As President Donald Trump enters the eighth month of his presidency, he does so amid a chorus of voices opposing his every move – some voices, at least. With a destructive agenda seeking to remove the health insurance of more than 20 million Americans to environmental deregulation to proposing tax reform that will inevitably benefit the very wealthy, Trump’s initiatives have faced strong opposition from Democrats. This resistance, though, consisting only of the opposing party, is not enough.
One of the most disappointing aspects of President Trump’s presidency has been the lack of spine displayed by Congressional Republicans. Many Republicans, both in swing-districts and strongly-red districts, campaigned on serving as a “check and balance” to President Trump. While he might call for the deportation of millions of Americans or the repeal of a healthcare law that has significantly increased healthcare enrollment in the United States, these members of Congress claimed that they would serve as the buffer between Trump’s outlandish, cruel promises and their actual implementation.
Unfortunately, as was apparent almost immediately — they lied. As if it wasn’t enough to have a highly incompetent and grossly unprepared person as president, Republicans had no problem overwhelmingly supporting his incompetent and unprepared cabinet nominations either. For instance, only two Senate Republicans voted against the nomination of Betsy DeVos — who explained that guns serve a valuable purpose in schools in case of potential grizzly bear attack and struggled to relay the importance of protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ students in schools — to Secretary of Education. While Congressional Democrats stood united in opposition to President Trump’s nominations and rallied the voices of millions of Americans against these grotesquely unqualified or appalling selections, Republicans’ actions spoke loudest of all: silence.
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There comes a time when one should prioritize America’s core values over party loyalty. In an ideal world, this would take place all the time, but it rarely does. One would hope that in the case of dangerous or unethical legislation, this would change — but Republicans proved this theory wrong. As President Trump championed a health care bill that would substantially raise health care costs on the elderly while reducing their coverage and allow those with pre-existing conditions to be charged at excessive rates, did Republicans grow a backbone and say that this was an unacceptable and a repulsive contradiction of American values? Did Republicans, who claim to be strict followers of the Constitution (and its guaranteed rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”) determine that a bill that would ultimately result in the needless deaths of thousands of Americans was unacceptable? No. They did not.
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Shamefully, pathetically, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed this bill and then celebrated it alongside President Trump on the White House front lawn in front of a spectacle of cameras — smiling, gloating, laughing at what they had “accomplished.” Democrats, on the other hand, strongly condemned President Trump’s initiatives and fought them tooth-and-nail.
Whether it comes to President Trump’s reduction of climate change research or his proposal to eliminate DACA or most other aspects of his agenda, a common trend has emerged. Democrats condemn these plans as morally unjust and contradictory to American values. Republicans stay silent and offer no opposition. Even Gov. Scott Walker, one of Donald Trump’s opponents in the 2016 Republican primaries, has since offered little condemnation of the President or his agenda, instead inviting him back to Wisconsin and being supportive of many of Trump’s most outlandish proposals such as his healthcare bill.
In the face of President Trump’s heartless and impractical agenda, now is the time for all Americans who truly believe in American values of empathy, openness and decency to stand united in opposition. While Democrats have led the charge in mitigating the damage and fighting for the America many still believe in, more must be done by conservatives. In the face of an injustice, it’s the duty of all to raise their voices and put a stop to it. Unfortunately, thus far, the silence of conservatives and Republicans has spoken louder than anything else.
David Weinberg ([email protected]) is a sophomore deciding between political science, finance and journalism