Two weeks ago, I granted myself the freedom to be honest with my readers. To pare an issue down to the root and lay bare its core — no matter the consequence to my perceived impartiality. Because, to me, it is more important to be a steward of democracy than it is to maintain some carefully constructed facade.
In that spirit, I think it critical to discuss the projection happening within the Republican Party and the effect that it has on our national discourse.
Because, the unvarnished and unabashed truth is, Republicans of late have morphed into massive hypocrites.
Perhaps they always were and are now simply more overt. Perhaps this is the denouement to a gentle evolution — the natural graduation from Sarah Palin to the Tea Party to Donald J. Trump.
Whatever the case, Republicans today are not as keen on governance as they are on oiling the outrage machine. They deal in culture wars and hysteria, often in sanctimonious and duplicitous fashion. Like a dog that resembles its owner, the GOP now actively mirrors the very tendency to project made infamous by its leader. And its hypocrisy knows no bounds.
The party that waxes poetic about cancel culture is now censuring and stripping committee assignments from any member who fails to toe the line.
The party that made “Save the Children” a rallying cry of its platform now sits in silence while a member of its own caucus is investigated for child sex trafficking. Worse yet, Republicans still celebrate and cheer him.
The party that claims that Democrats abhor the Constitution and regularly trample American values is passing laws that criminalize protesting — a pivotal American right enshrined in the First Amendment.
Says ACLU legislative director Kara Gross of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new protest law, “The problem with this bill is that the language is so overbroad and vague … that it captures anybody who is peacefully protesting at a protest that turns violent through no fault of their own. Those individuals who do not engage in any violent conduct under this bill can be arrested and charged with a third-degree felony and face up to five years in prison and loss of voting rights. The whole point of this is to instill fear in Floridians.”
Similarly, the party that claims the Constitution as its North Star is making it increasingly hard to vote in states throughout the nation. Despite Trump’s own attorney general conceding that there was no evidence of widespread election fraud and our nation’s own Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency confirming that the election was “the most secure in American history,” Republicans have stood at the ready to threaten voting rights, in spite of the Constitution’s clear language that they “not be denied or abridged.”
And the party that once advocated against big government? The one that attacks any piece of legislation seeking to impose regulations on private enterprise, no matter the benefit to the climate or worker?
That party is now seeking to control what tech companies can and cannot do with their platforms — a likely unconstitutional power grab designed to immunize conservatives against responsibility.
Said Florida Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes rather plainly, “This is a big government bill. I can’t believe we would, as a small government conservative body. This is the exact opposite of the things that we stand for.”
Florida Senate Democratic Leader Gary Farmer agreed, saying, “It really is ironic that free market advocates would now want this type of legislation, this type of mandate to a business ‘Thou must allow this.’ It’s a step toward state owned or controlled media or speech, which, the second irony of the day, is a socialistic concept. And there’s been a lot of talk about socialism and anti-socialism over the past year.”
But Republicans have abandoned their commitment to the Constitution, unless, of course, it can be used as an instrument to instill fear over gun rights. To them, the Second Amendment reigns supreme — all other amendments be damned.
And while the GOP claims to be the party of law and order and the party that “backs the blue,” the bulk of their representatives and senators somehow manage to oppose a bipartisan commission that would give Republicans and Democrats equal power to investigate an attack on the seat of government that left 140 law enforcement officers injured — some with brain traumas; others with cracked ribs; others still with shattered spinal discs.
But that is what the Republican Party is these days: one giant contradiction. They no longer harbor any formative or foundational guiding principles, now favoring isolationism, protectionism, fiscally irresponsible spending (so long as a Republican is at the helm), big government, unconstitutional policies, and a cancel culture so pervasive that it would make even the most ardent liberal blush (unless you’re a Republican under criminal investigation, in which case … crickets).
Republicans these days pounce on indignation like prey. They farm it, fertilize it, and harvest it for their base, spreading the seeds of resentment as far as their propaganda will take them. It is a dangerous approach, made more dangerous by the fact that the party has pledged fealty to it, abandoning any genuine attempt at broadening their appeal. And while they call Democrats the “Do Nothing Dems,” they put forth no healthcare or infrastructure plans of their own — such that the term “Infrastructure Week” became a running joke during the Trump administration.
No, Republicans today prefer to rest on their laurels and propel their party forward on the backs of anger, fear, and derision.
Because the Republican Party is no longer a serious party, driven by conservative values. The thrust of their will is not marked by traditionalist principles but by a base obsession with power.
And if pointing that out makes me a far-left liberal, so be it.
We need parties that deal in truth and transparency. Ones that do not project their own failings onto the other. Ones that seek to obtain and retain influence in government not by spreading conspiracy theories or by whittling down the electorate but by making their platform more appealing to the general populace.
Until the Republican Party rejoins those ranks, I will continue to sit in “The Middle” on policy. I will continue to bring attention to deficiencies on both ends of the spectrum.
But as far as the dualism of the two-party system is concerned? I will not allow myself or my readers to be gaslit in the name of neutrality.
Because there is no “middle” when it comes to the preservation of our republic, and I will not straddle the fence when so much is at stake.
This is an inflection point, and I am planting my flag firmly on the side of sanity.