What’s in a name? Repub­li­can brand is tainted

The Taos News - - FAVOR Y CONTRA - (The Taos News, Robert J. Sil­ver lives in Taos.

What’s in a name? Do po­lit­i­cal party la­bels re­ally mat­ter?

You bet they do. When it comes to the cur­rent crop of Repub­li­can of­fice­hold­ers, party la­bel is in­deed im­por­tant.

Though stereo­typed as­sign­ment of col­lec­tive guilt is some­thing I rarely con­done, cur­rent Repub­li­can of­fice­hold­ers and Repub­li­can can­di­dates for elec­tive of­fice con­sti­tute a com­pelling ex­cep­tion. They are a rare case in which the data sup­port a judg­ment of group, shared re­spon­si­bil­ity and shared shame.

I in­ten­tion­ally ex­clude rank and file Repub­li­can vot­ers from this blan­ket in­dict­ment. I have any num­ber of dear and de­cent Repub­li­can friends. Along with many, they too may be vic­tims of the stu­pe­fy­ing po­lit­i­cal “con” that is the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion. It’s those who hold or seek of­fice as Re­pub­li­cans, es­pe­cially those who have sworn to “pre­serve, pro­tect and de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States” that I tar­get.

Elected Re­pub­li­cans’ lock­step en­abling of the worst whims and im­pulses of a pro­foundly mis­guided pres­i­dent has earned them the same con­dem­na­tion as his words and deeds have gar­nered for him. With the sin­gu­lar ex­cep­tion of the late Sen. John McCain, weak-kneed Repub­li­can syco­phants have acted with­out honor or in­tegrity, re­main­ing no­tably si­lent in the face of re­peated ad­min­is­tra­tion out­rages.

They rou­tinely put self-in­ter­est above the na­tional in­ter­est. As a group, their en­abling ac­qui­es­cence ren­ders them cul­pa­ble co-con­spir­a­tors.

So, when­ever jour­nal­is­tic con­ven­tion at­taches the let­ter “R” (for Repub­li­can) to the name of an of­fice­holder or aspirant, I am stopped in my tracks. Their vol­un­tary em­brace of the cor­rupt Repub­li­can brand dis­qual­i­fies them from fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion.

My ten­der­hearted al­lies ex­press dis­may at my po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect, ubiq­ui­tous prej­u­dice to­ward Repub­li­can of­fice­hold­ers.

A con­sen­sus ex­cep­tion to my kin­der and gen­tler friends’ near pho­bic stereo­type shun­ning comes read­ily to mind—Nazis. Even my gra­cious, ac­cept­ing friends would prob­a­bly ap­plaud whole­sale con­dem­na­tion of Nazis as a group and as in­di­vid­u­als, any­where and ev­ery­where, with­out ex­cep­tion. Could even they imag­ine a stereo­type-shat­ter­ing “good Nazi?” I doubt it. As a group, Nazis have earned blan­ket shame. In their re­sem­blance to fas­cists of yes­ter­year, elected Re­pub­li­cans de­serve sim­i­lar blan­ket con­dem­na­tion.

I re­cently crossed paths with an ac­quain­tance, a so-called “con­ser­va­tive.” Apro­pos of noth­ing, this man an­nounced that he had read my re­cent op-ed piece en­ti­tled “Never again!” Sept. 28, 2018). He de­clared the col­umn flat out “nasty.” A lit­tle star­tled, I de­murred. I con­ceded that the writ­ing was ag­gres­sive in tone. But nasty?

From my per­spec­tive, “nasty” is what you call this Amer­i­can pres­i­dent and his Repub­li­can en­ablers giv­ing aid and com­fort to Char­lottesville vi­o­lence-prone neo-Nazis.

Nasty is a cruel and un-Amer­i­can U.S.-Mex­i­can bor­der im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy that rips young chil­dren from their moth­ers’ arms and places them in in­tern­ment camps.

Nasty is this Amer­i­can pres­i­dent sell­ing our coun­try out to the for­mer KGB agent who is now the head of the Rus­sian state.

Nasty is Don­ald Trump’s com­pul­sive ly­ing and cruel in­dif­fer­ence to the suf­fer­ing of oth­ers.

Nasty is the con­torted face and out­ra­geous, hyp­o­crit­i­cal, trumped-up charge of pro­ce­dural foul play hurled at Democrats by Repub­li­can Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee mem­ber Lind­sey Gra­ham.

Nasty is the face of a man who would be a U. S. Supreme Court Jus­tice yet lies through his teeth and lacks any sem­blance of ju­di­cial tem­per­a­ment. That and more is what I call nasty.

My con­cil­ia­tory friends must un­der­stand that this is no or­di­nary po­lit­i­cal con­test. It’s a bat­tle for the very heart and soul of Amer­ica. In the end, names do mat­ter.

“R” (the Repub­li­can brand) is now the new scar­let let­ter. As such, it car­ries with it all well-de­served as­so­ci­ated shame and dis­honor.

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