I am wishful, though not hopeful, that we are about to see the demise of the Republican Party. Now, I know that my right-leaning friends will say to themselves and or their spouses in these days of ‘sheltering-in-place,’ “well, he’s just a Democrat.”
Here’s the thing, though – I am not a Democrat. I don’t like the Democratic party for their lack of job creation strategy, their fixation with people made rich by their own hard work and/or genius, their embrace of the progressive left’s virulent antisemitism and anti-Zionism, their complete lack of understanding of how the economy really works. But, by-and-large, with the exception of the extreme left (a minority of the party) they are not malicious, they are not generally avaricious, and they are not vicious.
Last week, before the Republican ranks were diminished by 5 of their tribe being self-isolated due to Covid-19, all 51 Republican Senators voted against a bill extending unemployment and paid sick leave for workers affected by Covid-19. In parallel, the Republican Governors of Texas and Oklahoma categorically refused to close public places and the latter posted a picture of him and family at a crowded restaurant saying what a good time they were having. The Republican Governor of Florida has to-date refused to close the beaches, although many local municipalities have done so. Every day Trump has a presser where he misrepresents, lies, evades, and deflects responsibility for this crisis (while his top infectious disease guy, Dr. Fauci, slaps his own forehead in disbelief). Remember, Trump is the man who my father referred to as “the kind of guy who gets kicked out of a truly shitty fraternity.” How right he was and still is.
Trump and his Trumpettes are right about one thing. They did not cause Covid-19. But they own, and I mean completely own, the resulting disastrous lack of preparedness, lack of response, and the misrepresentation of the risk in response to this crisis.
The Trump administration’s lackadaisical and irresponsible response is the logical culmination of 40 years of Republican insistence (and God only knows how many billions of dollars spent advertising) that “government is the problem” and “government can’t solve our problems” and “government is too involved in our lives.” It’s the Republican’s 40 years of science-denial and their propagation of the logic that an individual’s opinion trumps (pun intended) real facts that has led our nation right to this. The fact that the Trump administration totally eliminated our top-level Federal pandemic planning group is only the icing on the cake – they have been whittling away at “government” for years.
And then there is the uniquely partisan, malevolent, and just plain amoral response demonstrated recently by Republican Party leaders. I mentioned the idiotic governors, and heartless Republican senators earlier. Now let us add the fact that Trump was briefed on this in early January and did nothing. Let us ponder not letting cruise ships dock and let the sick be cared for because this administration did not want “the numbers” to go up. Let us consider that senators who were briefed on this crisis took no action legislatively but dumped their stock portfolios knowing full well what the impact on the markets was going to be. Let us consider that of the $1.3 trillion that the Republican Senate has proposed (with no discussions with the Democrats), $500 billion would be at the disposal of the Treasury Department with no oversight, and the vast majority of the rest aimed at corporate bailouts rather than supporting individual American families in their time of need. Let us really take a look at the fact that the Department of Justice has proposed that it be given the ability to enact “indefinite detainment” for anyone they choose to detain, under the guise of crisis response.
And, let us never forget that these “small government”, “government is not the answer” proponents and their supporters are lining up in droves for government subsidies, corporate bailouts, and trillions of dollars in stock market support in the form of increased liquidity. This is the party who floated the trial balloon that perhaps we should “give” poorer people less because they contribute less to the economy and the tax base. That’s right, the folks working at minimum wage, part-time, with no benefits, the folks who are still working while the rest of us shelter in place and order delivery – they should get less.
Let us re-evaluate the impact that this pervasive no science and no facts attitude has worked its way to our next generation. The Millenials, those so concerned with social justice, parties on the beaches with no concern for the fact that while their risk of death may be lower than mine, they are nevertheless increasing the risk to me. One small university issued a closure notice, arranged transportation for every student to return home only to have 50 students miss their shuttle to the airport because they had partied too hard the night before and were all hung-over. So much for their belief in social justice. Their “freedom” is more important than our collective health. My response is wondering what the reverse of “OK Boomer” should be.
Today’s Republican Party should cease to exist. They have done too much damage to our values, our society, and our souls. Their vacant and vapid economic and social philosophies and agenda are totally discredited. Their foreign policy is killing our reputation and destroying the goodwill achieved by their predecessors. Their disdain for the individual American and our lot is not only palpable, it has been institutionalized. They only win by gerrymandering and voter suppression. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds and their values are at odds with our collective conscience and our Constitution.
We should put the entire current party out of our fucking misery. I understand that my colleagues and friends who are Republicans will bristle at this but hear me out. That Republican party, the one who campaigned on compassionate conservatism, the party of Rockefeller, Buckley, and Dirksen is dead and gone. What is left is Republican in name only. Trump and McConnell and their lackeys do not give a shit about you, your family, your career, or your future. They care about power, and mega-donors, and billionaires.
To my Republican friends, I say vote all these assholes out of office and replace them with a conservative opposition to the Democrats that is governed by real values and an intellectual basis that is defensible. Win by having better ideas, not by cheating. Create a party that is inclusive – women, minorities, workers. Acknowledge that most poor people in this country are not in that position because of some moral failing. Insist on programs that work with active participation of those being helped, as opposed to giveaways. Stop belittling education and science and engage in debates based on evidence and facts. You might be surprised at how much support that new Republican party would have.