While any legitimate moral outrage by GOP elected officials is appreciated after Charlottsville and the pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, it is surprising that Republicans said anything given their moral turpitude on critical policy issues and race. For years Republicans have decided to disseminate lies that cause death and economic harm for political expediency.
After Charlottesville, Donald Trump demonstrated his immorality when, after multiple statements, he still seemed to blame both sides for the violence in Charlottesville. His first statement seem to hold sway, “We condemn in the strongest most possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”
While a few Republican Senators, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), condemned Trump by name, other prominent politicians such as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) condemned Trump without mentioning his name.
After pardoning Arpaio, Trump again gave reason to question his morality. It does not make sense to pardon somebody who uses his badge to violate constitutional rights. Again the Republican response was disappointing. While a few Republicans criticized the pardon, most were silent, and some even praised it.
Voter ID laws are a fine example of Republicans attempting—and often succeeding—in denying the constitutional rights, in this case the right to vote. Voter impersonation is extremely rare and almost a nonexistent problem making voter ID laws moot.
About 21 million citizens lack government-issued photo identification, and the burden often falls on the elderly, disabled, and minorities. Even if the photo IDs are free, the costs involved in getting an ID can be effectively be equivalent to poll taxes that were outlawed in 1964.
The Voter ID laws in two states, North Carolina and Texas, were ruled discriminatory. In North Carolina, a federal appeals court said the law targeted “African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” In Texas, the law was found to have an “impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans and was passed with a discriminatory purpose.” In spite of this, conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued an order to temporarily suspend that decision.
A current example of this turpitude was the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The GOP has been against the ACA from the beginning mainly because it was something that Pres. Obama wanted. The ACA has it problems and there are reasons to have concerns about it. However, when the GOP were pushing for their replacement plans, they made the false claim that everybody would be covered even though all the suggested plans would have caused about at least 20 million people to lose healthcare coverage, causing financial stress, suffering, and about 26,000 deaths per year according to a recent study, more than eight times the number of people who died from the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.
Of course, Republicans have a consistent history of lying about healthcare reform. During the debate about about legislation that would eventually become the ACA, Republican operatives kept mentioning the infamous “death panels” that would be created. So far, I have not noticed death panels coming into existence.
Healthcare reform is not the only life-and-death issue that Republicans have lied about. They have repeatedly denied the existence of climate change with Hurricane Harvey being the most recent example. According to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, “Climate change means that when we do have an event like Harvey, the rainfall amounts are likely to be higher than they would have been otherwise.” Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency under Trump rejected this contention saying it is “an attempt to politicize an ongoing tragedy.” Several scientists disputed the EPA’s assessment.
For years Republicans have been praising trickle-down economics as an excuse to give tax cuts to the wealthy even though this economic policy is a failure. As Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz states, “Trickle-down economics is a myth.”
While this list is hardly complete, it is clear that Republicans moral computer needs a serious software update and reboot. Unless they change while in office, severe damage will be done to life, limb and the economy. Otherwise, we must vote them out of office to terminate the moral turpitude that pervades our politics.