In the biblical book of Daniel, you read a story about King Nebuchadnezzar, who raised an enormous statue of himself, a golden idol to which the subjects of his kingdom were to bow down or be tossed alive into a burning fiery furnace. It was a monument to ego and a deadly trap for any who refused to bow down.
It reminds me of the American political scene right now, and particularly the situation in Alabama. As we draw nearer to the elections that will fill a U.S. Senate seat and the governor’s office, Alabama Republicans are all bowing to the tarnished idol of the Republican Party that is Donald Trump.
This was to be expected of Mo Brooks who rallied insurrectionists on Trump’s behalf. I’m not surprised that a few others have done all they can to garner Trump’s endorsement. I am shocked that Gov. Kay Ivey has bowed to the idol by declaring the presidential election was stolen in one of her recent TV ads.
I seriously thought our governor had more integrity than that. I like a great deal of what she has done in office, but this is a bridge too far for me. Countless investigations, recounts, lawsuits — you name it — have exhaustively proven that the only person who attempted to steal the presidential election was Trump. The governor’s campaign ad was nothing more than blatant pandering.
Katie Britt was my lone hope for the U.S. Senate seat. She possesses the energy, personality and experience to be a good U.S. senator, but she, too, has bowed to the idol, having made a trip to Florida to court Trump’s approval. I am so disappointed I can barely find words to express it.
Does any Alabama Republican have the guts to simply speak the truth and say that Trump actually lost the election, that he actually did attempt to overthrow the government and that he is most certainly not someone to whom anyone should bow down?
The obvious answer is, no. I have never been a politician and don’t want to be one, but I can’t imagine wanting to hold a public office so badly that I would sell my soul to win an election. God help us if we have fallen to such depths.
Are there any in the Republican Party who, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the story in Daniel, will refuse to bow to the idol, who are willing to be thrown into the fiery furnace of public opinion and run the risk of losing an election because their personal integrity demands it? If I can find one such person in the Republican Party, running for governor or senator I will know I have found a man or a woman worthy of the public trust that they seek.
Referring to another biblical story, Abraham had a little bargaining session with God over the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah because his nephew, Lot, had decided to move to those cities. God was planning to destroy them because of the immorality found therein. Abraham bargained with God, getting the Almighty to say he would spare the place if only 10 righteous men could be found.
I have often wondered what would have happened if Abraham had continued his bargaining session. Could he have wheedled God down to saving the place if even a single righteous person could be found in those cities? We will never know, but there is the New Testament story in which Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep. In that parable, the shepherd leaves the 99 to go find the one that was lost, so there is a possibility.
I don’t know if we have 10 Republicans running for state or national office in Alabama who have not bowed to Trump. I was hoping for just one in either race, just one, but I have yet to find one if such a person exists. Back when I first became old enough to vote, there was a massive shift underway in the South. Many people were changing allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
The primary motivation for these moves was the idea that the values those voters held were no longer visible to them in the Democratic Party. I had always wondered what that felt like. Now I know. The Republican Party I grew up with no longer exists. It has left me. I look at today’s Grand Old Party and wonder: What happened?
Today’s Republican Party has drifted to a level of extremism that permits it to view an attempted coup based upon a blatant lie as something to be worshipped. I can’t abide that. It feels like someone I have known all my life has unexpectedly died.
What has supplanted the party of my youth is unrecognizable to me. Maybe it is time for a little metaphorical fire and brimstone so we can start again in hope of finding a conservative political party that at least knows the difference between the truth and a lie.
Gary Cosby Jr. is photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Readers can email him at email@example.com.