The Lunatics We Deserve?

2023-10-22 · 5 min read

Every age gets the lunatics it deserves. - Roy Porter, British historian

As the lunatic fringe in the United States captures more and more of what once was centrist territory, the question becomes, How could this happen?

How could the Republican majority in the House of Representatives be immobilized by eight far-right representatives of their own party, canceling the vote of some 200 colleagues?

lunatics How could a man indicted on 94 felony counts (the first president in 234 years to face criminal charges) become the leading primary candidate of the Republican Party?

How could the Republican Party become so radicalized that today their conservative hero, Ronald Reagan, would likely be deemed a RINO (Republican in Name Only, disloyal to the party or insufficiently conservative )? In today’s true believer climate he would be viewed as a questionable “compromiser” for his efforts to dialogue with his Russian counterpart in a bid to abolish nuclear weapons.

All this would have been unimaginable a few years ago. Yet it has become the baffling reality of today.

Maybe one should just shrug it off with the truism of my younger brother: “Humans. You can’t explain ‘em.” So true.

But somehow, when I’m clueless, I can’t help myself—I want to get a clue.

One such clue is Donald Trump’s campaign language, promising “I am your retribution!” This is an obvious appeal to those who feel wronged, disrespected, or unheard. They’re angry. They want the “justice” they feel they deserve. So an angry, vindictive Trump is their man. That’s understandable—albeit misguided, in my view. You won’t open the door to justice with an unhinged spokesman.

And what about legislators willing to throw their own party under the bus and make the House of Representatives nonfunctional for weeks, as urgent business languishes? Get a clue, folks. You’re not Samson, even if you’re willing bring the entire House down on everyone’s head. And suppose you were Samson, you might recall that he was crushed right alongside his foes.

So the question remains. Are the majority of Americans so angry, so uncompromising, so tribal, that they would elect lunacy? If so, look for the craziness to amplify exponentially.

My hope is that as a nation we are wiser than that, choosing neither far right not far left, but a centrist position for the common good, moving away from both minority rule and attack politics.

Surely we deserve better. And we’ll choose better. Won’t we?

Jim Hannah

Dad's short bio goes here.