I come from a long, very long line of conservative Republican ‘you made your bed, now lie in it’ people. My ancestors were a pretty unforgiving bunch. You make mistakes, you pay for it. You’re down and out, find your bootstraps.
‘The world doesn’t owe you a living’ could have been stitched on my bibs.
So I get the animosity toward the concept of hand-outs. I don’t necessarily agree with it since I know there are many factors that contribute to someone being down and out including bad luck. I have learned that you can do everything right and fail. It’s a conundrum and unfair as hell but completely true. Deny the effect of luck and you’re a fool on your way to a cliff.
But still I get it about ‘reaping what you sow’ and all the other sayings of my growing up and so the hard edge of the Republican Party doesn’t seem that foreign to me. Those folks, a lot of the time, seem like they could have come to Thanksgiving dinner at our house, brought the pie but no extra, forlorn guests because those people, you know, should have figured out their own Thanksgiving dinner. Personal responsibility applies to holidays, too.
What I don’t get is why the Republican Party has gone from being morally righteous to being aggressively hostile to people not like themselves, to the point that they wish other people actual ill, to the point that they get angry at the prospect of sharing responsibility for the health of other people’s children, to the point that they celebrate passing legislation that will cause great sickness and death across the country, to the point where they appear to reject the concept of basic human decency.
When I saw the group of white Republican men celebrating their ‘victory’ in the passage of the ACHA yesterday, high-fiving each other, laughing and joking with Donald Trump, it seemed to me to be the self-congratulatory, locker room boasting and sneering of boys who had ‘scored,’ the names of the girls they’d conquered thrown around like wet jock straps, each boy wanting to have the bigger dick, be the best, the worst of the conquerors and the only way to do that was to demean, belittle, squash the girls in every way possible.
That’s what I thought of seeing Donald Trump and his boys taking their victory lap. These men aren’t about self-sufficiency, independence, pride. They’re not people who could come to Thanksgiving dinner and have uncomfortable but polite conversations. Their intention is to harm me. Us. All of us who aren’t them. We want that to seem preposterous, but it’s not. Not anymore.
Photo Credit: Getty/Mark Wilson