Eagle with a Broken Wing

A thought experiment about how we rise above base politics and heal our fractured two-party system

Sheldon Clay
ILLUMINATION
Published in
7 min readOct 10, 2023

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Photo by Alfred Kenneally on Unsplash

I’ve been struggling to put my finger on exactly what about the Republican Party I find so disturbing.

It’s easy to make a list. The lies. The crazy. The corruption. The grift. The MAGA death cult. The clownishness. The lack of principle. The lack of spine. The delusional thinking. The contempt for law and order. The petty meanness. The hypocrisy. The racism. The betrayal.

The smug answer is all of the above, but that does nothing to move the nation forward. You can’t solve a problem if you can’t define it.

So in the interest of specificity I’ve been letting my mind run like one of Albert Einstein’s old thought experiments, looking for a deeper, more actionable insight. Here’s my unifying theory. Normally, political parties work to organize people around competing viewpoints in a larger attempt to solve the nation’s problems. Now, whether you’re talking about big issues like the debt crisis and climate change or routine ones like confirming military promotions, the Republican Party is the problem.

This is not a new discovery. In 2012 conservative-leaning political scholars Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein published an analysis…

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Sheldon Clay
ILLUMINATION

Writer. Observer of mass culture, communications and creativity.