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Tarnished City, Trashed Democracy

Editor's Note: This is the editorial in this week's Irish Echo. It was written before Wednesday's assault on the U.S. Capitol.

The "City on a Hill" image has a biblical root and when you add "Shining" to it Ronald Reagan comes to mind.

Reagan was a polarizing figure in political terms, but was such a figure within the boundaries of normal, workable, politics. So when he stood up and proclaimed America's exceptional nature and democratic virtues as a counter to the likes of Soviet or Chinese suppression of freedom, he was cheered by Americans of all political stripes, and none.

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What would Ronald Reagan make of the spectacle this week in America's capital city, a metropolis built not on a hill, but atop a swampy lowland lately looking very swampy indeed?

What would Reagan make of Senator Ted Cruz and his Senate and House colleagues who are seemingly intent, at the very least, of bringing American democracy into global disrepute, and giving the likes of Russia and China the chance to point fingers and cry "hypocrite"?

Ted Cruz, to many of those who are still interested in the man, is a political puzzle.

He need not be. He is a man whose father was slandered by Donald Trump, whose wife was insulted by Trump. Yet, he has gone down on bended knee to Trump repeatedly over the past four years, this after getting his rear end kicked by Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries.

When he suspended his presidential campaign that year, Cruz actually used the "shining city" line in his withdrawal speech.

And now, aided and abetted by a bunch of mini-me confederates, Cruz is busying himself tarnishing that shining city, be it Washington in particular, or America in general.

Why so many rugged individual Texas voters keep returning this man to Congress is a mystery. Even now we would be reluctant to state that Cruz is somehow up to their standards.

Be that as it may. In the final days of the Trump presidency - and these are the final days - there is a dark cloud hanging over the shining city. America's very democracy lies bleeding. The Republican Party, once "Grand," once the "Party of Lincoln," has gone over to a dark side from which, or at least for many in it, there might be no return.

America, and American Democracy, needs a sane and sensible conservative party to fully and properly function. The current iteration of the Republican Party is not sane and sensible, though it still includes many who individually fit the category.

But we are not hearing enough from those who fit the description of sane and sensible. Instead we are hearing it from individuals who are effectively mounting a coup, or at least trying to.

We can only hope that they are as incompetent at this task as they are in their adherence to democratic norms, or to expressing cogent argument that might actually resonate with Americans.

The thing is, they have no worthy cause, so no cogent, worthy argument.

As the storm clouds gather we can only hope and pray for the shining city, for our constitution, for our democracy, for the very soul of our nation.

The fate of that soul rests, more than anywhere else, within the ranks of the Republican Party.