How Did the U.S. Change?

I ended my blog from yesterday expressing my mystification over how the U.S. has changed from the nation I risked my life to defend into a country where more than half of the members of one party (the Republicans) believe, despite overwhelming and proven evidence to the contrary, Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Part of the answer to my question is that I misperceived the state of my homeland. Not obvious to me was that the well-to-do have always—quietly and without drawing attention to themselves—seen to it that the pesky minorities and lower classes lacked the power, political and financial, to create circumstances favorable to themselves. Billionaires in the U.S., for example, pay only 8.2 percent of their income in taxes, whereas the rest of us pay 25.4 percent. Racial prejudice is still a powerful force shaping laws and behavior throughout the U.S. And voter suppression, primarily against Latino and Black voters, is widespread. Following Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election, by April 2021, 361 bills in 47 states had been proposed by GOP lawmakers designed to restrict voting access. Because Democrats outnumber Republicans, Republicans work hard to diminish voting access and win elections by decreasing opportunities for their opponents to vote.

But my failed assessment only partly explained the status of rich-controlling-poor. It is now unquestionable that Trump and his Republican backers are trying to overturn the 2020 election by repeating the falsehood that Biden’s win was the result of fraud. All the evidence belies their claim. But truthfulness has never been a virtue Trump was known for. It is now irrevocably clear that during his presidency, Trump told lies at an unprecedented rate. According to the Washington Post, Trump had accumulated 30,573 untruths during his presidency—averaging about 21 lies a day.

And his party, the Republicans, continue to support “the big lie” that Trump won the election.

So that’s where we stand today. How did it all happen? I still don’t know, but it’s clear that the situation has always been worse than I realized. Now it’s up to us Americans to use our political will and our votes to rectify it.

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