An Open Letter to Republicans
I need to have a word with you, and this time it doesn’t concern Donald Trump. Of course, it’s easy to get distracted by the antics of a bizarre con-artist who might have conspired with Russia to throw the 2016 election. Maybe distraction is part of the plan. But Trump is only one man — an aging blowhard at that — while your numbers are legion. At least for now, I’m more concerned about you.
For example, I noticed the other day that your Republican-dominated Congress voted in favor of removing restrictions on killing Alaskan wolves and bears… including cubs and their mamas… including hibernating individuals sound asleep in their dens… using planes and traps if necessary… in NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES, of all places. I used to assume that a wildlife refuge was a place of refuge for wildlife. How obtuse of me.
I’m sure you have your reasons for wanting to murder these furry critters. I’d like to think you don’t really salivate at the prospect of blowing wolves and sleeping bears (and their cubs) to kingdom come, although I could be wrong. I know they’re predators (or potential predators, if you take the cubs into consideration). They prey on caribou, moose and other game animals that Alaskans like to kill for themselves. And I know you resent the federal government for protecting land and wildlife from private interests (all that beautiful timber, just sitting there, when it could be so much more useful in a sawmill!).
But something tells me you were especially eager to repeal the no-kill rule because it went into effect during the final months of the Obama administration. (Yes? Am I getting warm?)
Like an upstart lion that has just taken over a pride, you’ve wasted no time trying to kill the cubs sired by the deposed alpha male. It doesn’t seem to matter to you whether some of Obama’s cubs were worthy of survival — out they go, all of them! You’re relishing your power and asserting your dominance. I understand that. But maybe you should think twice about throwing out the good with the bad. Did it really steam your noodles to make health insurance available to people with pre-existing conditions (i.e., the people who need it most)? Did it grate against your Republican instincts to protect the wildlife in those wildlife refuges?
You seem to be in love with guns. You declared that even crazy people should own them, all the better to mow down mass quantities of unsuspecting citizens (preferably Democrats). You’re in love with money, of course, and you seem hellbent on transferring more of it from the beleaguered middle class to the flourishing business elite. You’ve cooperated with drug companies that cruelly price their life-saving products in the upper stratosphere. You stand steadfastly in opposition to science — especially climate change and evolution, because you’re a bit defensive about fossil fuels and the inerrant nature of the Bible. You’ve eliminated funding for Meals on Wheels and Big Bird, not to mention the arts. (How else are we going to build The Wall?)
You don’t quite know what to do with blacks, Hispanics, gays, feminists and Muslims. It makes you sad that we’re no longer living in Beaver Cleaver’s world, and I can understand the tinge of regret for the lost idyll of mid-20th century America: the innocence, the near-universal moral standards, the tight family and neighborly bonds, the patriotism, the sense of unity as clean-cut fellow Americans. We’re a fractured and often discordant culture, no doubt about it. And the cultural left keeps ramming more changes down your already-sore throats.
I suppose you enjoy thumbing your noses at those smug, sandal-wearing chardonnay-sippers, those coastal progressive snobs who ridicule your values and your spelling at every opportunity. I can’t entirely blame you; I know they can irritate the bejeezus out of you (and occasionally me).
But by destroying institutions and regulations that the elite left holds dear, you’re also hurting the loyal, unadorned folks who once represented the heart and soul of America. They’ve served in the military, labored hard for their wages, suffered financial breakdowns and still salute the flag. You’re letting them down.
Sometimes I have to wonder if your team has gone over to the dark side, deliberately enacting legislation that would appeal to Lucifer or at least Ebenezer Scrooge — the ornery, misanthropic, tightfisted Scrooge, not the Scrooge who gained enlightenment from the three spirits of Christmas. I know you’re tired of paying from your pocket to help people who can’t seem to help themselves — but try to remember that millions of those people actually voted for you. Even those who didn’t still deserve a chance to feed themselves and fight life-threatening illnesses without going broke. (If you haven’t noticed, serious medical treatment today looms beyond the financial reach of all but celebrities, CEOs and investment bankers.)
Are you willing to just let those uninsurable proletarians die and “decrease the surplus population,” in Scrooge’s memorable words? Can you observe their suffering from inside the walls of your gated communities — and are you enjoying it? Have you been reading too much Ayn Rand?
If you’re as Christian as I’d like to think you are, you won’t begrudge them a government-guaranteed helping hand instead of leaving them to the whims of the free market. (The free market isn’t free, and survival can’t depend on whims.)
I know that Democrats can be shrill and supercilious in their opposition to your policies. I can understand why you might want to put your hands over your ears and go “Na-na-na!” while they bleat about patriarchy, privilege and transgender locker room rights. But please be wise enough to separate the bogus from the beneficial. Be big enough to listen to their legitimate grievances. You don’t have to agree — just listen. They’re not the enemy. They’re your fellow Americans.
Eisenhower, model Republican that he was, would have understood. He embodied both strength of character and ordinary human decency. He possessed a generous spirit moderated by classic American pragmatism. He was president of all the people, not just the Republicans.
My final word of advice to you: be more like Ike.
The New Moderate
Coming soon: “An Open Letter to Democrats.”
Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate and the author of the recently published e-book, Lifestyles of the Doomed.