In an era where Donald Trump and his “Make America Great Again” slogan have taken over the Republican Party, where Republican legislators either embrace his bombastic rhetoric or act in silence, there is one message for the GOP: Take back your party.
With the passing of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the United States witnessed the death of arguably one of the last true Republicans, loyal to the party but never to a single leader. More than that, he was loyal to his country.
Putting aside partisan politics, the Republican Party used to stand for true, conservative principles: free-market, laissez faire economics, small government and fiscal restraint.
As former president Barack Obama said only a few days ago, “The politics of division and resentment, and paranoia, has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party.” Despite that sentence coming from a Democrat, he’s the prime example of someone who was the target of racist, paranoid, conspiracy-laden rhetoric — what the GOP has become.
The 2016 election saw Donald Trump cleverly tap into the fear, anger and resentment of white America which saw him get elected to the presidency.
There were plenty of “Never Trumpers,” plenty of Republicans who disavowed him, who refused to accept his racist, bigoted, misogynistic rhetoric. They said he would never represent Republican values. Then he won.
Those who worked in government during the Nixon, Reagan and Bush administrations would never and have outright said they do not recognize the GOP as it stands today. Those former presidents would roll over in their graves if they knew what had become of the Grand Old Party.
Republicans used to unabashedly declare communism and Russia as our No. 1 adversary which was central to their foreign policy platform.
Vladimir Putin is an enemy to global democracy and who seeks to undermine those Democratic institutions. Now they embrace “warmer relations” with the former head of the Federal Security Service.
Republicans used to support our allies across the globe, specifically NATO and the United Nations. Now they criticize our military alliances while cutting funding to key programs within the U.N. that fight global hunger and disease.
It was Republicans who created the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the detrimental effects of pesticides and other pollutants.
Now they support the president’s roll-back of clean-water protection programs, leaving millions at risk. Don’t forget Flint, Michigan.
Republicans overwhelmingly favor building a wall across the U.S.-Mexican border to stop “illegal immigrants, drug dealers and rapists” from coming into our country. They favored stripping children away from their parents and housing them in concentration camps. These are not Republican principles.
Republicans elected a man who pushed the birther conspiracy, who verbally attacked a war hero, who supports tax cuts for the ultra wealthy while adding to the national debt. These are facts, not fiction.
The Republicans in Congress, the real ones, who know this takeover of their once-cherished party has not only divided America, but morphed the GOP into something unrecognizable, say nothing.
They bend over backward to protect this rhetoric, these policies and the president. They are cowards, complacent in this takeover of one of America’s largest political parties.
Do not let history remember the GOP as it is today, let it remember it for what it used to, and should, stand for.