The Republican Party Is Now Officially Amoral

[ Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2023 – 16:51 UTC ]

Jerry Falwell must be spinning in his grave. For those that don't remember the era, in the 1980s, Falwell was at the forefront of the movement to instill his brand of Christianity into American politics, which at the time mostly meant influencing conservatives and Republicans. This was far enough back when "conservative" and "Republican" weren't as 100 percent interchangeable as they are today, I should point out. Falwell created his own group and called it the "Moral Majority" -- a name meant to highlight what he (obviously) believed was an amoral minority who had become too powerful in American politics. Moralism and being holier-than-thou were the watchwords of the day. Republicans would use all sorts of moral issues (today we'd call them "culture war" issues) as a big wedge to shame Democratic liberals and get more Republicans elected to office. This was long before the moralistic frenzy surrounding Bill Clinton -- that all came later. This is also what laid the groundwork for Republicans painting themselves as taking the moral high road while Democrats collapsed into degenerate "secular humanism." Those days, quite obviously, are gone. Because today's Republican Party is about as amoral as can be imagined -- far beyond the caricature of the godless liberals Falwell painted back in the day. Today's Republicans simply do not care one whit about morals -- any morals at all, it seems.

Or, to put all this another way, Donald Trump has shown Republicans that there simply is no need for morals anymore, because all that matters is power. Call it the dawn of the post-morals GOP. Trump may not be the most amoral (or immoral) president America has ever had, but he'd definitely be in any historian's top three. Nobody with any moral heft on the Republican side called him out on any of it -- not the evangelical leaders of today, not the Catholic officials who supported him, no moralizing organization like the Moral Majority, nobody. And others in the party have taken this lesson to heart, obviously.

Consider that Trump is now trying to get back on Facebook even though he was banned for inciting political violence. He has never renounced his Big Lie that the election was stolen, he repeats it to this day without a scintilla of evidence to back him up. He has never admitted his role in the January 6th attack on Congress and the United States Capitol, even though militia groups like the Proud Boys are now making legal arguments in court that they only did what they did because they were explicitly following Trump's orders. Precious few Republicans have ever denounced Trump for his actions and words that day, and the ones who did have been systematically hounded out of the party or out of office. Or, like the new speaker of the House, instantly had second thoughts and renounced their denouncement of Trump and now deny that very much of anything bad even happened on January 6th. So much for not "bearing false witness," a supposed bedrock of Christian morals. Trump lied over 30,000 times while in office and there were few calls for him to tell the truth from all the rightwing religious leaders, that's for sure. Lying is the new norm in Republican circles, to the point of outright denying reality.

George Santos isn't some sort of standalone aberration -- he is instead the culmination of Trumpism. Who cares about the actual truth of anything as long as you gain power by the lies? As long as the marks believe that you are sincere, you can con them out of anything. Trump certainly proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt, in a flamboyant fashion not seen on the America stage since Emperor Norton. Little wonder that imitators would be springing up like weeds. George Santos certainly isn't the first politician to lie his way into office (and he won't be the last), but the depravity of his lies apparently knows no bounds. And yet, the Republicans in the House of Representatives are largely fine with him joining their ranks as a respected member of the United States Congress. Santos just got two committee assignments from Kevin McCarthy, instead of being frozen out -- or just chucked out of the chamber altogether. Because there definitely is a place for him in today's Republican Party. As long as he votes for the right guy for speaker, of course.

Silence equals complicity. And nowhere is that more starkly and jaw-droppingly apparent in the Republican Party's wink-and-a-nod attitude towards political violence. Political violence used to be universally condemned by both major political parties as abhorrent and unthinkable. There were always a few fringe individuals or fringe movements on both the left and the right which espoused "by any means necessary" tactics, but they never gained acceptance from the main party organization. Now, sadly, one of our parties has if not fully embraced supporting political violence at least has decided that looking the other way and ignoring it is an acceptable path to take.

In the committee assignments the Republicans just announced was a return to the fold for two members who had been banished from their committees for promoting political violence. One posted a video with a cartoon depicting the beheading of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The other has, at times: denied that a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, agreed that 9/11 was an inside job done by our own government, said that mass shootings are "false flag" operations, and incited and later celebrated the January 6th insurrectionists. She just got a seat on the Homeland Security Committee -- even though she tweeted in 2018 that wildfires in California were caused by a laser in space linked to Jews. Both of these Republicans were crucial votes for McCarthy winning the speaker election, so he is now rewarding them with a quid pro quo of cushy and influential committee assignments. Calling for political violence is being rewarded by Republican leadership. It is as plain as the tinfoil on Marjorie Taylor Green's head, in fact.

The culmination of all of this has almost certainly not been reached yet. Nobody's been assassinated. Yet.

But can that day truly be far off? Will anyone truly be surprised it happened? This week, a Republican candidate for state office was arrested in Arizona for (allegedly) both personally shooting at Democratic officials' houses and paying for such houses to be shot up. Thankfully, nobody died or was injured. But it happened.

This individual had a long rap sheet of crimes and time served in jail for burglary (he had been part of a "smash and grab" scheme). There is no way any legitimate political party should have allowed him to appear on a ballot with their party name attached, but it didn't matter to today's Republicans. He (allegedly) personally shot into at least one of the four Democrats' houses who were targeted, and paid off other accomplices to shoot at the other ones. One of these houses had inside it a 10-year-old daughter who was not just woken up by the gunfire directed at her house, but as she slept in her bed her face was dusted by sheetrock when a bullet passed through her bedroom just above her. Ten years old.

The Republican political candidate refused to concede his race, even though he lost by almost 50 points -- 26 percent to 74 percent. He insisted that the election was "rigged" and was a big supporter of both Donald Trump and his Big Lie of non-existent election theft. He appeared at several of the Democrats' houses in person prior to the shootings, where he ranted and raved about the "stolen" election and demanded they change the results. When that didn't work, he resorted to murderous and depraved indifference -- committing what can only be called a terrorist act.

So far, there has been a noticeable absence of Republican Party officials denouncing this Republican candidate for office. If a few have denounced him, it hasn't made much of an impact in the media, I'll put it that way. This is not just amoral, it is downright immoral.

At one time in American politics, the conservative right pushed the idea that they were the moral arbiters of behavior in not just politics, but American life writ large. They were on the highest moral road possible, and Democrats and liberals obviously were not living up to their high standards. Now, the party follows a pathological liar who seeks power above all else. The party either outright condones those who lie to get ahead or looks the other way when they manage to do so. And members of the party who have espoused using political violence to either attain power or coerce elected officials or to just plain terrorize their opponents have been rewarded politically for doing so. The message couldn't be clearer: there are no moral boundaries remaining that, when crossed, mean you can no longer be a Republican in good standing with the national party. The Republican Party has embraced being amoral with a passion.

And Jerry Falwell keeps spinning....

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


3 Comments on “The Republican Party Is Now Officially Amoral”

  1. [1] 
    andygaus wrote:

    They haven't entirely lost the moral high ground as long as they aren't having a lot of cocaine-fueled sex parties. And they aren't, are they?

  2. [2] 
    Speak2 wrote:

    Long before Trump, their lust for power had reached sinful levels. The moral rot has been there for anyone who looked.

    Of course, I see the Falwells as part and parcel of the moral rot. Calling them immoral is almost too nice for them and their ilk.

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Thing of it is that the GOP Shepherd that is Madison Cawthorne has been deposed by the Establishment, so I would not make that assumption in this 118th Congress.

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