The GOP Is Pretty Bad

The GOP Is Pretty Bad

We have been reduced to a group of elected officials who are so terrified of giving up the power that was arbitrarily given to them, that we forget what this country was based on
Written in response to Jennifer Rubin's Washington Post op-ed: "Just How Bad Are Republicans?"

Many have argued that the lowest point of modern day Republicans was the election of Donald Trump, whose inclusion into the Republican Party had more to do with exclusion from the Democratic Party than actual alignment with Republican ideals. However, since Trump's election, Republicans are evidently showing their true colors.

Look at the decisions made by the GOP a la Trump: a health care plan which eliminates every good thing about Obamacare, while exaggerating its negatives. Their plan was to remove millions (yes, millions) from healthcare while continuing to give tax cuts to the super-rich, who are the last people in our current economy who need tax cuts. This was barely supported by the rest of the party (famously, John McCain made several speeches about how inhumane and unethical this plan was), and certainly wasn't supported by the Democrats.

After the massive failure of TrumpCare, the GOP a la Trump continued to make decisions based on what would benefit themselves, rather than the mass percentage of the American population. Their new tax plan is the same as their healthcare plan, but with added tax cuts for corporations. So, to summarize: still fucking over millions of people in the lower and middle class who would actively benefit from tax breaks, and giving the majority of the benefit to Trump himself and his friends.

Even environmentally, this administration is royally screwing up. The head of the EPA is an avid climate change denier, Trump recently lifted the ban on importing hunting trophies (shocker: his sons are all avid big game hunters), and the GOP is trying desperately to revive the coal industry. The coal industry, might I add, is dying because we have realized the massive and awful impact burning coal has on our environment.

What is especially concerning about Trump's GOP is the power and admiration they have for foreign leaders. Calling them leaders is putting it diplomatically, and frankly, I'm sick of being diplomatic. Trump has an obsession with glorified dictators like Vladimir Putin of Russia and the Turkish president who literally stole an election. How is that not a giant red flag about the state of our "Grand Ole Party"?

This is all without even discussing the morons he is putting into his administration, like the federal court appointee who has never tried a case, or the lifetime federal judge nominee in Alabama who did not realize that his wife being one of Trump's lawyers was a conflict of interest. These are all just the most recent "What the fuck" moments from the Trump administration, but it feels as though they are multiplying the longer Trump adjusts to his time in the White House.

Even without Trump's obvious lack of compassion for the people who is he now makes decisions for, this behavior is concerning. It's especially concerning because the Republican party was once based on strict interpretation of laws, whereas they now seem to be based on whatever comes out of Trump's misogynistic, bigoted asshole.

The most telling quote from Rubin's op-ed was:

The Trump GOP does not believe in fiscal responsibility nor in federalism (as evidenced by its attack on localities that don’t do the feds’ bidding on immigration enforcement) nor in legal immigration. It does, however, believe in mass deportation of “dreamers,” who came here illegally as children.

The GOP president believes 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally based on no evidence whatsoever but doesn’t think the Russians meddled in our election despite the unanimous findings of our intelligence services.

The GOP president does not believe the media should be able to write whatever it wants nor that a sheriff found in contempt of court for abusing the rights of suspected illegal immigrants should be convicted and punished.

The GOP-led Congress is content to tolerate Trump's nepotism, massive conflicts of interest and possible receipt of foreign emoluments. It looks the other way as a president monetizes the office, hawking his properties at every opportunity.

I'm not sure what's worse: the idea that the Grand Ole Party has been reduced to a group of racist, misogynist, elitist bigots, or that it has been reduced to a group of spineless jellyfish who blindly follow their leader rather than stand up for the principles upon which their party is based. I cannot claim that I agree with Republicans all the time or even the majority of the time, but before the election of Donald Trump, I could at least understand their point of view.

Now all I see is a group of old white men who are terrified of the "other" taking something from them that we haven't had in awhile. We have been reduced to a group of elected officials who are so terrified of giving up the power that was arbitrarily given to them, that we forget what this country was based on in the first place.

And frankly, I don't know how much longer I can bear to be a part of it.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Dangers Of Ideology And The Importance Of Free Speech & Debate

Universities are currently policing thought, indoctrinating students into a radical egalitarian ideology, and crushing dissenting opinion.

It’s truly amazing to consider how quickly the culture on college campuses has changed over the last several years. Once staunch defenders of speech and academic freedom, modern universities are quickly turning into ideological echo chambers, indoctrinating students into a radical left-wing egalitarian worldview, while crushing dissenting opinion.

The disturbingly Orwellian trend to quell free expression on campuses can best be illustrated by an event that unfolded last year at James Madison University’s freshman orientation, when “student leaders” distributed a list of 35 things that incoming students should avoid saying, including phrases such as “you have a pretty face,” “love the sinner, hate the sin,” “we’re all part of the human race,” “I treat all people the same,” “people just need to pick themselves up by their bootstraps,” among other expressions.

You might find yourself laughing this off as nonsense, an isolated set of events perpetuated by a select group of fringe radicals. Unfortunately, I can assure you that this is not an isolated incident. In addition to the slew of protests that erupted at universities last year in response to conservative speakers being invited to campus, these kinds of events are indicative of a larger, and more pernicious attempt by the radical left to control the linguistic territory.

At universities across America, the campus left now demands that people accept certain preconditions for discussion. Not the kind of reasonable preconditions such as “treat people with respect,” or “don’t resort to personal attacks.” Rather, It is demanded that you accept a neo-Marxian worldview, rooted in the notion that the world is nothing more than a power struggle between two groups of people: those who oppress and those who are oppressed. They demand that people accept notions like white-male privilege as axiomatic – not to be debated – and force people to acknowledge how they've been privileged by the current socio-economic structure.

Refusing to accept these presuppositions not only bars someone from participating in the discussion. To challenge an idea, such as white privilege, is to reject the fact that racism and bigotry exist in our society. To challenge the notion that being white necessarily means you must be more privileged than a person of color is akin to blasphemy. To push against the idea that certain classes of people in America are ‘victims of systemic oppression’ is to deny the humanity and individual experiences of people of color, women, and other minority groups.

The campus left emphatically espouse the notion that “the personal is political.” Thus they believe, unequivocally, that the primary responsibility of the University should be to ensure students from “diverse cultural backgrounds” feel safe – and by safe they mean “not having their identities challenged;” and by identities they are referring to their belief systems – the lens by which they perceive the word.

From the perspective of a radical leftist, to participate in debate is not seen as merely engaging in criticism of some abstract idea. To challenge an idea is to challenge someone’s identity, and to challenge someone’s identity is to debate their humanity.

And that is one of the axiomatic rules of the campus Left – you cannot debate someone’s humanity.

Indeed, with more than a fifth of college undergrads now believing its okay to use physical force to silence a speaker who makes “offensive or hurtful statement,” the future of the First Amendment itself is currently uncertain.

What exactly is so dangerous about this movement?

For starters, the freedom of speech has wrongly been construed as just another value that we in the West hold in high regard. But it is more than a Right that we share as citizens of this nation. It is, ultimately, the mechanism by which keep our psyches and societies functioning.

See, most people just aren’t that good at thinking. I don't mean this as a sleight against anyone, but we’re all insufficient and we have limited awareness of most things because we just can’t know everything. We rely on communication with one another to facilitate the process of learning about things outside our realm of knowledge. Often we have to, first, stumble around like the blithering idiots we are, espousing our biased beliefs in a public forum, and subjecting our ideas to criticism before we can properly orient our thoughts.

When the open exchange of ideas is allowed, you get the opportunity for multiple people to put forward their biased oversimplifications and engage in debate that raises the resolution of the particular question and answer at hand. Ideas are hit with hammers, combed for contradictions, inadequacies and even falsehoods. On an individual level, this kind of scrutiny sharpens the schema you use to navigate the world because other people can tell you things you can’t know by yourself.

Maybe it’s an opinion espoused, or a behavior that manifests itself, or a misconception you hold- in any event, subjecting your beliefs to criticism is, in the short term sometimes painful because we often learn things about the world and ourselves that are uncomfortable; but, in the long term, it is the only way method we have for moving closer towards something that more closely resembles truth – and if not anything true, at least something less wrong. As a result, the lens by which you look at the world becomes clearer.

Further, it is also through a collective process of dialectic that we identify problems in our societies, formulate solutions, and come to some sort of consensus.

Thus the right to say what you believe should not just considered as "just another value." It's a conical value, without which all the other values we hold dear, that people have fought so hard, in such an unlikely manner, to preserve and produce all disappear.

Without it, there can be no progress. Without it, individuals abdicate their responsibility to engage in the sacred process of discovery and renewal. Without it, we can’t think. Without it, there can be no truth. Without it, there can be nothing but nihilistic psychopathology. The end result is a populist that is not only afraid to say what they think, but that doesn't even know what they think because they haven’t been allowed to stumble around in the dark to find some tiny fragment of light.

Therefore, when we consider placing restrictions on the freedom of speech we must do so with the most extreme caution. By setting ridiculous preconditions for discussion, the campus left not only makes the process by which we solve the problems with our society more difficult, but also, if taken to its extreme, it can lead to totalitarianism.

In the wake of dozens of campus protests last year, universities are now in a position where they have to choose between two incompatible values: truth or social justice. The former will lead us to a greater understanding, while the latter can only divide.

Cover Image Credit: Teen Vogue

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Being An English Speaker Is A Privileged Status

Multi-lingual is the way to go

English is not the official language of the United States of America. But even if it was, a country apparently founded on the idea of valuing every citizen as a free individual could do a much better job welcoming people who do not speak English.

While it is natural that one language became the most common, and that this has simplified many processes, this same simplification is not afforded to those who do not speak the language.

Language barriers can reduce one’s job opportunities, meaning that even if one has degrees and plenty of experience, many jobs are simply not available. Many employers are unfortunately unaccepting of those who do not speak English fluently, and some even discriminate against those who do not natively speak English.

Education becomes extremely complex for non-English-speakers. On the student side, while many schools offer English as a Second Language programs, which is wonderful, it should be acknowledged that these students face more work and less support than students who are native English speakers. To add to this, if parents do not speak English, communication from the school or with teachers becomes harder to access.

One of the greatest privileges of English speakers lies in healthcare. They can be sure that they will find a doctor who speaks their language and can clearly explain their medical situation in that language. The same goes for psychologists, social workers, and others in the health professions.

This becomes especially complicated for those who speak languages that are not commonly studied.

A friend of mine who teaches was mentioning recently that while there are many students and families in her district who speak Arabic, there are so few people working in psychology, social work, or other support services who speak the language that for the district to access them is not only difficult but expensive.

This too often means that schools fail to offer students and parents speaking these less-commonly studied languages sufficient aid.

So what is the answer? To adopt English as an official language would be so wrong in our country full of diverse and wonderful languages, backgrounds, and cultures. Instead of attempting to make English more and more widespread, we should focus our efforts on ensuring that people in this country who do not speak English can receive all of the same support as those who do speak English.

Some of this lies in ensuring that systems and institutions offer resources in several languages and that employers will not discriminate against those who are not native English speakers.

Much of the solution, however, is on us, especially if we are students entering a people-oriented profession. In fact, in all professions, becoming multi-lingual does not merely open doors for us but creates a society where more people have access to the services they need.

Cover Image Credit: Maialisa

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