Friday, June 10, 2016

The Party of Lincoln is Dying

Many who have left the Republican Party over the years - a group that actually includes a number of LGBT bloggers and activists, myself included - decided years ago that the choice was to either leave the increasingly foul GOP or surrender one's own morality and decency.  Since I resigned from the GOP, the toxicity of the party and its open hatred toward those its angry white heterosexual base considers "other" has only intensified.  The ultimate hypocrisy is that so many of the GOP base consider themselves "godly Christians" when, in fact, they are the anti-thesis of what the term Christian should mean in the context of the Gospel message.  They are in reality the Pharisees multiplied tenfold. A column in the Washington Post by conservative Michael Gerson makes the case that many in the GOP must now decide between morality and decency or remaining in the party and supporting Donald Trump and the hate and misogyny he embodies.  You simply cannot have it both ways.  Here are column highlights:
Why such vehemence among Republican leaders in their condemnations of Donald Trump for questioning the objectivity of a federal judge based on his “Mexican heritage”?
This is, in House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s words, “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” But it is not materially more bigoted than the central premise of Trump’s campaign: that foreigners and outsiders are exploiting, infiltrating and adulterating the real America. How is attacking the impartiality of a judge worse than characterizing undocumented Mexicans as invading predators intent on raping American women? Or pledging to keep all Muslim migrants out of the country? Or citing the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II as positive precedent?
Is Trump himself a racist? Who the bloody hell cares? There is no difference in public influence between a politician who is a racist and one who appeals to racist sentiments with racist arguments. The harm to the country — measured in division and fear — is the same, whatever the inner workings of Trump’s heart.
[F]or Republican leaders, this much was new: Since Trump now owns them, they now own his prejudice. Sure, Trump has gone nativist before, but this time it followed their overall stamp of approval, given in the cause of Republican unity. . . . . Having tied themselves to Trump’s anchor, the protests of GOP leaders are merely the last string of bubbles escaping from their lungs.
[I]t is not a normal political moment. It is one of those rare times — like the repudiation of Joe McCarthy, or consideration of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or the Watergate crisis — when the spotlight of history stops on a single decision, and a whole political career is remembered in a single pose. The test here: Can you support, for pragmatic reasons, a presidential candidate who purposely and consistently appeals to racism?
When the choice came, only a handful of Republicans at the national level answered with a firm “no.” A handful. . . . . [The GOP] has failed one of the most basic tests of public justice: Don’t support racists — or candidates who appeal to racism — for public office. If this commitment is not a primary, non-negotiable element of Republican identity, then the party of Lincoln is dead.
Many Republicans, I suspect, will sicken of defending this shabby enterprise — as Sens. Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake and Mark Kirk have done. The process of unendorsing Trump is humiliating, but only for a moment. The honor of choosing rightly, when it mattered most, will endure.

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