While doing an introvert solo weekend away a few weeks ago, I had wandered into a used book store. It was the store where I just happened to stop in front of cookbooks, the universe just knows.
One of the books I had purchased was a bit of a diary of sorts. It was a book of the pen pal letters Julia Child and Avis DeVoto sent one another during the time Julia lived all over Europe for her husband’s job (As Always, Julia by Joan Reardon/Avis DeVote). The letters began by happenstance. Avis served somewhat as her husband’s secretary, and Avis wrote back to Julia in his stead about Julia’s cookbook idea. The correspondence grew from there.
Over the years, before Julia and Paul moved permanently back to Cambridge, the two pen pals would see one another about once a blue moon. Their closeness grew solely out of their letters, which went from only being about recipes and the cookbook, to their trials and tribulation stories about husbands, children, collaborators, and of course, politics. It is the politics I found quite intriguing.
Julia and Avis were staunch Democrats. Although they both said many things that, in today’s society, would be quite the scandal, for their time, they were pretty progressive. A lot of their writing took place during the whole Russian sympathizer time.
There are quite a few similarities between then and now that are both comforting, and a bit depressing.
At the time there was Senator McCarthy going on his witch hunt for Communists, thinking they were anywhere and everywhere. We currently have a Representative McCarthy who too lives in a world not based upon reality or fact.
The Republicans then were unwilling to stand up and speak out against McCarthy, a leader of their party. We now have Republicans who refuse to accept the reality the former guy lost and who continue to espouse the Big Lie.
Party members went right along with the Senator McCarthy’s stance, essentially giving him carte blanche to do as he saw fit. Today’s Republican Party wants to give the former guy carte blanche to do as he see fits. Well, actually, the Republic party wants all of its members to be able to do as they see fit, without repercussions or consequences.
Those are just a few examples of then and now. It is kind of sad to realize the Republicans have not evolved in their thinking, although they have evolved in their willingness to subordinate democracy. Even then, Julia and Avis wondered how people could vote for them, just as many now wonder how people could have voted for the former guy, and continue to return so many Republicans back to elected seats.
My wondering has been will this always be the case, and at what point do we realize, accept, and then fight back, against the Republican encroachment on democracy, people of color, poor people, the working class, and voting rights?
What will be the tipping point where we are either a fully functioning democracy in which all are treated equal, or become an authoritarian society in which those who have rule by fiat, and those who don’t have, live in abject submission?
Please, can we work towards the former and defend against the latter? I personally don’t want my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, and so on, to live in an authoritarian society. I want them to live in the greatest democracy and representative Republic the world has ever known.
What do you want?