I have too often been accused of being a fervent member of the Democratic party, and I am always taken back to my dad, who used to say he voted for the best man (not many women ran for office when I was a kid). The best man just always turned out to be a Democrat. I’ll admit that’s true for me too. I was raised in a household where FDR was a god, and Truman not too far behind him. My dad even cooperated with Richard Daley, Democratic mayor/boss in Chicago. I have rarely if ever voted for a Republican candidate.
But it goes beyond that. In the past if I thought a Republican was the best candidate, I would have voted that way. No longer true today. I am openly, honestly anti-Republican. People ask how I deal with Republican friends, and I must admit that I have few to none. The people I chose to spend my time with are those with values and concerns like mine—compassion for others, leading the list. I have a few Republican acquaintances that I like, and one brother that I adore who refuses to even enter an open discussion of politics with me. My suggestion that open discussion benefits everyone falls on deaf ears.
This hard-core stance has been strengthened, confirmed, whatever, by the Republican reaction to the Las Vegas massacre. This, they uniformly declare, is not the time to discuss gun control; it’s a time for mourning. Hogwash! If there ever was a time to discuss America’s disgraceful record of gun deaths, it’s now. We cannot avoid the uncomfortable statistics that America leads the world in gun deaths, and certainly is way out in front of developed countries. I have found fascinating and frightening statistics on Facebook and shared most of them.
One I particularly like is a long list of things that are regulated—women’s bodies, leads the way, but there are others—liquor sales, driving, school bake sales, home improvements, driving a car, owning and caring for a dog, cutting hair for a living. The list goes on with endless trivia—but guns are not on it.
The administration recently made it easier for people with mental health issues to buy guns—anyone remember Newton? And there’s a bill before the House now to legalize silencers. It includes a rider or whatever to permit bullets that can pierce body armor. Who is the wide world needs to pierce body armor? Who needs an assault rifle? The NRA and they own the Republicans, bought and paid for. Speaker Ryan, with great sensitivity, has tabled the bill, which simply means he’ll wait for the public furor over Las Vegas to die down and then introduce it.
The lack of compassion is evident in other matters: Republicans just let CHIP insurance for nine million children expire, yet the House has passed a strict—and probably unconstitutional law—covering abortions after 20 weeks. Just when a woman finds out her baby may have serious, life-threatening deformities. Ah yes, compassion. They care more about unborn children than those that are here, sick, starving, uneducated. They now want to re-establish CHIP (how many desperately ill children have died during this lapse) and extend help to children in Puerto Rico but they’ll salve their consciences by cutting Medicare—which isn’t theirs to cut.
The list goes on. I write to my senators, yes I do, but they are both hard-core Republicans and send me platitudes in response. In general, with few exceptions, I find Republicans to be dishonest, devious, greedy, self-serving, and lacking in compassion. They value dollars in their pocket over human life, even in the face of a tragedy that killed 59 and wounded well over 500.
Yes, I’m anti-Republican. And I will do everything in my power to defeat the party in upcoming elections. We as a country are caught in the grip of a party that thinks more of its donors than of its constituents. It’s way past time for a change.
We must not let the memory of Las Vegas die, as we did the outrage of Newton. Take as a slogan, "If not now, when?" and keep the anguish, the horror, the indignation alive. And above all, vote those sobs out of office.