Back in the day, we all, or almost all, liked Ike around here in our proud but humble corner of the world. As a child I stood in a crowd of children on York Street near the Square, all of us waving our small flags, welcoming the President to Gettysburg. Later on, Mamie sightings were common around town as the president’s wife shopped and chatted in the local stores. Dignitaries came and went. I once saw President Nehru of India in his well-known “Nehru” jacket and cap walking out of the old, pre-fire Hotel Gettysburg on the Square. We felt a part of something really big, something we were proud of. The Dwight Eisenhower brand of Republicanism was something we could share in and admire.
Since then, the Republican Party has changed a good bit. Would it be unfair to say that many Republicans—elected officials and party spokesmen especially—are pretty angry these days and sometimes a little fact-resistant? Critically important public health measures during the pandemic like masking, social distancing, and vaccines have seemed to many of them like an imposition, an affront to their liberty. Election results that have been recounted and recertified twice, as in Pennsylvania, have been contested and yet another recount, this time framed as a “forensic audit,” is being called for. The personal information of Pennsylvania voters including social security numbers and driver’s license information will be gathered and entered into a data base with PA taxpayers—us—footing the bill, assuming this audit goes forward.