Something that I’ve always found interesting about modern-day Republicans is the inconsistency underlying some of their ideas. Now, I’m not a political scientist, historian, or philosopher. I’m just a lowly creative writing major. But I feel the need to comment on things that may be beyond my expertise; it’s part of my desire to tap into the zeitgeist.
Your average Republican at both state and federal levels would probably believe in small government and less bureaucracy, traditional family values and being fiscally conservative. The GOP, generally speaking, has long been the party of God and Jesus. Specifically speaking, when Mike Pence accepted the Republican vice presidential nomination he said, “I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” Sometimes, these dogmatic ideals often get in the way of each other.
One example of what I’m talking about is when Republicans tend to talk about keeping the government out of peoples lives. That is true – except when it comes to a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. Then, it appears acceptable for the government to be big enough to impinge upon the freedom of a woman that may need to have an abortion or may need access to birth control. An article in The Washington Post detailed how 14 states with Republican-controlled legislatures passed laws last year making it harder to get an abortion. The stance seems antithetical to what Republicans are supposed to believe; I thought Republicans hated the idea of government interfering in someone’s life? Does the religious element of the abortion debate overrule the small government beliefs?
For many Republicans, the importance of God, faith and religion certainly enter into the discussion when it comes to the familiar abortion debate. When Pence spoke at the March for Life rally in January, one of the things he said was, “I believe a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable. The aged. The infirm. The disabled. And the unborn.” That’s all well and good, but those lofty sentiments seem to vanish when applied elsewhere. Where’s the compassion and concern for other, non-fetus type people?
Republicans should’ve been the most ardent supporters of taking in refugees from Syria and other countries ravaged by war during Trump’s initial travel ban. Mostly, they weren’t. According to a detailed account in The Washington Post, only 24 Republicans opposed the ban, while at least 84 Republicans supported it. I don’t think turning away those in need is something Jesus would do.
Considering that nearly 91 percent of the 115th Congress identifies as Christian, at what point should the words and teachings of Jesus Christ be followed? Helping the poor, the sick, the needy – these are all things I’m pretty sure Jesus would advocate for. Why are current Republican legislative efforts – the draconian health care bill, the huge budget cuts that affect the most vulnerable parts of society – not more roundly condemned? Is it the small government element here that overrules the religious beliefs?
Another example comes to mind: The rescinding of the federal transgender protections for kids in school that would leave people from the LGBT community vulnerable to discrimination. A CNN article pointed out how most civil rights groups say this action by the Trump Administration will only invite discrimination.
Republicans are OK with the decision, I presume, because it’s not the federal government’s place to decide this; it’s an example of government overreach. Restrictive abortion laws, though, aren’t an example of government overreach? I’m confused about when the government’s meddling becomes problematic for Republicans.
Shouldn’t the protection of the marginalized and downtrodden people of society be a huge concern for Republicans who are, ostensibly, followers of Christianity? I mean, if I say I’m a follower of Buddhism, that would imply that I subscribe to the teachings of Gautama Buddha, wouldn’t it? And if I stopped following the teachings, or advocated ideas that were in opposition to Buddhism, that should compromise my standing as a Buddhist. You can’t subscribe to a belief system only when it’s convenient to do so. That’s bogus, man.
If Republicans in Congress want to support any healthcare bill that will negatively impact the most vulnerable in our society – the poor, the elderly, the sick – and if Republicans in Congress want to condone the loads of budget cuts that will, again, affect poor people and the elderly most acutely, then they need to at least have the intestinal fortitude to admit they are inconsistent, at best, and hypocritical and duplicitous, at worst, when it comes to practicing what they preach. At the very least, oftentimes it appears as if Republicans are selective about what principles and ideas they want to adhere to and when.