Letter to the Editor:

For anyone interested in how political ideology has been affected over the events of the past month — or the past four years, actually — it is necessary to place things in historical perspective. And nowhere is this more evident than in what has happened to conservatism. And to the Republican Party, which has long claimed to champion conservative principles.

Lets start by going back to the great, great grandfather of the movement, Edmund Burke. Recoiling from the mob violence of the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century, he became the voice of moderation, of tradition, and the importance of conserving time honored values. And for the following 200 years, that was indeed the essence of conservative political thinking, and the heart and soul of the Republican Party:  traditional values, limited government, fiscal and personal responsibility. In a word, moderation.

That movement, after four years of Donald Trump, is all but dead. The violent mob that so terrified Edmund Burke in the 1790s, is now an integral part of today’s Republican Party. Since the events of Jan. 6, that same party of erstwhile “moderation”, has fully embraced a take-no-prisoners approach to governing; that cannot, or will not, distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality. That, following the lead of the now former president, seeks violent retribution against its perceived enemies.  

It is now a party of cowardice led by the likes of Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz and our very own Ron Johnson. It is now a party that actively encourages the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell. It is a party that finds a dangerous know-nothing like Marjorie Taylor Green to be an acceptable and valued representative of what used to be the party of moderation. That party is now the voice of radical extremism. It is a party all to willing to feed and manipulate the worst instincts of mob rule.

Perhaps this sad and fraught moment will pass and that true champions of conservative values like Edmund Burke, Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower can rest easy in their graves; that sanity will eventually prevail.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Jeff Laadt

Eagle River