By V. Susan Hutchinson
The Republican party needs to retire its elephant and get a new mascot. The Grim Reaper would be a better choice as their current platform appears to now include massive death and destruction.
It wasn’t always that way. The GOP was once the party of Abraham Lincoln, a man who thought the United States was worth saving and who fought to unite the country at the cost of his own life. Now it is attempting to use a divided nation to stay in power at the cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives.
Death by COVID-19
The novel coronavirus began spreading throughout the country in early March 2020, but Donald Trump immediately chose to downplay it for political gain. That backfired on him in November, and as we head into the Christmas holidays, the death total is rapidly approaching 300,000 with record breaking totals of cases, deaths and hospitalizations recorded every day.
The approach to containment is simple – wear a mask in public, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings with people outside your household and wash your hands frequently.
Trump’s refusal to ask people to comply has led his supporters to scream that state and local governments are infringing on their rights by putting mandates in place to protect the public health. Even now over 100,000 lives could be saved in the next few months if Trump and the GOP would just say now is the time to stop being selfish and put on a mask.
The Republican party is not only continuing to support Trump’s disregard for the safety of Americans, it is turning on GOP legislators who try to do the right thing. This week Republicans in the Ohio statehouse drafted articles of impeachment against Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican. Why? Because he disagrees with Trump and wants to do whatever is necessary to protect the people of Ohio.
The new GOP says remove anyone who wants to stop death, not support them.
And the lame duck president doesn’t even talk about COVID-19 anymore. All he does now is rant and rave about a fraudulent Presidential election and claim he won.
Death by Execution
Trump and the GOP can’t get enough of death so they found a way to make it quicker for some than a rampant virus.
The reinstatement of the federal death penalty in July 2019 was another gruesome hallmark of the Trump administration. To date eight federal inmates have been put to death with another five scheduled before Joe Biden’s inauguration January 20.
But putting inmates to death is not enough as Trump, with the silent complicity of the GOP, wants to change the rules for their manner of execution to include poison gas, electrocution and firing squad in place of lethal injection.
The GOP says it is the party of law and order, except just having law and order isn’t enough. People who break the law must be tortured or made to needlessly suffer before being put to death. Remember Trump is the one who took out newspaper ads in 1989 saying the death penalty should be reinstated for the Central Park 5, who turned out to be innocent. The Central Park 5 were Black and Latino.
It’s no coincidence that four of the five inmates Trump wants to kill in his waning days in office are Black men.
Threats That May Turn into Deaths
In October, domestic terrorists were arrested before they could complete their plan to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. Their motive? She had implemented stay at home orders in Michigan to protect people from COVID-19.
Now it’s members of the GOP’s turn to get death threats from Trump supporters. Not because they want to keep a virus from spreading, but because they refuse to go along with Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread fraud that cost him the election.
Donald Trump turned on Georgia Governor Brian Kemp because he refused to use emergency powers to overturn election results in the state, which went to Biden and was confirmed in a recount.
This week Gabriel Sterling, a top Georgia election official, gave an angry press conference insisting that Trump and the GOP condemn death threats being made against election workers and Republican officials who are upholding the election laws and abiding by the Georgia state Constitution. Sterling said his breaking point was when a contractor, who was just doing his job helping with the recount, received death threats and found a noose outside of his home.
Sterling put into words what many of us have been saying silently. To Trump and the GOP, he said, “You have the rights to go to the courts. What you don’t have the ability to do – and you need to step up and say this – is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to get killed, and it’s not right. It’s not right.”
Is There a Line the GOP Will Not Cross?
Every time Donald Trump said or did something egregious during his presidency, we all thought “here’s the line” the GOP won’t cross. Now they will stand up to him. And yet, Republicans remained stalwart in their support, even justifying a phone call for extortion from the president of Ukraine by not removing him from office after he was impeached.
They won’t even condemn recently pardoned Michael Flynn’s retweet from the group We the People Convention, which wants Trump to declare martial law, temporarily suspend the Constitution and have a new election overseen by the military. The demand ends with the statement “Failure to do so could result in massive violence and destruction on a level not seen since the Civil War.”
Flynn apparently feels his pardon will protect him from any charges of sedition, or he knows the new GOP, the party of death and destruction, would never come after him.
Will outright murder be the line the GOP won’t cross? One would hope so, but we won’t know until someone is actually murdered in the name of Trump. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.
It’s time to mourn the GOP. They have been sick with the Trump cancer for the last four years and are finally succumbing to the disease. The new Grim Reaper party is now taking its place.
Heaven help us all.