Those Indecent Republicans

“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”

– George Washington

My dad brought home a wounded pigeon when I was a young teen. I adopted it and took it to camp that summer, asking the caretaker of a nearby one-room wildlife museum to look after it.

It didn’t take long before someone tagged me with the name Dickybird, Dickie being a nickname for Richard. Of course, the other kids thought the strange-sounding name was a hoot, and Dickybird I was.

Nicknames stick. Now President Joe Biden has become a target of a singularly mean epithet, and I don’t mean Donald Trump’s label for him as “sleepy.”

“Let’s Go, Brandon” sounds innocent. But when it’s aimed at Biden it has nothing to do with NASCAR race driver Brandon Brown. Rather, it’s become a substitute for “F**k you, Biden” that has been picked up by his right-wing detractors, a not-so-secret way of cursing the president.

And it’s been wielded by elected Republicans so it can be said aloud in mixed company, a trope that people of the same mindset know what it really means. It ordinarily would be just more Republican hate-filled verbiage and garbage, but it takes on a more sinister meaning when used by senior elected officials.

Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., closed his speech with “Let’s go, Brandon” on the House floor Oct. 21, according to the Associated Press. On the floor of the House of Representatives, where it’s recorded for posterity.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, posed with a “Let’s Go Brandon” sign at the World Series, the AP report said. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., wore it on a face mask at the Capitol, it said. And a Southwest Airlines pilot on a flight from Houston to Albuquerque signed off on landing with “Let’s go, Brandon.”

The origin of the phrase occurred Oct. 2 at a NASCAR race where Brandon Brown was being interviewed by an NBC Sports reporter. The crowd behind them was chanting something so indecipherable that the reporter interpreted it to mean “Let’s go, Brandon.” Wrong. It turned out to be “F**k you, Biden,” the AP reported.

There have been other instances in which the profanity was written or sounded. A bearded Robert De Niro shouted “F**k Trump” at the 2018 Tony awards. He received a standing ovation. But he’s not an elected official.

Times seem to be getting worse even as Biden strives determinedly to get his legacy-building agenda through his own party and Congress for those other than the country’s corporations and the top 10 percent of wealthy people.

The angry, vulgar, sour, antagonistic, uncompromising, vicious attitude is a result of Trump’s Big Lie about a stolen election.

Turning Point USA, a right-wing youth organization, held a recent event at which a member of the audience asked a question of the group’s founder, Charlie Kirk, according to a Media Matters video as reported by The Washington Post.
“At this point,” the man said, “we’re living under corporate and medical fascism. This is tyranny. When do we get to use the guns?”

Members of the audience applauded.

“No, and I’m not – that’s not a joke,” he said. “I’m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”

Kirk’s only response was that violence was what liberals wanted, the report said.

This is a good example of where all of the Trump-based lying has led — queries like this among people who believe it’s okay to kill because they think Biden stole the election, that it was “rigged,” that it was fraudulent. The Big Lie is believed by millions of people because it has been repeated ad infinitum. It led to the Trump-inspired storming of the Capitol Jan. 6.

And the repeated lying, attempts to overturn election results in several states and suppressing voting are reasons why millions of other Americans fear the return of Trump to the White House, where the would-be dictator who hates being a loser has set his sights for 2024.

But why do Trump’s followers believe his lies and the lies of elected sycophant Republicans who should know better and hang on his coattails.

“Because Trump supporters tend to assume the worst of Democrats, the press and in some cases even other politicians they see as ‘deep state,’” Asheley Landrum, a media psychologist at Texas Tech University, who studies conspiracy theories, told PBS TV station KQED in the Bay Area. “It seems very easy for them to believe those people would undermine the electoral process, that it’s a normative behavior.”

She said the conservative media such as Fox News is responsible for “stoking anger and fear, and that’s constantly your media diet. When you’re living in that environment, you really do start to see things as a war to protect your country.

“. . . Trump is the first politician that fed into that. I’d say Sarah Palin did a little bit; she was sort of the canary in the coal mine. And since then, you have more and more politicians who are playing to this.

“So we have to do something about the conservative media problem, not the presenting of different viewpoints, but the tone, the anger-stoking, the riling up, the hyperbole – all of that is very dangerous. But it’s a tricky issue with the First Amendment.”

The alarms about the danger to American democracy posed by Trump, and now his minions, have been sounding since he rode down his golden escalator at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for president June 16, 2015. They’ve only gotten louder, more strident, more desperate.

As for dicky bird, its origin is British and referred to any small bird that was common in England in the 1700s. It became Cockney slang in the 1930s for a small sound or thing.

Richard C. Gross, who covered war and peace in the Middle East and was foreign editor of United Press International, served as the opinion page editor of The Baltimore Sun.