Updated: Jun 22, 2021
The Republican Party, the GOP, the Party of Lincoln. Call it whatever you want, but one thing it can no longer be called is "American". Here are five reasons why.
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For the past decade, the Republicans have done more to destroy democracy than any foreign power. Beginning with the Obama administration, Republicans have lied, cheated, and then, they even sought to violently overthrow the government.
During this time, they have repeatedly gone against the will of those who put them in office by voting against any Democratic measures aimed at improving their lives, including healthcare, unemployment benefits, pandemic relief and voting rights. And they have staunchly defended the multiple illegal actions of a Republican Commander-in-Chief while criticizing a Democratic one who dared to challenge these acts.
Yes, in my view, being a Republican is the most un-American thing anyone can be.
Starting with the birther lie, the false claim that President Obama was not born in this country, Republicans have continued to spread falsehoods, misinformation and conspiracy theories in an effort to maintain their hold on the seats of power. It was this lie that Donald Trump used to springboard his political career. He constantly harassed President Obama, giving rise to the assertion that Obama was not a legitimate president.
When asked for the source of his birther controversy, Trump predictably lied about that. Instead of providing concrete evidence, he blamed the rumor on his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Perhaps this was an attempt to create a rift between Clinton and Obama. It didn’t work.
When it came to Trump’s first impeachment trial, Republican senators defended their vote to acquit by stating “let the voters decide”. While they admitted that Trump did indeed commit impeachable offenses, they falsely stated that it wasn’t their duty to remove a sitting president, but that was up to those who elected him to decide if he deserved a second term.
Of course that was all shot to Hell thanks to the Big Lie of a stolen election. As the election results trickled in, and Trump’s lead in key states evaporated, the machinations that Trump created during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he thought he was going to lose to Hillary Clinton, about a rigged election were put into motion. Cries of voter fraud and demands for recounts led to the January 6th insurrection.
Despite it being nationally televised, Republicans, and their propaganda outlets, continue to lie about the insurrection. While the insurrection itself was predicated on the lie that the election results could somehow be overturned, it’s the lies that followed that continue to threaten democracy. They threatened the pillar of American democracy: the peaceful transfer of power.
Even before the insurrectionists were being politely escorted from the Capitol, the Republicans were seeking to rewrite the events of the day. They first tried to claim that the insurrectionists weren’t Trump supporters at all, but Antifa agitators dressed as Trump supporters. They ignored the chants of “Fight for Trump” and the multiple pro Trump banners.
They called the rioters “peaceful protestors” who could be mistaken for tourists. They cried that it couldn’t be called an “armed insurrection” because the rioters had no firearms, ignoring the poles, bats and chemical spray the insurrectionists were using to attack Capitol police.
They blamed the Capitol police and the Justice Department for not reacting swiftly enough to the threat, while ignoring that it was Donald Trump who invited them to Washington and who incited the insurrection. And finally, Fox News' Tucker Carlson came up with the outlandish accusation that the rioters were actually members of the FBI.
What kind of government preys on the insecurities of its participants? Well, there was Nazi Germany, that used Jews as a scapegoat; Stalinist Russia, that persecuted perceived enemies of the state and murdered millions; Communist China, which used The Great Leap Forward to vilify the intelligentsia in an effort to create a “perfect society”; and then there is the current Republican Party, which uses fear to demonize the opposition with false information and conspiracy theories.
A tried and true scare tactic is to falsely claim that Democrats are coming for your guns. This NRA-backed fear mongering not only ensures campaign contributions, but also sparks an increase in gun sales. It is a tactic that defies logic because it goes contrary to the actual facts. A majority of Americans favor stronger gun control measures. The United States leads the world in both gun ownership and gun deaths.
Despite these overwhelming facts, it is virtually impossible for a Republican to get elected without making the erroneous assertion that Democrats are going to take away the guns of “law abiding citizens”.
Fear of immigrants has long been used to promote a political agenda. From “No Blacks, no Irish” on the windows of Bostonian businesses, to persecution of Chinese immigrants in the western United States, to the Japanese Interment Camps during World War II, xenophobia has been a tool to create an us against them attitude.
In the modern era, it’s the US border with Mexico that has those on the right up in arms. Their claims that Democrats want open borders stokes the fear that immigrants will somehow take away the jobs of low-skilled laborers who support the right-wing agenda.
This is nothing less than classic misdirection. While the Republicans point to illegal immigration as the cause of financial strife, the elite are busy lining their pockets with enormous corporate profits.
What Republicans sold as “tax reform” was nothing more than a gift to corporations as the corporate tax rate was cut from 35% to 21%. The usual “trickle down” excuse that Republicans use to justify these actions has, as usual, resulted in only a very small amount going to the average taxpayer while corporate executives lined their pockets with higher profits. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which is being strongly opposed by Republicans, proposes raising the rate to 28%, still far below the previous rate.
Yet Republicans would have you believe the problem is immigrants, both legal and illegal. They ignore the fact that America is a nation of immigrants. Instead, they’d rather stoke the fires of fear and hate.
When it comes to stoking the fires of fear, no group comes close to the religious right. I mean, how can you beat eternal damnation for a punishment for not following their ultra-conservative dogma? From religious intolerance to lies about late term abortions, this collection of zealots truly epitomizes how the triple threat of lies, fear and misinformation are behind their twisted agenda.
For years the religious right has tried to claim that President Obama was a closet Muslim who wanted to invoke Sharia Law, and it was only through their efforts that this didn’t happen. Playing on the fears of the memory of 9/11, they have used their own form of extremism to attempt to create a “Christian nation” that they insist was the intent of the Founding Fathers.
Many on the right view Donald Trump as the savior of this ideal. They believe Trump was sent by God to prevent the evil plans of Barack Hussein Obama from coming to fruition. Indeed, they believe it was only by electing Trump that America escaped becoming a Muslim nation.
They also claim that doctors are permitted to perform “abortions”, even after the baby is born. While this is outlandish to even consider, many ministers took to the pulpit to spread this lie in their weekly sermons. This led to many states passing laws that require parents to pay for funeral expenses for an aborted fetus.
At the heart of Republican fear are their inherently racist policies. Their efforts and voter suppression and refusal to allow certain elements of our American history from being taught in our schools are motivated by the fear that they will become a minority in America in about 25 years. As a result, the White supremacists at the heart of the Republican Party have launched multiple efforts to ensure minority rule.
Those on the right are espousing replacement theory, the belief that the growth of minority populations, as well as illegal immigrants, will ultimately replace White America. They see Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project as efforts to demonize Whites while elevating people of color. As a result, many Republican-led states have enacted legislation to refuse to allow schools to include them in their curriculum, or risk the loss of vital state funding.
Among their elements of fear are their depictions of the Black Lives Matter movement as an instrument designed to overthrow the government. The call to “defund the police” in response to law enforcement treatment of minorities is seen as the initial step in creating a socialist state.
The voter suppression efforts being pushed by multiple Republican state legislatures are directly targeting minorities in an effort to prevent them from voting in the upcoming midterms. Republicans fear another loss and are taking strong measures to influence the outcome.
So, fear is indeed a prime motivator in the Republican Party.
Dereliction of Duty
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that it was his duty to ensure that President Obama was a one-term president. He made a similar announcement at the start of President Biden’s administration, stating he was ‘100 percent’ focused on stopping the Biden administration. If this sounds like someone more focused on personal vendettas than working for the people who put him in office, it’s because that’s exactly what it is.
When Donald Trump blamed the lack of legislation on the “Do-nothing Democrats”, it was actually McConnell who let hundreds of Democratic led initiatives pile up on his desk as he refused to bring them to the Senate floor for consideration. McConnell has also promised a ‘100 car pile-up’ as he would enact a scorched earth policy if Democrats eliminate the filibuster.
And while he pushed through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, after opposing Merrick Garland’s confirmation during the Obama administration, McConnell has stated that if a Supreme Court vacancy occurred during the Biden administration, and Republicans had regained control of the Senate as a result of the 2022 midterms, he would block any Biden nominee the same as he did Garland.
Does this sound like someone working to benefit America?
McConnell isn’t alone in his dereliction of duty to the American people. By refusing to negotiate while whining that Democrats aren’t being bipartisan, Republicans have earned their reputation as being the Party of No. While this worked well for them during the Obama administration, getting them big wins in the midterm elections, it is doing nothing to help Americans who are struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Republicans opposed President Biden’s pandemic relief package, forcing Democrats to go it alone using the process of Budget Reconciliation to pass the bill with only a simple majority. Instead of working to benefit the people they were chosen to represent, they voted along the party line and refused to give struggling Americans much needed assistance during very difficult times.
McConnell and every other member of Congress took an oath to defend America against all enemies “foreign and domestic”. Yet, on numerous occasions Republicans refused to honor this oath.
Instead they swore fealty to one man over the interests of the country. When the first impeachment trial was held, Republicans justified their failure to hold Trump accountable by claiming that he had “learned his lesson” and it was up to the voters to decide his fate. The second impeachment trial again saw Republicans abandoning their oath of office. Instead, they claimed that the purpose of impeachment was to remove Trump from office, which had already occurred via the election. All the while they continued to back the Big Lie and many refused to recognize Biden’s victory.
Those Republicans who respected their oath and voted to hold Trump accountable were vilified by members of their own party. They were censured, faced being primaried out of office and roundly booed for doing exactly what they were sworn to do when they were elected.
Had Republicans upheld their oath, there would have been no January 6th insurrection, no Big Lie, no pointless, and seemingly endless recounts. Instead, they refused to back a commission to investigate the insurrection and some even refused to honor the very police officers who saved their lives on that fateful day.
Republicans were derelict in their duty and instead did the most for un-American thing they could. They refused to defend democracy.
Challenge any Republican and you will be accused of being a part of “cancel culture”. Call out Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for any of her outlandish comments, and Republicans will scream “cancel culture”. Decry Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) alleged sexual abuse: “cancel culture”. Claim that Joe Biden won the election…you get the point.
Yet, if anyone is guilty of succumbing to cancel culture, it’s Republicans. They spurred on a boycott of the NFL when players took a knee to protest racial injustice. They did the same to Major League Baseball when they moved their All Star Game from Atlanta to protest Republican voter suppression. And they even cancelled members of their own party for refusing to toe the party line and ignore their Constitutional obligations.
But cancel culture isn’t just limited to Congressional duties. Sometimes it’s about pointing out the trivial in order to create a distraction. Instead of addressing gun reform, it’s Dr. Seuss. Don’t want to bring up the insurrection? OMG! Mr. Potato Head!
Most recently, several Republicans wrote a letter to President Biden demanding he dump Kamala Harris as his Vice President because of her “abysmal” response to the border issue.
So, which political party is involved in "cancel culture?"
Politicians are masters at avoiding a direct response to an issue. In that way, they can avoid being pinned down. However, Republicans have taken it to an entirely new level. They don’t even bother circling around an issue. Instead, they will bring up a seemingly unrelated issue. They will use “whataboutism”.
Want to talk about the election? What about voter fraud? Bring up the insurrection and they will turn to "What about Antifa or Black Lives Matter?" Want a reaction to President Biden’s pandemic response? You'd better be prepared to hear about the border. Systemic racism? What about defunding the police?
Republicans are great at deflection. It’s highly transparent, yet it satisfies its base as an acceptable response to any issue.
When NFL players sought to bring attention to systemic racism in law enforcement, they were largely ignored. It was only when San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kapernick took to one knee during the national anthem that people took notice. And yet people, primarily Donald Trump, twisted the issue to make it about disrespect for the American flag. Hats, banners and t-shirts emblazoned with the words “I kneel for the cross and stand for the flag” began appearing on the hypocritical members of the religious right.
And young Black men continue to die at the hands of racist members of the law enforcement community.
Gun violence is at an all time high. Yet cries for gun reform legislation are pushed aside by those claiming they are exercising their Constitutional rights. Instead of sensible gun control laws, Republicans claim Democrats are trying to take guns away from “law abiding citizens”. They ignore the fact that they are only “law abiding” due to gun laws being heavily weighted in their favor.
To justify their vote against establishing a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection, Republicans said they wanted to include the unrelated violence perpetrated by Antifa and the Black Lives Matter protestors. In that way they avoided the wrath of Donald Trump and any semblance of accountability for his role in instigating the Capitol riots.
Yes, Republicans go to great measures to avoid responsibility. But isn’t being responsible what they were elected to do?
While Republican support for Trump is slipping, he still holds sway over the party faithful. To go against him is to risk political oblivion. For this reason, there are very few members of Congress, and even fewer in state or local governments who would cross him. His hold on the party is as unnatural as it is undemocratic.
But Trump is only a symptom of a far worse disease. To continue to reach across the aisle when it benefits a majority of Americans is the definition of democracy. Yet time after time, Republicans have refused to budge if it would somehow put Democrats in a better light.
Republicans are the party of lies, conspiracy theories, voter suppression and denial of the facts. They are the party of bullies who refuse to give an inch if it means displeasing Individual One. They wrap themselves in the flag in a show of false patriotism, while failing in their duty to uphold the Constitution. They are petty, with one set of rules for members and another for the opposition. They are childish as they scream and shout when they lack the facts to support their claims.
While a majority of Republicans espouse to be Christian, they are the most un-Christian beings on the planet. They’re xenophobic, homophobic, and generally intolerant of anyone who deviates from their narrow-minded views. They hold the Bible in one hand and an assault weapon in the other, all the while preaching peace. But it is a peace on their terms. Otherwise, they are filled with hate and prone to acts of violence.
America is a nation of immigrants. To deny that is to deny the facts. We have some ugly parts of our history, but others that make you swell with pride. Yet the actions of those in the Republican Party represent the worst of America. By continuing to go down this path, they demonstrate exactly what it means to be un-American.