Commentary: Hunt for the elusive Republican

WASHINGTON – On a beautiful fall afternoon this week, I went hunting. For the zebra. In Maryland.

It wasn’t about hunting in the sense of Don Jr. and Eric Trump of pulverizing unsuspecting wildlife with semi-automatic gunfire. That hunt involved driving winding roads through woods and housing estates in Prince George County, where three zebras escaped from an exotic animal breeder two months ago. Two remain on the loose, a Bonnie and Clyde equine in a habitat not far from Joint Base Andrews, where the closest thing to a natural predator is the Food Lion.

Since Panda Cam made its debut at the National Zoo, the Capital Region hasn’t been so crazy about animals. Why so much agitation around these renegades? As the Washington Post’s ad hoc zebra correspondent Maura Judkis described, zebras have for some “achieved near-mythical status as symbols of freedom, resistance and independence.” The mythology has only grown since the head of Prince George’s Animal Services Division predicted they would be captured within a week – six weeks ago.

I encourage the runaway zebras because they refused to run with the herd. We need more of that here.

    After rolling in the mud, Lissa walks past a herd of zebras in the reserve on April 4, 2014, at the Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee.  (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

The evening after my zebra hunt, an equally strong-willed duo distanced themselves from the pack in Washington: Republican Representatives Liz Cheney (Wyo.) And Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), who refused to join the rest of Donald Trump’s GOP on his no goose towards authoritarianism.

The lone couple voted with the Democrats on the Jan.6 committee to hold Trump’s adviser Stephen Bannon in contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena and refusing to comply with a subpoena seeking relief. information on why he told his subscribers on his Jan. 5 radio show that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow” and “we are on … the point of attack tomorrow.”

“Based on the committee’s investigation, it appears Mr. Bannon had substantial prior knowledge of the Jan. 6 plans and likely played a significant role in formulating those plans,” Cheney said Tuesday evening.

Cheney addressed the rest of the Republican herd still trapped in Trump’s corral: “Almost every one of my colleagues knows, in your heart, that what happened on January 6 was deeply wrong” and that it there was no evidence of widespread electoral fraud. “I ask my colleagues, please consider the fundamental questions of right and wrong here … All of us elected officials must do our duty to prevent the dismantling of the rule of law.”

Trump calls Cheney and Kinzinger “RINO” – Republicans in name only. He used the same term this week to denigrate former Secretary of State Colin Powell posthumously: “It was a classic RINO.”

By Trump’s standard, Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater would also be RINOs today. This is because the real RINOs are Trump and his supporters. They abandoned the GOP of Reagan, McCain and Powell – the internationalist and free trade champions of human rights, the rule of law and limited government – and adopted the polar opposite: isolationist, protectionist , white nationalist, vulgar attackers of justice and democratic structures. Trump’s Republican herd has achieved collective immunity from the truth.

In contrast, Cheney and Kinzinger haven’t changed their stripes. They stick to honorable republican traditions. For the sake of our country, we need more zebras like them to break free from Trump’s exotic barnyard.

I didn’t expect to find the fleeing zebras as I drove near the farm where they escaped. But there was a thrill knowing that a zebra could appear around any bend, as incongruous as a runaway kangaroo in Kansas City or a fleeing yak in Yakima. Instead, I found schools and churches, blockhouses and high-voltage power lines, road crews and construction crews, a golf course and a Hereford herd. I saw a distant equine shape silhouetted against a shady meadow behind a row of houses. It was almost certainly a horse. But I would like to think it was a zebra.

I need to believe.

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Jennifer R. Strohm

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