It seems to me….
“Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced by the Republican Party. We get lectured by people all day long about moral values by people who have their own moral shortcomings.” ~ Howard Dean.
Yes, let me be very clear prior to anyone criticizing what I’m about to say prior to reading it through: I’m going to generalize and what I’m about to say obviously does not apply to every Republican. There is an ideological spectrum of beliefs among Republicans just as there is for Democrats but….
No, Democrats cannot escape criticism. Many, just as with Republicans, are nothing more than prostitutes beholden to corporate lobbyists and wealthy campaign donors. They also will bend the truth to accommodate their personal agenda. Comparatively though, Democrats are marginally more principled, virtuous, and moral than their Republican counterparts – but only “comparatively”.
I was a registered Republican for quite a few years but the Republican party left me in their move to the extreme right rather than my having left them. While I still consider myself an Independent, the Democratic party has likewise moved to the right so is now about where the Republicans were fifty years ago under President Eisenhower. Consequently, I now frequently find myself siding with the liberal wing of Democrats condemning much of what Republicans stand for: policies I personally oppose, stand against, and increasingly find reprehensible. It is difficult to believe that the average registered Republican could actually support the increasingly vile, deceitful, and uncompassionate ideology espoused by their supposed party leaders.
It is impossible to understand those hapless defenders of the status quo gazing through rose-colored glasses and romanticizing about a time in our past that never was. Isn’t it far better to imagine a future that might be – and then commit to whatever is necessary to make it happen. The future remains an open book where we are free to write whatever scenarios we can imagine. Rather than reminiscing over the way things supposedly once were, envision the possible and do what is necessary to make it happen. Reality is accepting who and what one is – and then correcting what is wrong. Republicans instead normally seem to believe political ideology and orthodoxy trumps all else.
The opportunity is there if they wish to seize it. Political conventions are intended to formally anoint a party’s candidate for president but they also supposedly formulate those goals and ideals for which the party stands and supports. Republicans pride themselves as being the party of Lincoln but have lost their way. Perhaps they should look back and reconsider who they were and then once again elucidate their belief in a progressive agenda more closely aligned with those traditional principles.
While every society has by definition some degree of unavoidable systemic inequalities, conservative policies have greatly increased current economic disparities and prolonged static wage conditions for all but the wealthy. In many ways, through their refusal to address these issues, Republicans are reaping what they have sown in their prospective nomination of a demagogic egocentric bigot as their presidential candidate.
While in reality much more nuanced than indicated in the following truncated table, the depth of the chasm separating the political extremes within our country touches on almost every issue. It is obvious why reaching any compromise is proving to be overly difficult.
|Automation||Increase employee education and training/retraining programs.||Up to corporations.|
|Climate Change||Real. Support greenhouse gases reduction.||Deny. Emphasize economic impact.|
|Economic Inequality||Increase taxes on wealthy.||Not a problem. Reduce taxes on wealthy.|
|Economy||Stimulus, low interest rates, and anti-trust regulation.||Tax reductions.|
|Education||Public colleges and universities should be free to all who qualify. Education reform.||Full cost of education should be borne by student. Eliminate federal oversight.|
|Employment||Encourage small startups.||Eliminate restrictions on corporations.|
|Financial Reform||Increased regulation. Breakup large banks. Eliminate shadow banking.||Less regulation.|
|Healthcare||Expand coverage; universal healthcare.||Eliminate government programs.|
|Housing||Encourage debt reduction.||Not a problem.|
|Immigration||Expand. Permit all family members.||Limit. Only allow educated or those with special abilities. Racial and religious discrimination.|
|International Relations||Negotiate, treaties.||Bomb. Send in army.|
|Investment Income||Encourage long-term investment.||Tax reductions.|
|Research||Increase public-sector funding.||Should be up to private sector.|
|Retirement||Increase Social Security benefits.||Eliminate all programs.|
|Science||Fact, accept.||Distrust. Must conform to ideology.|
|Taxes||Increase for wealthy.||Reduce, especially for wealthy. Move to either flat or value-added tax.|
Republicans tend to be considerably more close-minded on issues. They have earned their reputation as being the party of “NO”. Rather than being empathetic and compassionate about human suffering, they tend toward selfishness to the point of immorality. How else can their opposition to accepting refugees or demands to deport families of citizens be explained? Rather than approve economic policies that would improve the U.S. economy, their primary demand always comes down to tax reductions for the wealthy and increased subsidies and tax benefits for large corporations. The major cause of individual economic difficulty is health related but they reject universal healthcare.
The party of Lincoln and abolitionists has become the party of bigotry and intolerance. Republicans reject any party platform expansion to accommodate minorities, especially African-Americans or those of Mexican-American heritage. The legal system is extremely biased against minorities as evidenced by conviction/imprisonment rates for minorities vs. Caucasians primarily as a result of Republican demands for more stringent law enforcement. Per child educational expenditures for inner-city students which are predominantly minority are much less than in urban areas. They constantly attempt to pass more stringent voter-ID requirements primarily disenfranchising minority voters (who tend to vote more Democratic) though there have been essentially no documented instances of voter fraud. When the Wisconsin primary was held, Republicans crowed that their voter ID laws did just what was intended; it disenfranchised 350,000 mostly Democratic voters. The U.S. is rapidly on its way to no longer being a true democracy.
Republican objections to LGBT rights and same-sex marriage extend to anyone seemingly “different” without consideration of what is right. There always is some new object of contempt and rejection that seems never-ending. Many Republicans attempt to base their scorn on religious beliefs but homosexuality is not mentioned in the Christian Bible – but the commandment to “judge not” is.
The so-called religious right provides a home for religious hypocrites contemptuous of anyone not sharing their particular set of beliefs but conveniently forgetting our nation was founded by many desirous of religious freedom. They forget the basic similarities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; that all believe in the same creator and God. Each might consider the other to be apostates but they should at least agree on that. Yes, there are Muslim extremists but there also are Christian extremists such as the Ku Klux Klan, Nazi extremists, or others associated with the so-called Christian identity movement about whom there normally is little if any criticism by intolerant Christians.
There should not be any place in our society for intolerance of any kind. Diversity of origin, beliefs, wealth, education… is only one of the many factors that makes our country special. Immigrants from everywhere in the world have found a home in the U.S. Our doors have traditionally been open and should remain so.
How much carnage in our streets and gathering places is required before meaningful gun control legislation can be enacted? Contrary to unrestricted weapon advocates’ beliefs, there always have been limits upon what was available to the general public. It is time to re-impose limitation on military-style weapons, to limit sales to those with suspected criminal, mental, or terrorist backgrounds, to eliminate large capacity magazines…. The streets of many of our large cities have become battlegrounds comparable to those in Syria or Iraq.
It is difficult to understand where Republicans learned basic economics. Based on their proposals, most of them must have failed Econ-101. Even the majority of Paul Ryan’s proposals would result in considerable consequential detriment to our economy. The fundamental aspect of their economic policy is always to cut taxes and all spending other than for the military. They seem to reject proven values of being willing to pay for what is needed. Police, fire, education, health, infrastructure, research… are costly, have been substantially shortchanged, and in need of considerable expenditure increases. The basic principle of increasing public investment during economic downturns and paying down debt following recovery is the opposite of what they advocate. They instead approved tax cuts when there were Federal budget surpluses and demanded austerity when facing recession.
While the U.S., faces many ecological issues, Republicans oppose almost every environmental measures with the argument that those measures would be detrimental to the economy. Climate change has become one of leading causes of world instability, resource constraints, violence, and natural disasters. Unless changes are made, there will not be any economy about which to be concerned.
The U.S. spends considerably more on its criminal justice system, including incarceration, than on education. Republicans constantly demand additional expenditure reductions for education while constantly approving tuition and fees increases denying an ever growing number of students’ access to education. This is at a time when everyone admits there is a drastic need to increase the number of college graduates – especially in STEM-related areas. Education provides the best opportunity for the lower and middle class to break the cycle of poverty but funding, especially for inner city schools, always seems to be reduced. Preschool programs, always in danger of being defunded, provide an opportunity for children from homes of those less-educated to begin school with less disadvantage when compared to students from homes with parents with higher education.
Many Republicans are military hawks with little consideration of other countries’ values or independence whose first reaction to another country’s opposition to U.S. policies is to bomb first and then send in the troops. It is very apparent that conservatives do not care how the U.S. is thought of or respected by people in other countries.
Speeches by Republicans normally contain numerous nonfactual statements, intentional misrepresentations, and blatant lies. They frequently totally disregard scientific facts or reject proven economic principles when those facts or principles are inconsistent with political ideology. It is very obvious that the Republican party attracts those less educated and probably with lower general intelligence (which might possible explain how George W Bush, quite probably the least intelligent president the U.S. has ever had, could be elected President – twice).
There are over 450 right-wing radio “news analysis” programs across the country spewing disinformation and hate; less than 40 on the liberal side to counter them. That, combined with the rise of Newt Gingrich in the early Clinton years and his vicious vilification of Clinton, the Democrats, and all New Deal public policies, set the groundwork for the McConnell era’s NO, NO, NO (even if it’s their own idea), and blocking the functioning of government by a combination of defunding and refusing to approve appointments to courts and appointments for Directors of Federal agencies thereby making it impossible for agencies to properly function (without a Director, no new rules can be issued). How long must appointment of a replacement Supreme Court justice take? Even Loretta Lynch’s appointment as head of the Department of Justice was held up for seven months until Harry Reid broke the logjam by changing Senate rules.
Yes, I’m becoming increasing distrustful of Republicans whose primary goals always seem to be tax reductions, defunding necessary programs, and rejection of anything new or different. Given the Tea Party and now Donald Trump, it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe Republicans actually care or can be trusted to act in the best interest of our nation. Republicans truly believe that Government doesn’t work, and by their actions when in power, they prove it by making it impossible for it to function.
Republican ideology has become corrupt and no longer representative of American values or principles. If it fails to reform itself, the party faithful should repudiate the basic tenets of their party and, if not corrected, consider the formation of a new party typifying traditional American values.
That’s what I think, what about you?
 Howard Brush Dean III is an American politician who served as the 79th Governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003 and Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Dean was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2004U.S. Presidential Election.