Published in The East Hampton Star
Republicans owe America an apology.
Sadly, we have arrived at a point at which the White House, the political crown jewel that the GOP so ardently sought, is in disarray, which has taken down the GOP-led Congress as well. After making President Obama’s failure its No. 1 priority (so much so that it became an obsession), the GOP worked hard to get a rich white guy – any rich white guy – to take the mantle of leadership after Obama. In pursuing its obsession, it abandoned its stated principles and abandoned those it promises to serve.
Republicans refused to negotiate honestly when Democrats spent months seeking Republican support for the Affordable Care Act. Then they tried repeatedly over seven-plus years to take away that health care – not, as it turns out because they had a better idea, but because it was Obama’s idea. Even worse, for seventy-plus years Congress has worked to create, and then perfect (or try to) a safety net that would protect working class America and the disadvantaged among us from financial and social ruin. The current Republican credo, adhered to from the top of the ticket to its most local echelons, holds dear the destruction of those protections.
Yet, in the last election cycle, all one heard from GOP candidates was the mantra that working class America had been “forgotten” and only they were the ones capable of repairing this so-called injustice. Decrying the political opposition by fomenting race-based paranoia allowed these candidates to camouflage their real agenda. It is not the furtherance of the “forgotten,” it is the furtherance of unscrupulous greed.
Help the “forgotten”? Not Trump. The policies that have actually been implemented by the Trump administration, with the help of a Republican Congress, reflect a disdain for ordinary working-class Americans. Shortly after Trump took office, he and the GOP-led Congress rejected numerous Obama-era regulations that were actually designed to support workers, including rules barring worker discrimination, rules designed to enhance workers’ wages and rules enhancing workplace protection, such as barring companies with a history wage, labor or workplace safety violations laws from receiving federal contracts. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, the GOP agenda has no intention of protecting the “forgotten.” Its true colors are shown in its efforts to rip away healthcare, savage the social safety net and, in so doing, leaving the “forgotten” to fend for themselves. Under the GOP agenda, the “forgotten” will soon be the “trampled.”
The sad truth behind the GOP camouflage is that millions of hard-working Americans drank the GOP Kool-Aid, believing that the party truly cared for them and would make good on promises to deliver wealth, improve healthcare and preserve the all-important safety net protecting these folks. For some, it was hard not to be seduced by Trump and his GOP cohorts.
However, like everyone else who has succumbed to Trump’s wiles, these voters too have been had.
And for this, the GOP owes America an apology. And the lesson for voters from all this is that old adage: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Let’s not be fooled again, either in our local elections this year or next year when the GOP Congress has to face the music. Trust not the GOP Kool-Aid another time.