In 1983 Ronald Reagan accurately condemned the Soviet Union as an evil empire. Since its beginnings in 1917, the Soviet Union had worked continuously to undermine western democracies and promote its totalitarian vision. Eventually the Soviet Union fell, to be superseded by modern Russia. For a time it appeared that Russia might become a successful western-style democracy, but it is now clear that, under Vladimir Putin, Russia has reverted back to its historically autocratic roots. Putin is a totalitarian autocrat who imprisons or kills his enemies and has complete control of Russia. Long before this latest act of war, Russia has been an evil actor on the world stage.
While Russia’s return to its past ways is unfortunately not a surprise, what is a surprise is that America’s right has completely switched sides in the fight between democracy and autocracy. Republicans routinely praise Vladimir Putin and condemn or belittle Ukrainians and their leadership. The number of GOP players that support Russia over Ukraine is virtually a who’s who of today’s conservatives:
- Donald Trump
- Donald Trump, Jr.
- Mike Pompeo
- Steve Bannon
- Marjorie Taylor Greene
- Madison Cawthorn
- Tucker Carlson
- Peter Navarro
- Matt Gaetz
- Laura Ingraham
- Mike Flynn
In fact Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson are so unabashedly pro-Russia that they are routinely featured on Russia’s propaganda-based state TV. In a stunning and unprecedented repudiation of the GOP of 40 years ago, there is no question that the core of today’s GOP supports Russia, a totalitarian, evil empire.
Why? This would not be happening if there was no logical reason. The reason is unfortunately very obvious. The GOP praises Putin because they want the United States to be like Russia. Russian autocracy is the desired goal and Putin is the ideal leader. They no longer believe in the principles under which this country was founded over 200 years ago. They no longer believe in a democracy in which all men and women are created equal. They no longer believe that people of all races, religions, colors, genders, and gender preferences should all have the same rights under the law. And most importantly they no longer believe in free and fair elections.
They want a country in which a privileged few have power and wealth. They want a country in which only the “right” people get to make decisions. They want a country in which anyone who doesn’t follow the conservative Christian theology does not get to participate.
We cannot let people who no longer believe in democracy use it to take more power. In states where the GOP has control, democracy is being destroyed and rights are being eliminated. They have used the power of democracy to impose autocratic laws that ensure their continued power no matter the results of elections. If the GOP gains control of either the House or the Senate, they will impose such laws at the national level, and our democracy will become history. A vote for the GOP is a vote to turn the US into Russia.