Let's go with the Jurassic Park metaphor.
I think most Americans like theme parks. They like them to give them their money's worth. They don't want to go there every day, but when they show up, they expect expensive, greasy food, exciting rides and probably some sunburn.
I think a lot of Americans went "oooh, dinosaurs!" when Sarah Palin appeared on the scene. It got even more exciting when Trump showed up because he's a T-rex with dentures. The thing of it is, though, dinosaurs aren't really theme park material (as Jurassic Park so entertainingly demonstrated). I mean, they're still cool? But fuckin' hell triceratops shit was not on your agenda.
I think things got really dumb when the cages failed. Yeah, there's a few people who think this is exactly the sort of vacation they've been missing but by and large? Nobody was here to actually participate in any of this shit. They wanted to ride around in a jeep and stare at a brontosaurus from a safe distance.
And I think we're at the point where there are still a few people going "DINOSAURS FUCK YEAH!" as they run around saying "Bambiraptor! Sauroposeidon!" to anyone who will listen but most people just wanna go home, man. This is not what they signed up for, they'd really rather get back to normal, what was wrong with the goddamn tilt-a-whirl, you knew what you were in for with a tilt-a-whirl.
"What do you mean, an armadillo is fucking with my OB-GYN's supply chain," they say, not wanting to think about abortion, periods, misoprostol, mifiprestone or lady bits at all, really, do we need to go to war over everything now?
And by and large, the Democrats are slapping the side of the tilt-a-whirl while the Republicans are looking for goats to chain to a stake.
Absolutely. Vigilance is a must. But I think we can all acknowledge that this is a very different discussion in 2023 than it would have been in 2017.