During the 1966 gubernatorial race in California, Ronald Reagan crafted the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.
Can you imagine being part of a team—one that’s supposed to set a good example for the whole country—and not being able to hold anyone accountable for lying, cheating, violence, or bigotry? To have a loyalty so blind that you stand for nothing but winning?
This bad faith is the rot at the center of the modern Republican Party. By illustration, today’s GOP stands united with:
- Rapists (Donald “Pussy Grabber” Trump)
- Liars (Mitch “GOP Tax Cut Won’t Cost a Penny” McConnell)
- Shameless racists (Steve “Calves Like Melons” King)
- Tax cheats (Steve “Offshore Accounts” Mnuchin)
- Drug addicts leading the War on Drugs (Newt “I Like Pills” Gingrich)
- Sexists (Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin)
- Morons (Michelle “Lion King is Gay Propaganda” Bachmann)
- Vote suppressors (Wilbur “Census Swindler” Ross)
- Domestic abusers (Rob “Fist-Goes-Boom” Porter)
- Religious looneys (Mike “Period-Tracking” Pence)
- Xenophobic assholes and nefarious Disney villains (Stephen “I Hate Immigrants Because Nobody Will Sleep With Me” Miller)
To stand silently with this party is to condone its toxic behavior. The very few conservatives who have spoken up either have defected from the party (Justin Amash, Andy McKean) or are continually harassed by Trump (Mitt Romney). Also, the countless GOP incumbents who aren’t seeking reelection in 2020 are shamefully quiet, even though they have nothing to lose.
Modern Democrats are better at enforcing codes of conduct—and certainly don’t tolerate criminal behavior within their ranks. Remember all of the times former Senator Al Franken played grab-ass during photo ops and was forced to resign? He was beloved, but he was held accountable for unacceptable behavior.
It gives me hope that Democrats take sexual misconduct more seriously than they did 20 or 30 years ago. Bill Clinton, for example, would be unelectable in today’s post-#MeToo society.
Of course, there is one appalling behavior that southern politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to get away with: dressing up in blackface. Look at governors Ralph Northam (D-VA) and Kay Ivey (R-AL). This just shows how deeply American racism runs and how far we have to go to take it seriously.
I wonder: are Republicans so cowardly because MAGAts consume Fox News and live with “alternate facts?” Are they afraid that the wealth gap, climate change, a more diverse citizenry, and the skyrocketing costs of college and healthcare are politically inconvenient for the GOP?
Decades ago, at least Americans had an agreed-upon reality. There were a couple of news channels, but it was understood that you would be more-or-less informed after watching any of them.
That’s not the case today. Fox News—provably fictitious—manipulates millions of people with fear, hate, and outright lies. Growing up, I always thought that propaganda was a problem in distant dictatorships or monarchies, in places like Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia. It turns out that with enough money, you can buy your own self-serving “facts” and attractive dimwitted “journalists.” It’s infuriating that this garbage doesn’t come with a disclaimer. There is simply no progressive counterpart to Fox News, yet it is routinely compared to MSNBC or even CNN. That’s like comparing a light rain to Hurricane Harvey. Sure, they’re both technically “storms” and are watering our crops, but only one of them will tear down your fucking house.
I was also taught to believe that Republicans and Democrats have two equally valid ways of seeing the world. In 2019, that’s total horse shit. Doesn’t it at least feel weird to Republicans that their party lacks women and people of color, especially in their leadership? How do they explain that?
This is how I imagine it: one balding white man drinking a Bud Light says to another, “You know, man: Latinos, blacks, and the other non-whites just don’t know their place. Trump is trying to make our country great, ya know? And to make it, like, great again.”
“Yeah, man. Those damn socialists want to take all of my guns and all of my money and pay for immigrant healthcare. Fucking commies.”
“Yeah, we’re the true American patriots. God bless this country’s whites.”
Or something like that…
Even the bright conservatives don’t seem to understand what it means to be progressive: they assume that we’re against small businesses and taking personal responsibility. On the contrary, Democrats have become the only party of personal responsibility because we call out our own. Look at the clown car of assholes profiled above. None of them have been held accountable for criminal behavior and yet we’re presented with the false equivalency of left vs. right, liberals vs. conservatives.
There’s more to making a country great than cutting taxes or locking immigrant children in cages. Republicans need to call out the bad behavior on their side or history will consider them the party of greed, cruelty, misogyny, and white supremacy. I sure as hell do.
Until they get rid of the Eleventh Commandment and start thinking as humans rather than as Republicans, the blind partisan loyalty will continue to make the GOP ruthless and despicable.