McCarthyism to take on whole new meaning in 2023

Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor

“You just wait, Petroff, we’ll make a Republican out of you yet.”

Most of my adult life has been spent in fields dominated by conservative men. The military and car sales industry seem to lean so far right, they just may fall over from all that small government.

So when the topic of politics comes up, my political ideology tends to go over as smoothly as Forbes Avenue outside of campus.

“You’ll grow out of it” “Wait until you’re in my tax bracket,” or my personal favorite “Why do you hate America?” would be hurled at me as if my political beliefs were some kind of avoidable but treatable medical condition.

It was not unusual for a person of influence or power to try to “talk some sense into me.” I once had a boss, who happened to be the owner of a multimillion-dollar company, tell me that Hillary Clinton killed over 100 people during her rise to political power.

That’s a lot of bloodshed for someone whose political power would plateau as Secretary of State.

When you hear something often enough, from so many people, you begin to believe it. Deep in my consciousness, I’ve waited for the moment where I shed my liberal skin and transform into a gun-loving-small-government-wanting-tax-evading phoenix.

However, these feeble-minded ideologues were not completely wrong. My political ideology, while not changed, has shifted. I have always respected leadership that reached across the aisle, believed in compromise and treated their political adversaries with a level of professional respect.

That was before the tea party and the alt-right burrowed itself in the Republican party.

My views on bipartisan efforts have soured. I no longer look at collaborative efforts as a sound strategy.

My naïveté has blinded me long enough, to not realize the one concept that defines American politics.

It is only about winning.

It’s about dominating your opponent, whether it’s an election, fundraising or passing legislation. Politics is a ruthless war that few, in good conscience, can stomach.

It would be wise for the Democrats, especially the progressives, to take note of the recent events that occurred during the unprecedented 15 attempts Republicans needed to choose a house majority leader.

I am not afforded the word count or the type of language I would like to use to describe the “Alt-right” members in congress. From Jim Jordan to Matt Gaetz, opportunists that if it were not for their influence and wealth, would likely be facing serious charges.

They are the worst type of people. They are loud, dumb and most importantly wrong.

Yet here they are, winning the political war.

Democrats can sit back and laugh at the ridiculousness that is going on as the Republicans, a party that has specialized in uniting on talking points since the Reagan administration, turn against one another like a geratric version of Lord of the Flies.

Unfamiliar with power, these alt-right politicians were able to fly close to the sun without getting burned and now they operate like they are fireproof.

And while they may not be fireproof, they sure are flame retardant.

While many see this as a republican party drifting apart and spiraling out of control, I see it as an uncompromising sect that will ignore precedent and modern decorum if it means they win.

And by win, I mean get whatever they want.

They don’t play by the rules because they don’t have to. They are rarely held accountable, often given a slap on the wrist and removed from committees that they weren’t going to have any pull in anyway. They are spoiled rich kids whose narcissistic personalities demand that they win.

They would be perfect as reality show stars, instead they’re doing the next closest thing.

They’re in D.C.

This, like the insurrection, should come as a surprise to no one. The writing wasn’t just on the wall, it was plastered on the ceiling and floor as well.

The opposing party will not play by the rules. They will do whatever it takes to win. These next two years will be filled with unrealistic debt ceiling demands, ridiculous defense budget negotiations, unrelenting investigations, constant hearings and government shutdowns.

They will burn the capitol down if it means a political victory. Literally.

Democrats should not be gloating. They should be sharpening their blades of war, using this time to prepare for an unruly house majority coupled with a right-leaning supreme court that will be pushing the upcoming agenda of the at-right republicans.