President Joe Biden spoke for over an hour Wednesday in his first address to a joint session of Congress, raising urgent issues from the need to get Americans vaccinated to the jobs that will be created fighting climate change to the key role immigration has always played in the American story.
It had to be said plainly because the bulk of the Republican Party, deformed and unrecognizable after five years of rolling like puppies at the feet of Donald Trump, still does not accept reality. Polls show 70% of Republicans believe the Big Lie that the election was stolen, despite a complete lack of evidence. Half believe the Jan. 6 insurrection against our democracy was committed not by Trump supporters whipped into a frenzy, but by Democrats — Black Lives Matter activists in whiteface, perhaps — ”trying to make Trump look bad.” As if he needs help.
”The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” It must be repeated because of the shocking resilience of right-wing extremism. Indeed, Trump apologists zeroed in on these specific words for their typical hoots of incomprehension and ridicule. Yet it is literally a matter of life or death, our nation’s and theirs. Trump’s toxic distortion of masculinity that allowed him to grope women and pretend he is always right and always wins also made him reject wearing masks and vaccines — he got his in secret. Millions of Americans listened to him, causing hundreds of thousands to die. Millions still listen, meaning hundreds of thousands more will die. Following him into their graves, literally.
No one can be glad of that. It’s tragic and horrible. But I’m not writing to try and jar them from their error. That’s futile. Those who do not form their positions through reason cannot be argued out of them by reason.