Years ago, when my political party participation was at a minimum, my public pronouncements could only reverberate to me. That allowed me to be more extreme (more honest?) in calling out the opposition.

          This was a deliberate tactic. It allowed others with the same goals to take more moderate, more polite positions. I provided middle ground between my extreme and that of the oligarchs, who viewed any discussion as damnable dissent. (We had some successes.)

          Yeah, I got a kick out of being a political hitman. I was honest, just sort of mean. Unfiltered,

I was free to take immediate action to denounce the propaganda and actions of those in power.

          While I have toned down my rhetoric, I still prefer the decisiveness behind it. This means I  cringe watching the wishy-washy, namby-pamby responses Democratic leadership exhibits when confronted with challenges.

          On Jan. 1, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was rushed by ambulance to intensive care at Walter Reed Medical Center.

          The next day some of his responsibilities were transferred to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks – with no explanation. That same day the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff learned of the hospitalization, as did the Pentagon press secretary, Austin’s chief of staff and a senior military advisor.

          On Jan. 4, the same day the U.S. bombed a target in Baghdad, the Defense Department chief of staff finally told Hicks and President Joe Biden that Austin was hospitalized. Four days after the fact! The Senate Armed Services Committee found out the next day.

          Austin took responsibility for the delay on Jan. 6. He also talked to Biden that day, the president saying he had “full confidence” in Austin.

          Say what?

          As the uproar over his deliberate deception grew louder, Austin vowed he would not resign.


          President Biden should have marched into Austin’s hospital room on Jan. 4 and fired him on the spot for placing his ego ahead of national security. Decisive action: no lingering discussion of Austin’s malingering ways.

          But, no. Let’s give Republicans political ammunition for at least a week – with obviously justified criticism. Anyone else see a House hearing in the future?

          This is only the most recent example of Democratic indecisiveness. The most galling case involves the statehood status that should have been facilitated for Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico upon Biden taking office. Four more Democratic senators,  a couple more House members and six more electoral college votes would look pretty good right now.

          If there were a competition for thumb-twiddling, I’d put my money on my party.

          Of course, the most glaring case of inaction involves governors on our southern borders who are engaging in wholesale human trafficking.

          If individuals get caught going to the border to pick up one undocumented arrival, they go straight to the federal slammer, facing fines, possible prison time and the confiscation of their vehicles.

          Yet governors in Arizona, Florida and Texas have shipped busloads of undocumented immigrants to New York City, Washington D.C. and now Chicago. Heck, they’ve even put some of them on airplanes.

          Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been the public face of this trafficking, even designating his  project Operation Lone Star. He has orchestrated shipments of thousands of people northward, many arriving in the middle of the night in winter conditions foreign to the clothes on their backs.

          And, since meanness is one of GOP’s main tenets – remember small children placed in cramped cages on concrete floors after being ripped from their parents’ arms? – Texas officials are now stopping non-profits from trying to provide humanitarian aid to those people being trafficked.

          So, we get regular, media-covered updates of buses arriving in the cities so Republican officials can decry the situation at the border – which they would rather not help to solve as it provides great political fodder.

          (In the same vein, coup-plotting former President Donald Trump hopes aloud for a downturn in the economy that Bidenomics has revived so that he can use it as a campaign issue. That’s how much he cares about anyone but himself.)

          With the arrival of the first busload of immigrants in the north, federal lawmen should have rolled Gov. Abbott’s happy ass out of his office in handcuffs and straight into federal lockup, charged with the human trafficking he was masterminding.

          By now, the project has grown into organized crime, RICO, proportions. Everyone involved should be held accountable. Furthermore, unrepentant, repeat offenders really shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets while awaiting trial.

          How dangerous are these lawbreakers? In a recent interview, Abbot bragged about Texas’ policies and lamented: “The only thing that we’re not doing is we’re not shooting people who come across the border because of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder.” 

          No, Texas is not refraining from shooting unarmed migrants and asylum-seekers because that is immoral. Only the threat of prosecution has prevented the establishment of machine gun nests at the Texas border.

          I guess Abbott will judge the success of his inflammatory rhetoric by how much stochastic violence he inspires from followers. Similar Republican hate speech led to the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart  in 2019 that left 23 people dead and 22 injured. El Paso was targeted because of its high Hispanic population.

          But, no. Laws are broken with impunity and the lawbreakers are emboldened toward greater crimes.

          It’s as if Democratic leaders don’t realize they are in a fight. They just keep taking punches without throwing any. Indecision and hesitancy translate as weakness in the public arena.

          Gird your loins, guys and gals. We’re in a battle.

            (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)

(This was written & posted before Texas ordered the deaths of a woman and two children in the Rio Grande by forbidding their rescue. Obviously, everyone involved in that decision – top to bottom – should be prosecuted.)

Gird your loins; we’re in a fight

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