Donald Trump has found success again at being the news, this time by advocating a ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. The response has been encouraging. The Republican Establishment has joined people of reasonable minds in disavowing his statements. It's good to see anyone for coming out on the side of decency on this issue at a time when certain Americans use the word Muslim as a slur. They use it as an allegation in regards to the president. It’s in a time when Sikhs are assaulted because they are mistaken as Muslims, not to mention the assaults on actual Muslims. Terror acts committed by Muslims have served as an excuse for unleashed ugliness on behalf of hypocritical bigots. It is good that Trump’s statements have reached a critical mass. The question remains why so many other positions staked out by the Republican party that are just as vile get a pass. Here is a mere sample.
Camp GOP has staked out its opposition to raising the minimum wage, defending that stance with notions that have historically proven to be false. Of the states that raised the minimum wage in 2015, six have experienced job growth above the national average. In the first half of 2015, only two of those states experienced negative job growth. Typically, the reality has run contrary to their rhetoric. The reality includes the personal stories of hard working people for whom raising the minimum wage makes a real difference. There is nothing noble or decent in taking a position against a living wage and then sugarcoating that disgusting position with lies.
On marriage equality, Republicans continue to be predictably antagonistic, jockeying for favor among the conservative evangelical community by framing “traditional marriage” proponents as victims of religious persecution. This is an appeal to a feeling within the Republican base that extending equal access to more people is a threat to conservative privilege to tell other people what they can and can’t have. For the conservative base, most issues, including marriage equality are matters of control, not morality. Anyone who demands their religion or personal tastes supersede the rights to equal access for others are supremacists.
Black Lives Matter
As Black Lives Matter has become enmeshed in the 2016 campaign, the Republican camp has stuck to a position of distorting the real intention of the movement. My take on the BLM message is “go to the tape.” For decades, black Americans have been ignored on the issue of covered up abuse and slayings at the hands of the police. BLM is using burgeoning video technology that corroborates those claims to back up their calls for police reform. The Republican response to this overwhelming evidence is “all lives matter,” or in other words “stop being so selfish.” It’s a brush off of a critical issue, but it’s a critical issue towards which the Republican base is hostile, therefore the Republican candidate response to Black Lives Matter is hostile.
By now, there are enough Republicans on the record admitting that voter ID laws are less about fraud than they are about skewing election outcomes. This is as highly immoral as you can get in American Democracy, but this group of Republican candidates either support voter suppression or won’t say anything about it because they believe it benefits their party. This is the exact sort of thing the Voting Rights Act was established to combat. Simultaneously, the GOP is claiming that many of the reasons the Voting Rights Act was Established are no longer factors. Republicans are engaging in voter suppression, period.
Also keeping Republican candidates in lockstep has been repealing the Affordable Care Act, not for any legitimate reason, but to appeal to people whose hopes are to destroy Obama’s legacy. At one time, promises to repeal Obamacare came with speculative justifications such as “It will kill jobs, it will kill babies, it will drive up health care costs, etc.” Though the failure of those predictions has proven Republicans to be the poorest of prognosticators, they have stuck with the promise of taking away health insurance from millions of people with no plan to replace it and for no good reason other than soothe their base who would still like nothing more than to politically slay Barack Obama. That is despicable.
Since 2008, Republican office-seekers have had to prove to their voters that they would 1) Refuse to cooperate with Barack Obama, and 2) Do whatever they could to make Obama a failure. Republicans who could not pass this test were “primaried” by Tea Party challengers. The result was a Republican congressional caucus obsessed with threats and calls of “shut down,” “repeal,” and “defund.” Republican seats were won on promises of no compromise which is contrary to the tenets of Democracy. Instead of the opposition, Republicans positioned themselves as the enemy, engaging in such unprecedented action as inviting foreign leaders to speak against the actions of the president They have lobbied foreign governments to disavow diplomatic overtures of the Executive Branch. This is not illegal, but it is spiritually treasonous.
It seems almost strange that this one outburst from Donald Trump would finally shake the public consciousness from its inertia to express outrage when everything else the Republican party actually does is equally outrageous. I’m glad Donald Trump is being called out for his recent statements, but they weren’t made in a vacuum. A majority of Republicans support Trump’s remarks! They also support Republican obstruction and voter suppression and taking away people’s health coverage. Is Trump’s Muslim ban any more controversial than the rest of what the Republican party stands for? I don’t think so. I’m not saying we should just ignore it. In an ideal world, we should be just as outraged over everything else the Republican party stands for, as we are for Trump’s religious test for entry.