Russian Roulette: America’s new national pastime

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Many will feign shock and dismay one day when the depth of president-elect Donald Trump’s connection to Vladimir Putin and Russian business interests finally becomes clear. 

But it will be no more believable than this idea that Russia’s intervention in the U.S. elections in November is really no big deal. 

The only question to ask is this: How silent would those Republicans trying to shrug this off now be, had the election gone the other way? Let’s be honest, the GOP has made a living demonizing first the Soviet Union then Russia for decades. Russia is the enemy Republicans love to hate most. All of the sudden to many, it’s just no big deal?

There’s not a person in this country that could keep a straight face while looking another in the eye and saying the GOP wouldn’t much care if the Democrats had won the election and evidence surfaced of Russian intervention.

Yet when evidence surfaces that this arch-enemy has been meddling in our affairs, the best they can do is question the intelligence or suggest maybe its not that bad.

The strange, undefined connection between Trump and Putin dogged the election all the way through, yet no one on the Republican side wanted to rock the boat and entertain the idea that a foreign government – our historic world power rival at that ­– could manipulate our democracy.

Trump has recently asked why no one brought the issue up during the election. Many did. Re-watch any of the debates and it was a talking point he again and again tried to sidestep. 

The issue now is not about who won, who should have won or how the outcome might have been different. This is about whether any American political party should ever discount evidence that a foreign country interfered in our election.

Since the election has ended, a wide variety of U.S. intelligence agencies have come forward together to announce they believe – based on classified evidence – that Russia did work to manipulate the election.

A number of Republicans have been outspoken over the issue, demanding retaliation. No one has gone so far as to suggest that the election was compromised, but that a message should be sent that we will not stand for such interference in the future. It is not something all Republicans banded together to clamor for, as most have chosen to remain silent.

But the president-elect can neither remain silent or advocate for an investigation, much less action, saying, “I think we ought to get on with our lives” in response to calls for sanctions. When sanctions were announced, he went out of his way to congratulate Putin for showing restraint in

not retaliating.

This must be some kind of silly joke. The problem is no one is sure what is more humorous, the GOP’s lack of spine to speak out against it, or Trump’s complete dismissal of the country he is about to lead, in favor of complimenting our adversary.

Americans have listened for eight years about the lack of American strength in foreign policy. We listened to Trump declare, “America first” at one campaign rally after another, and here we sit, two weeks from his inauguration, wondering who he is really for. We know he is for himself. We know if there is a dollar to be made, he will be trying to make it. 

This is not about political ideology, this is one more newly exposed layer in the story of how money defines us politically today.

The GOP at large has chosen Russian roulette over fighting for the integrity of American democracy. Don’t act surprised later.

Republicans will continue to just spin the chamber, pull the trigger and hope that Trump doesn’t cost them dearly. For now, it is easier to cross fingers and hope for the best than to do the right thing.

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