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I want to continue the discussion I started in my last blog about what we can do to restore the social contract that holds our democracy together that evidence suggests has been broken.

I also said that I believe the underlying reasons our social contract is broken are spiritual, meaning lost values we once shared as a people. 

The question now is, can our social contract be repaired? Can values be recovered? In short, can we save our republic?

I realize impeachment and the insurrection deserve attention, but I also think discussing these questions gets at the core problems we are facing whose solutions hold the key to our future as a country. 

That said, there is only one place to begin if we want to move forward in the right direction and that is to tell the truth about Republicans today – they are the primary reason the American social contract has been broken.

It’s not the only reason, but at the moment it is the only one that matters. No division can be overcome until we as a people understand that its primary cause are Trump Republicans in particular and all other Republicans who have openly supported or been silent in the face of what has been happening. 

This would be a partisan statement if there wasn’t so much evidence to prove how true it is.

– Former Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was charged this week with two counts of willful neglect for his role in the Flint Michigan water poisoning scandal that had its origin in a Republican-sponsored law that allowed Snyder to replace elected officials with an Executive Administration with dictatorial powers.

–  33 Republican-controlled states have introduced voter suppression laws since the Supreme Court struck down the pre-clearance requirement of the 1965 Voting Rights in 2013.

– Republicans in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Michigan passed laws to place restrictions on the powers of newly elected Democratic governors that had been available to previous Republican governors.  

– Republicans in those same states, plus Minnesota, Florida. Georgia, South Dakota, and others have gone to court to prevent governors in their states from imposing coronavirus restrictions based on CDC guidelines.

– 148 Republicans in the House and 6 in the Senate voted to reject the certified votes in 6 states of tens of millions of Americans who voted in the 2020 election, the majority of whom were black.

– Senate Republican obstructionism that dominated the Obama presidency, including using the filibuster 137 times, more than twice the average of previous years, and then when they got control of the Senate they simply refused to bring up any of Obama’s proposals.  

– Polls that show Republican views on issues contradict the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans. Here are some examples: (1) 66 % of all Americans say Trump acted irresponsibly in his statements and actions since the election, 66 % of Republicans say he acted responsibly; (2) 62 % of all Americans say there’s no solid evidence of voter fraud, 65% of Republicans say there is; (3) 57 % of all Americans say Trump bears a great deal or good amount of responsibility for the assault on the Capitol, 56% of Republicans say just the opposite, that Trump bears no responsibility; (4) 52 % of Americans say Republican leaders went too far in supporting Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, 51%  percent of Republicans say GOP leaders didn’t go far enough. (WPO/ABC Poll)

The above survey results not only tell us how out-of-step Republicans are with the rest of the country, they show the extent to which they have been willing to sell the country down the river in the name of supporting the worst president in history.  

In all these ways today’s GOP has broken faith with the social contract, the constitutional covenant, that makes us who we are. 

The worst by-product of what they have done is to undermine the essential role telling the truth must play in a democracy. Facts, information, knowledge, evidence –  none of them matters anymore. Instead, Republicans have employed a critical tool of propaganda, tell lies often enough until most people start believing them.

That has been the GOP strategy for four years, which is why it was no surprise when Trump started insisting he had won the election “by a landslide” and that Joe Biden’s votes were fraudulent. No need for evidence. Just tell the lie and eventually enough people will believe it.   

None of this is a secret, but there are still too many Americans who have yet to accept this as the truth. Some just don’t want to believe Republicans as a political force are that bad. 
 
They are. Yes, there are a few Republicans with integrity left in the party, ignored as they are and are even facing threats to their lives. Yes, some Republican voters have never liked Trump even though they have voted for him. But that doesn’t make them any less part of the problem. 
 
The Republican Party has not always been like this, but this is what they have become because of Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. They have had no concern about the impact their attitude, words, and actions might have on the body-politics.

We now know. They broke it.

The sub-title of former FBI director James Comey’s latest book are the words: Truth, Transparency, Trust. These are the core values that once held together the social contract we Americans made with each other when we ratified the Constitution in 1788.

The modern Republican Party gave up on truth, transparency, and trust when they decided winning was all that mattered. That is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth that we as a nation must accept. There is little chance to move forward as long as we refuse to acknowledge the point from which we must start.

One of the true ironies of what has happened to Republicans and the role they have played in breaking America’s social contract is the influence evangelical Christians have had in causing both of these developments.

That will be the subject of the next blog.