In July of 1567, Mary I of Scotland, more popularly known as Mary Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in her native Scotland for the alleged murder of her husband. In May of 1568 she escaped her captors and fled to England to seek out the protection of her cousin, Elizabeth I. She was hopeful that Elizabeth would help her regain her throne. But the English also suspected that the Scot Mary had murdered her husband as well, and she was instead kept in a state of semi-imprisonment in England. Queen Elizabeth didn’t know what to do with her.
In point of fact Elizabeth was horrified at the idea of subjecting her cousin to English justice with the prospect of executing her. It was not from love of Mary or loyalty to the family that imbued Elizabeth with this reluctance, but terror at the idea of executing a British Queen. It was all just a little too close to home. Elizabeth believed, and not without reason, that if she had Mary executed then someone, some day, might execute her.
The forces acting on Elizabeth were considerable. Should she let Mary live there was also the possibility that Mary, as a Catholic, could become a considerable symbolic force against the Protestant Elizabeth. It was a conundrum that kept Elizabeth awake nights and continued to do so long after she ordered the execution of her cousin.
The prospect of reprisal has stayed the hand of many monarchs and politicians before and since. While it’s easy for armchair critics to demand draconian vengeance on political enemies, the forces that keep the people in power from actually carrying out those retributions can be considerable.
It cannot be underestimated to what extent this concern extends to politics in the world today in general and to the United States in particular. Many of us (including yours truly) frequently call for the imprisonment of Donald Trump, packing the Supreme Court, the end of the filibuster, the abolition of the electoral college, and so on. But it is more than just a rhetorical question to what extent these tools of justice, once sharpened, can be used against us.
For example, does anyone doubt for a moment that, should Republicans regain power in both houses of Congress in 2022, there won’t be an immediate impeachment of President Biden? And can there be much doubt that, when that impeachment fails to convict him, as it almost certainly will, there will not follow a series of impeachments up to and including the 2024 election?
Republicans are already sharpening their knives at the prospect, and if you doubt that for a minute then you must be naive. We have seen the monstrous evils and hypocrisies Republicans are capable of. Should they ever again regain power and own the three branches of government, for example, it will almost certainly be the end of Democracy in the United States. Be prepared for an American Gilead should that ever happen. And if the Republican Party is permitted to continue to exist, it very well could happen.
This is one of many reasons why the Republican Party must go. It cannot be permitted to exist any longer. And if we cannot destroy the Republican Party de facto, then we make certain that we do so de jure. That is to say, laws need to be enacted making being a Republican illegal. Behaving like a mountain of excrement should come with a stiff jail sentence.
One piece of legislation that begs to be put into law is that it must become unlawful for an elected or unelected federal official to be a climate science denier. Another is it must be unlawful for an elected or unelected federal official to be an anti-vaxxer. Yet another is it must be unlawful for an elected or unelected federal official to incite the public or their constituents to violence, either directly or by the use of veiled innuendo.
It should become unlawful for an elected or unelected federal official to deliberately mislead the public. Promoting the idea that undifferentiated protoplasm is a human being with civil rights should carry a still fine and a stiffer jail sentence.
It should become unlawful for an elected or unelected federal official to deliberately act in anything other than the best interest of the American people. It should be a federal crime for anyone to influence policy or legislation for financial or personal gain.
In short, behaving like a hypocritical pile of quivering excrement should be against the law. Impossible, you say? Not so. To a limited extent they’re doing it in Germany and Austria right now.
In Germany and Austria it’s against the law to deny the Holocaust. And lest you think this law is just another feel good paper tiger with no teeth, think again. People have spent time in prison in Germany and Austria for just that reason, including a British citizen, the notorious historian and Holocaust denier David Irving, who was sentenced to 3 years in an Austrian prison.
There’s an old joke that the Viennese are a people who want the world to believe that Beethoven was Austrian and Hitler was German. But there is some serious legislation behind that joke. Austrians have made it very difficult for a citizen or a visiting member of the world community to behave like a Nazi thug. They have suffered the humiliation of giving birth to one of the world’s greatest monsters, and it has wonderfully concentrated their minds.
So we are left with a choice. We can shrink away from our duty out of fear of reprisals, or we can righteously legislate fascism out of existence. Lest you think the United States can’t survive without a two party system, think again. There is nothing natural or automatic about it. Alexander Hamilton warned against partisanship in the Federalist Papers.
Republicans are no longer the good guys, as they were in the time of Abraham Lincoln, or the loyal opposition as they were in the time of Dwight Eisenhower. They have become abominations of corruption and lies and they must go. They must go or they will destroy democracy. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.