Terry Lamphier: What do Republicans stand for today?
Should America be a model of equitable justice and fair play or are we doomed to bully politics — our tribe, our team, our cause, our beliefs “uber alles,” as pre-war German leaders espoused?
Is it leadership for electeds (LaMalfa, McClintock, etc.) to ignore present and future national interests just to obtain tribal votes gamed by disinformation campaigns paid for by the wealthy and powerful?
I am cognizant that opinions lead to labels, categorization, alienation and ultimately, dismissal more often than listening, reflecting, acknowledging common ground and seeking fair resolution beneficial to society at large. In our age of intense tribalism, I am acutely aware of the dangers of criticism and it is predictable I will be labeled a hypocrite.
That said, I hope that provocative comments herein will be seen as an invitation for reasoned arguments leading to possible understanding and — it’s a stretch — at least a tiny bit of recognition of potential common ground.
For starters, I’d like U.S. Constitution-citing Republicans to explain how Trump and his supporters’ actions leading to the Capitol insurrection do not qualify as treason, as defined in Article 3, section 3: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Doesn’t lying and inflammatory rhetoric of “stop the steal,” “fight like hell,” “I’ll be there with you” qualify?
Regarding our U.S. Supreme Court, please explain your stacking it with Republican ideologues (beyond “because we can”) while blocking Democrat appointees. We are talking about the supreme law of the land. Shouldn’t this be guided by impartiality, not ideology?
This is critical as the Constitution has no qualifications for Supreme Court justices beyond being a political appointee that “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.” This vague phrase is the only “check and balance” to protect us from non-impeachable authoritarianism, arguably making them more powerful than the president.
Regarding the Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” under a “well regulated Militia,” please explain how this amendment is not bound by Article 1, section 8, giving Congress the right “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia” and “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper to carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.” How does this not authorize Congress to provide “gun control?”
Moving beyond the constitutional ambiguities that fundamentalist Supreme Court justices seek to interpret beyond the literal written words, please offer explanations of these other ideological notions:
— Is mitigating negative environmental impacts important? If not, why not? If so, what do you propose?
— Democrats wanted to tax polluters. Business-friendly Republicans gave us a free market “cap and trade” policy. More recently some Republicans wanted to get rid of it. Is pollution bad? If so and the free market-based “cap and trade” program is not OK, what’s the alternative?
— Regarding the immigration issue, some Republicans want strong restrictions and others want cheap labor. Is immigration good or bad? If good, how much and who and why?
— If all life is sacred, why are wars and the death penalty OK?
— What’s more important, the economy or life?
— Republicans oppose our national health care program derived from a Republican’s state insurance program. What is your option?
— Republicans complain the media is biased (Republican-dominated radio tells me so) while social media giants say it is not true. In reading everything from The Wall Street Journal and National Review to The New York Times and Mother Jones, it appears mainstream media across the political spectrum offer only slight variations on national news, with First Amendment-protected editorials and opinion pieces being the exception. Who’s “unbiased?”
— Republicans rail against taxes and regulations but never state whether they support elimination of all or only some. If they support some, which ones and why?
— Republicans support “law and order” to the point of accepting unarmed people being shot in the back with no consequences to law enforcement. Please explain why some police funding cannot be diverted to de-escalation training, use of cameras, non-lethal control methods, etc. (note that I am sympathetic to the challenges faced at times by law enforcement and realize that some circumstances require best judgment quick actions).
— “Freedom-loving” Republicans, please tell the rest of us what you stand for, beyond tired old catch phrases using heated rhetoric and dim lighting. Freedom without responsibility is anarchy.
Terry Lamphier lives in Grass Valley.
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