Remembering My Dad, and a Republican Party That Was

Today would have been my dad’s 91st birthday. A lifelong Republican, he would be astounded and appalled at the state of our nation and world if he were alive today.

The rise of the Orange Menace would have left him deeply puzzled. And ashamed. His GOP cared about small businesses and worried over the size of government, but it always acknowledged its relevance and necessity. His GOP was never mean-spirited or bent on punishing the poor for being poor, as this Republican Party has been since the 1990s. His GOP would never have considered abolishing two of the nation’s signature social safety net programs—Social Security and Medicare—that raised a majority of our elderly out of poverty and eased the ravages of old age.

His GOP understood that a functioning democracy required people of good faith on both sides of the aisle to hold the interests of all people in equal measure. His Republicans knew that governance required negotiation and compromise, and placing the common good above their own craven grabs for power and money.  

How far we’ve strayed from that principle.

I am slack-jawed at the recklessness with which the GOP has moved to abolish the health insurance of more than 20 million people in this country. The chaos that will ensue in both the health care and insurance industries will be equally devastating.

Are there no grown-ups in this party? People who can put all Americans’ interests above their own? Who do they think they are helping?

These truly are dark days.