By all accounts, this Tuesday’s election has been critical for America, both for democracy and the future of rationality and just good sense. Still, it cannot be ruled out that it will be lost on a majority of Republicans nationally, who are caught in the grips of a nasty bit of cultish behavior modification driven principally by one factor alone: fear. This is a kind of fear, fear of crossing the big bully in the ‘hood, Donald Trump, that is piled on top of other fears, such as of a loss of identity, of a gainful livelihood, of a decent legacy, in the context of a genuinely worrisome decline in the life expectancy of middle aged white males.
Backing a milquetoast alternative like Glenn Youngkin or other Republican presidential candidates is not a viable option for them under these circumstances. Until they break free from the existential fear that keeps them under Trump’s sway they will not act for the greater good, much less even on behalf of their selfish self-interest. Anyone who is not a party to this was able to see that the more the abortion issue, for example, was being pushed to extremes, the more the general public would react against it, as Tuesday’s election demonstrated all across the land, from red to blue places and in between. But as with any cult of this nature, it is not rational thought that governs behavior, but the rush to go farthest to escape the wrath of the cult leader, even if the objective result is an electoral disaster.
Democrats were able to exploit this terrible disability within Republican voter ranks, at least for this go-around. The temptation for them will be to encourage the same kind of reaction among Republicans going forward. But that would be a big mistake because it is through the advancement of this cultism which is the sinister objective of overt enemies of democracy, including authoritarian regimes around the world like the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, Hungarians or other varieties of fascist entities make gains. It may seem far-fetched for thinking people to realize that what may seem to them to be so wacky is in fact a proven formula for the creation of anti-democratic thinking and irrational behavior, overall.
So, the only real way to address the current ongoing crisis of civilization is to elevate the conversation overall by advancing the power of reason and dumping the growing obsession with anti-rational trends in our culture. This includes the use of analogies of mindless sporting competitions to evaluate important political choices in life, to put more emphasis on win-win outcomes, for example.
For now, congratulations to all the winners in this election cycle. Falls Church has leaders now who can convert potentially divisive issues into productive discourse, and it will be the challenge facing all of us to make that work. We look forward to seeing how this leadership majority will move us in that direction.