As unemployment levels rise higher than during the Great Recession, many of our elected officials are hard at work — that is, spending all day and night dunking on former President Donald Trump.
After witnessing Trump’s desperate denial of the election results, and his incitement of a riot on the U.S. Capitol, we have allowed our elected officials to be consumed with anti-Trump rhetoric. Members of the Republican Party have achieved elevated statuses simply for their opposition to Trump and his antics.
This prospect is deeply detrimental to the material well-being of our entire country. Our elected officials ought to, at the very least, attempt to get help for us, and anti-Trump rhetoric has clearly become a distraction in that process. It’s time we let our officials know that praise will only come when they get to work for us, beginning with providing COVID-19 relief.
While there may be a political price to pay, we can find numerous examples of conservative figures receiving elevated profiles for joining the “Never Trump Republicans” crowd; membership is as simple as recognizing that Trump’s claims of election fraud are untrue.
For example, Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah and former presidential candidate, has received glowing profiles for his willingness to stand up to Trump. Similarly, much praise has been directed towards Wyoming representative Liz Cheney, who has shown contempt for Trump’s role in the Capitol riot.
Defying the most popular figure in your own party may require some bravery, but it does not get Americans relief any quicker. While these two conservatives remain elevated for their supposed courage, neither has done enough to provide relief. Cheney voted against recent legislation to advance another COVID-19 relief package. While Romney’s child care relief bill does provide support to families, the COVID-19 relief bill he introduced to President Joe Biden is less than half the size of the current bill being debated.
This dynamic isn’t unique to Republicans; Democrats consistently used performative condemnations of Trump during his time in office. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was meme-ed and GIF-ed into oblivion for her “shady” clapping and ripping up of a speech at two of Trump’s State of the Union addresses.
Meanwhile, the House speaker won’t even bring popular legislation among her party onto the floor for a vote, including Medicare for All, which would bring healthcare to many more Americans during an ongoing pandemic.
Politicians and other political actors often brush off calls to turn the focus away from Trump by reiterating the seriousness of his actions. Of course, the former president’s calls for the trashing of ballots on baseless claims of fraud are not conducive to a healthy democracy. Recognition of this fact is not an excuse to waste any more time rehashing the actions of a politician who has been out of office for over a month.
Nevertheless, it’s clear to see that this is the preferred course of action for many politicians. During the Senate impeachment trial, Democrats put much effort into what was presented as a compelling case to convict Trump. The problem arises in what immediately followed — the Senate went on a week-long vacation, citing Valentine’s Day as the cause to head home.
This comes after President Biden, along with the senators from Georgia, promised to send out COVID-19 relief “immediately” — relief that is nowhere to be found a month into Biden’s term. We cannot handle any more broken promises — politicians and citizens can no longer be distracted by the former president when so many Americans are suffering.
Political discourse is unhealthy when the politicians with the highest statuses consider rejections of blatant conspiracies and political violence as the peak of their careers.
Getting Americans help, especially during a time of many concurrent crises, is much more worthy of political clout, and our elected officials are failing miserably at that.
Contact your representatives and demand that they address the many crises facing our nation, starting with the long-overdue passage of COVID-19 relief.
Our elected officials continue to brush off the work they’re meant to do because they face no consequences. It’s important that we remind ourselves (and everyone around us) that our politicians are meant to work for us, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Having these conversations with friends and family will invigorate us to hold our officials accountable, rather than elevating them above us.
Nicholas Black PO ‘24 is from Rochester, New York. He’s a big fan of Ritt Momney’s music.