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I worked as an elementary school teacher for 25 years, so I’m pretty good at breaking down complicated ideas into smaller, simpler, ideas. I’d like to think that I have some ability to help people think “critically,” which doesn’t mean to criticize things, but to weigh facts and evidence, and analyze ideas, to come to the most logical conclusion possible.

My wife will tell me that paragraph was condescending, that readers of the Gazette-Mail, at least those who read this section, are mostly smart or educated people.

But my purpose isn’t to change minds. My purpose is, if you agree with me, to help explain these ideas to someone who doesn’t in a way that might at least leave them open to considering the ideas.

My conclusion is simple. Donald Trump and the Republican Party, at least those who support him, are anti-American.

What logic and evidence do I use to come to this conclusion?

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America is a democracy. Democracy depends on free and fair elections. Donald Trump does not believe in free and fair elections and has been working to undermine them for years. When he ran against Hillary Clinton, he cast suspicion on the upcoming election beforehand, refusing to say whether he would accept the results if he lost. After he won the election by a narrow margin in a few states, giving him a majority in the Electoral College but losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, he claimed that he had actually won the popular vote except for noncitizens who had voted in large numbers. This is, of course, a complete fabrication.

Since his drubbing by Joe Biden in 2020, he has perpetrated what has come to be called “The Big Lie,” that Biden won because of voter fraud, an outrageous claim, given all the recounts and all the lawsuits claiming voter “irregularities” that were thrown out by outraged judges, many appointed by Trump himself (his lawyers were careful not to claim “fraud” in court, because they’d be guilty of perjury).

The Big Lie is now the platform of the Republican Party. Because of it, Republicans in state legislatures have been passing laws to give themselves more control over elections and prevent Democrats from voting in the numbers they did in 2020.

The United States of America is the world’s first modern democracy (OK, “representative democracy,” or republic), and undermining democracy in America is anti-American. Trump is undermining democracy, and the Republican Party, at least those who support Donald Trump, are, therefore, anti-American. If you’re Republican, settle down, but denounce him and the Big Lie, and call on elected Republicans to do the same, if you don’t want to be considered anti-American.

How is it even possible for Donald Trump and Republicans to refute this argument? It isn’t, so, once again, as an elementary school teacher, I recognize the first tactic of every child desperate to avoid punishment — deny, and blame someone else for what you are guilty of, saying, “I’m rubber, you’re glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

Paul Epstein is a retired teacher and active musician living in Charleston.

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