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The Silence of the Republican Lambs

Even as Donald Trump’s presidency fast approaches the abyss, leading members of the Republican Party have stayed largely silent. As the Soviet dissident poet Alexander Galich wrote in the 1960s, “Keep silent, you will be on top.”

NEW YORK – In the 1960s, the dissident poet Alexander Galich wrote about the mute complicity of Soviet apparatchiks in Joseph Stalin’s crimes, notably the Great Purges in which millions were detained or died in the Gulag. “Those who were silent became the bosses, because silence is gold,” Galich wrote. “Keep silent, you will be on top.”

I never would have imagined that those lines also could resonate in the United States. But President Donald Trump has changed everyone’s perception of what is possible.

Even as Trump’s presidency fast approaches the abyss, leading members of the Republican Party have stayed largely silent. They include not only Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Senator Lindsey Graham, but also former President George W. Bush, James Baker, and Dick Cheney. Their loyalty to “Republican values” entrenched since the Ronald Reagan era – low taxes, light regulation, and social conservatism – has made them complicit in the harm that the Trump administration is inflicting on America and the world.

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