From Paul Ryan’s touting the virtues of President Trump’s ineptitude to Mitch McConnell’s shameless Senate Majority Leadership, Republicans are on the verge of losing the Republic. Immediately after the Capitol Hill shooting, instead of offering a way out of violence, Republican Representative Chris Collins boasted about deciding to carry his concealed weapon on more occasions. However, he did offer us solace by saying he would not carry it to a school. In bending over backwards to place party and winning over country, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan actually acknowledged that the current President is in the midst of on the job training and is not yet quite up to speed on doing the job of President. This means that the current President is President, but he is no President. In defending the current Republican operative of the White House, Ryan even cast dispersion on Washington protocol and decorum.
After the Republican led House of Representatives passed the draconian American Health Care Act, many assumed that it would be dead upon arrival in the Senate. However, in an ongoing effort not to be accused of ever doing the right thing, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell devised a plan to shepherd the bill through the Senate by not allowing any public hearings or debates on the legislation. It is true that no Republicans voted for the Affordable Health Care Act when it passed in 2010. However, Republicans were not shut out of debates on the bill. Republicans had ample opportunities to study each proposal. McConnell has not only shut Democrats out of the process, he has also hidden the bill from many of his own Republican colleagues. The endgame is simply to past something in order to give Trump a legislative victory. Allow me to repeat. The endgame is simply to pass “anything.” There is no consideration for whom the proposed law will hurt. Republican lawmakers do not even want to wait on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assessment of their plan. They know it will be a negative report. How is that someone can be ideologically predisposed to be against providing their fellow citizens with even a modicum of health care? How can about 32 percent of voters support such an austere public demeanor?
Legend has it that Benjamin Franklin was asked the question, “What do we have here, a Republic or a Monarchy?” His famous reply was “A Republic, if you can keep it.” For the first eight years of the experiment, George Washington showed a way to keep the Republic. After leaving office, Washington admonished the new Americans that their government is the source of their happiness. This is not to say that America was perfect from its inception. America was not. Coddling African enslavement was testament enough to this fact. Yet, add to it the slaughter of Native Americans, devaluation of Mexicans, and resigning women to second-class citizenship give more evidence. Keep in mind that there were anti-Federalists at the beginning of this new government. They sought smaller government. I do not believe that they sought to destroy government.
An interesting intellectual history could be written tracing the conceptual steps that led up to Ronald Reagan’s pronouncement that “government is the problem.” This statement runs counter to Washington’s position. It also runs counter to Lincoln’s determination to save the Union. Without government, there is no Union. Yet, this anti-government fervor has engulfed the Republican Party. An extremely wealthy and powerful private section is competing with government for supremacy. This powerful private sector would parcel out government responsibility and services to the highest bidder and resign itself just to facilitate a good investment environment. The American private sector may be wealthy and powerful, but it cannot regulate 320 million people. From time to time privatization ideas are floated. Ross Perot wanted to privatize mail delivery. Newt Gingrich favors orphanages and churches over the social safety net. Paul Ryan simply detests the social safety net. The current President recently floated the idea of privatizing air traffic control. This administration also wants to do away with public schooling. The fact that Congress is not functioning does not excite current Republicans. Aside from giving tax breaks for the wealthy and securing a military and a police force to protect private property, today’s Republicans have no agenda. If current trends continue, history will record that today’s Republican Party lost “the Republic.” The unfortunate reality is that freedom, democracy, the forming of a more perfect union, and the pursuit of happiness all bound to that “Republic.”
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”