Why do we have to live this way?
brutal cops, ceaseless mass shootings, substandard health care, the war against women, racism, gender tyranny, ruthless capitalism, wealth inequality, climate devastation, toxic politics . . .
The first month of 2023 have presented a succession of outrageous conditions in America. Here are just a few:
1. Another black man is killed by a wild pack of cops and a weekend of protest follows.
2. The numbers of mass shootings have accelerated.
3. Women are finding it harder and harder to get abortions, and laws are being created at warp speed to criminalize every aspect of women’s reproductive care.
4. Gender-nonconforming people are being targeted with increasing vehemence.
5. Republican white supremacists and insurrectionists are not only threatening violence now, they are actually shooting up the homes of Democratic officials.
6. Trump is still out of jail and mouthing off with renewed viciousness to the adoring applause of his reprehensible hordes.
Why do we have to live this way?
Republicans don’t care about any of these horrible conditions. They seem to think that enough wealth or enough guns or enough crooked politics will insulate them from harm.
But not caring is just the passive side of their culpability. The active side is this: Republicans actually prefer things to be this way.
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How do we know this? Because they steadfastly refuse to do any rational thing to stop these horrors.
1. Jim Jordan claimed on Meet the Press yesterday that better training cannot stop the wolfpack police mentality that targets black and brown men. Jordan, of course, is a determined Republican BSer. Contrary to his nonsensical “states-rights” view of policing, training is the only thing that can stop it. And that training must be coordinated by the federal government to protect the rights of all Americans, not left to local authorities, who are only too inclined use the police to oppress local minorities. (“States rights” or “local control” has always been—going all the way to the Antifederalists who opposed the Constitution—code for “I don’t want any power over me to stop me from abusing my own power in my local environment.”)
2. Republicans at all levels simply refuse to do the one thing that will diminish mass shootings—remove assault-style firearms from society. “Guns don’t kill” is their stupid mantra. Sure—as long as nobody shoots them at other people. Take the guns away and the shootings can’t happen. Republicans can’t admit this because there is no defense to such a clear logical dependency. So they waste the public’s time and energy by throwing around emotional arguments about rights, when the most essential right—the right to life—can only be enhanced by limiting the much less essential right to blast anyone and everyone to smithereens.
3. The House of Representatives—as unrepresentative as it has ever been, since Republicans control it even though their views are rejected widely by the American public (check out this article published just before last fall’s election: “Their America Is Vanishing. Like Trump, They Insist They Were Cheated.”)—continues to push for a nationwide ban on abortion and continues to assault birth control. Obviously it’s not just that they don’t care about women’s reproductive rights. They want those right gone. And with that, they want women back in the home pregnant and docile. Everything Republicans say about promoting women’s rights is a lie, even when Republican women are saying it.
4. All the new red-state laws sticking it to LGBTQ+ people, and trying to stifle public health and education programs aimed at making the gender landscape more just, make it only too clear that Republicans want to keep the world as deluded about gender as they are.
5. No question that Republicans love the increasing violence against Democrats. They don’t even bother to denounce it any more.
6. And Republicans still love Trump. They wish he would win rather than lose for them and they register that by telling pollsters they might be more inclined to back Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis for the 2024 presidential contest. But that’s their way of saying they prefer viciousness, white supremacy, racism, corruption, ignorance, violence, and hostility to decent democracy—as long as it helps them win. Do not doubt it—if Trump clears the 2024 field, they will vote for him again.
Why are Republicans so rotten? Because they are afraid. They are much more afraid than Democrats. Much more afraid than human beings ought to be. So much fear naturally leads to willingness to be unjust. No matter how rotten their beliefs, Republicans feel that they can take any steps to protect their undeserved privileges.
Their abject fear—bolstered by their awareness that they are not the majority, that more and more people see their depravity, that the demographics are going against them—makes them terrible people. They are poised to steamroll everyone who opposes their indecency. And January 6, together with everything Republicans have done to try to expunge their support for that insurrection, is proof that they actively hate democracy if it will not deliver unjust privileges to them.
Republicans are no longer fit to participate in American democracy. They are no longer decent enough to engage in good-faith politics.
We can take them out of the equation. We can vote every time. We can be sure never to vote for any Republican, no matter how reasonable they seem. We can spend a portion of our lives teaching everyone we meet that we don’t have to live this way.
Because we don’t. And we can stop it just by taking political power away from Republicans.
So let’s do that.
Then America will be amazed at how quickly the horrible circumstances that Republicans prefer will dissolve in the waters of good governance and justice.