Lest We Rest on Our Laurels

Radhia Gleis
7 min readNov 30, 2020

by Radhia Gleis

While I danced in the streets with the other voters who celebrated Biden’s bullet-dodging defeat of the Donald, we cannot plant this wilted wreath of greenery on our crown and call it a victory, when almost 44% of the voting population still refuse to see the bullets. So it begs the question: How in the world is this possible?

In 1995, President Bill Clinton remarked at the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Archives and Research Center, “The road to tyranny, we must never forget, begins with the destruction of the truth.” Kinda ironic coming from him, but there we have it. But what is the truth?

A new breed of Republicans emerged in the mid-eighties and early nineties who adjusted their sense of fair play to a winner-takes-all attitude, no matter what. That includes bullying, cheating, stealing, slandering, ignoring the rules of law or the Democratic system, and most of all, lying. Just flat out lying to the American people.

As the title of the 2018 article in The Atlantic by McKay Coppins succinctly puts it, “The Man Who Broke Politics: Newt Gingrich turned partisan battles into bloodsport, wrecked Congress, and paved the way for Trump’s rise.” Coppins describes Gingrich’s contention that “For their party to succeed . . . the next generation of Republicans would have to learn to ‘raise hell,’ to stop being so ‘nice,’ to realize that politics was, above all, a cutthroat ‘war for power’ — and to start acting like it.” Newt’s strategy was to demolish the bipartisan coalitions that were fundamental to legislating, and then use the resulting dysfunction to wage a populist crusade against the institution of Congress itself. Bravo, Mr. Gingrich, you have succeeded in devolving American consciousness into the Neanderthal swamp creatures you and your ilk have always been.

Gingrich kicked off the trend to gain maximum media attention by baiting Democratic leaders with all manner of epithets and insults: pro-communist, un-American, tyrannical — not only to provoke the Democrats, but also to scare the moderate Republicans. And the circus ringmasters of cable television were happy to put on a show, recklessly disregarding the consequences of their lucrative carnival acts. “The number one fact about the news media is they love fights…” Gingrich recounted. “When you give…