today.

Because the simple truth is that each in their own way, both political parties are living in la-la land, disconnected from reality in a way that wasn’t possible just a few years ago.

Start with the Republicans, now the political home of a majority of our community.

Even though the Capitol invasion was more a deadly riot, and not, as Trump’s foes say, an existential threat to American democracy, the reaction of much of the GOP is hard to comprehend.

In real time, Trump supporters were horrified. Courtesy of the congressional committee investigating the events, we now know that as they watched the events unfolding, important conservative figures attempted to get the president to call his supporters off.

“Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Fox pundit Laura Ingraham texted then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. “This is hurting all of us… He is destroying his legacy.”

And yet a year on, the dominant narrative in the party is that the Capitol invasion was insignificant, the deaths of protesters and assaults on police a minor matter. Or as a new CBS/YouGov poll reports, 56 percent of Republicans see it as “defending freedom.”

This, from the party that trumpets its support for law and order; that excoriated Democratic tolerance for the BLM riots; and rightly called out last year’s looting for the disgrace it was.

In any normally abnormal situation, the opposing party ought to be an ir miklat for those fleeing the oddities across the aisle. But it’s abundantly obvious that the Democrats live in their own fantasy world.

Start with the magic money tree that grows on Capitol Hill, tended by formerly centrist Joe Biden, now reincarnated as a progressive. If it weren’t for a churlish Democrat (Joe Manchin) shooting down Biden’s colossal $3 trillion spending bill, the American national debt would even now be metastasizing.

Far more destructive of American public life is the woke war on gender identity. It’s now so clear to the left that gender is an outdated concept, that even feminists are bullied for wanting to protect women’s safe spaces. Across vast tracts of the media, academia, and business worlds allied with the Democratic Party, the truth about the fundamental reality of our world is twisted beyond recognition.

So as Joe Biden and Donald Trump both preach to their respective choirs this week, the split screen will reveal the polarization of American politics.

But equally important is an emerging similarity, which is that — dare I whisper it — both parties now suffer from the same pathology.

When it comes to January 6 and rule of law for the Republicans, or basic moral facts of life for Democrats, wishful thinking and virtual reality are taking over.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 893)

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