July 10, 2019 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Let’s Just Say It. The Republican Party Wants to Kill You
"Be honest about what it means to lead a country—it means killing people.”
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I’m going to say something that might sound shocking. After saying it, I’m going to defend saying it so that—I hope—it won’t sound shocking anymore. And once it doesn’t sound shocking anymore, I hope we’ll be in a better position to truly understand our real political challenges. That shocking statement is this.
The Republican Party’s policies are designed to kill.
Well, maybe not kill you, but certainly some people whom the Republican Party considers unwelcome, undeserving and not belonging. If you are not in the ranks of the Republican Party, or if you can’t be mistaken, as I can, for a person whose identity (white straight male) complements the GOP’s worldview, then you are among its enemies, and its enemies deserve nothing but humiliation, pain and death.
The Republican Party was not always so sadistic, but elements of sadism were always present even when the party was still committed, in word and deed, to the demands of liberal democracy. (You could say William Buckley’s long career was an effort to suppress the GOP’s sadism or at least make it look respectable.) The party’s democratic commitments started to unravel during the 1990s and finally blew apart after the country elected its first black president. Conservatism detached from democracy is fascism, and that’s precisely the Republican Party we now have.
We should be honest about the real outcome of Republican policies. The real outcome, once you stop and think about it, is that people die.
Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you. It is hard to believe this country has a fascist party, especially if you know or love people who call themselves Republican. But I’m of the mind that Republicans are telling us who they are if only we listen. And if we’re listening, if we have the courage to listen, we can see they are telling us the Republican Party’s policies, once you stop and really think about it, are designed to kill.
Take yesterday’s proceedings in which a federal appeals court appeared ready to rule that Obamacare is unconstitutional. Two Republican judges on the three-judge panel “peppered lawyers defending the law with skeptical questions, appearing to suggest they might hold that when Congress zeroed out a tax imposed by the law in 2017 it rendered unconstitutional the mandate to purchase health insurance,” the AP said.
Nearly 20 Republican attorneys general say the individual mandate (the tax imposed by Obamacare) is now an order by the government to buy a product. Therefore, they say, the entirely of the Affordable Care Act must be invalided. The lawsuit’s outcome, the AP said, “will affect protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansions covering roughly 12 million people, and subsidies that help about 10 million others afford health insurance.” There’s another way of putting it.
The GOP’s policies are designed to kill.
This example, of course, takes a lot of hard listening and a lot of hard thinking about what the eventual outcome of this lawsuit will be. But sometimes, when Republicans are telling us who they are, we don’t have to listen or think so hard. It’s obvious.
Take last week’s news of Donald Trump being the first American president to visit North Korea. Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, was there, and he said: “You’ve got to be honest about what it means to lead a country—it means killing people.”
Carlson was not talking about the Republican Party, nor was he was talking about the president. He was rationalizing Trump’s befriending of a dictatorial dynasty that has murdered legions of its people. This includes allowing people to starve to death.
To that, Carlson said:
There’s no defending the North Korean regime, which is a monstrous regime. It’s the last really Stalinist regime in the world. It’s a disgusting place obviously, so there’s no defending it.
But, on the other hand, he said:
you’ve got to be honest about what it means to lead a country—it means killing people. Not on the scale that North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that we’re closely allied with… it’s important to be honest about that (my italics).
I agree. We should “be honest about that.”
We should be honest about the real outcome of Republican policies on the safety net, immigration, climate change, gun control and other issues. The real outcome, once you stop and think about it, is that people die. Once you figure out what the real outcome is, once you see that GOP’s policies are designed to kill, the way forward, politically and morally, is much clearer. For that, we can thank Tucker Carlson. Until last week, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more perfect distillation of fascism or a more damning indictment of the last four decades of Republican Party politics.
Of course, you can say their policies aren’t designed to kill. That’s not their intent. To that, I’d say, OK, OK, let’s give these Republicans the benefit of the doubt. Even so, there’s no disputing outcomes—on gun control, Medicaid, health care, etc. That outcome is death. Sometimes a lot all at once, as is the case with mass shootings. Sometimes it’s a one at a time, as is the case when people succumb to sickness.
The result is the same, though. People die as a result of Republican policy. In that case, the distinction between wanting to kill people and supporting policies that kill people is a distinction without a moral or political difference. You’d know that, you should know that, if you’d stop to listen, and to think hard, but only if you’re honest.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.