PUTNEY — The Trump administration has brought into stark relief the true lack of morality of the Republican party. The transformation from an organization supported decades ago by members of the Moral Majority to one that acts more like the mob than a governing party has been supercharged under the leadership of the current president.
This is fascinating. I think I might not be so different from many on the left: I do not believe in God, and I do not go to religious services.
And yet, my life has been directed by a strong and unquestionable voice that has pushed me to work for justice and a sustainable Earth.
Personally, I was radicalized by involvement in protesting the war in Vietnam as a high school student. I spent years witnessing the horrible effects of our country's war, watching it unfold on television with my family every night.
We saw the napalm, the burning of the jungles and grass huts, the self-immolation of Buddhist monks, and the body bags coming home.
We would see Lyndon Johnson, then Richard Nixon, fumble the ball, trying to explain why we needed to be in Vietnam, how there was a plan to “win” the war, and how the revolving door of crooks in the South Vietnam government really deserved our blood and treasure.
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I am not the only person whose teenage nights were filled with rage and sadness about the images we absorbed of innocent Vietnamese civilians being injured and killed.
In the 1980s, the United States was clearly on the side of the bad guys in the multiple interventions on the side of the small elite classes in Central America.
The alliances fighting these military interventions and the training and arming of the far-right in this region were comprised of the U.S. left and Catholics steeped in liberation theology. Many of us traveled to support the movements in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala, and we lobbied as well for a stop to the interventions.
The continued United States support for brutal far-right dictators (see Honduras) is one of the major reasons for the immigration waves from Central America.
If the United States had not spent the billions of dollars on boosting the wrong side in civil wars and instead spent that money on creating a just society in these countries, millions of citizens would have happily stayed home.
And yet there were still those who were willing to call Ronald Reagan, who presided over much of this damage, “moral” because he was fighting Communism - the same justification for the millions of deaths in Vietnam.
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So here we are in 2020. After five years of exposure to Donald Trump's cruelty, lies, creative illegal government, and cheating wherever possible, the issue of morality is huge.
Clearly, the Trump supporters who continue to hang on the president's every word and impulse are not considering what is right and wrong: lying, threatening others with violence due to their beliefs or the color of their skin, skimming millions from the federal treasury, hating those who might hold different views, and refusing to cooperate in helping keep society together in the face of COVID-19 (the greatest health crisis in our lifetimes).
All are immoral positions. The fact that the members of white evangelical churches have been Donald Trump's greatest allies may have put off some from clearly accusing these people of being evil. But the clarity of this conflict between right and wrong is crystal clear.
The utter failure of the government response to COVID-19 highlights the complete lack of morality of the Trump administration.
Public health is a value. In most other countries of the world, the response to the pandemic has been a unified one. But the Trump cult's refusal to act in a manner that indicates that they actually give a damn about anyone but themselves has been clear for months.
How do we live with people who compare wearing a cloth mask with the gas chambers of World War II or the bondage of slavery?
How do we live with people who would sooner spread a lethal disease to their fellow citizens than learn about the disease for themselves and act accordingly?
What is the morality in refusing to try to protect the many vulnerable citizens from a pandemic for a few more months until there is a vaccine?
And where is the morality of the Republican party when they are unwilling to pass a bill to assist the millions of Americans suffering existential threats to their lives due to job and housing losses?
The talk of finding common ground with these people - some of whom have openly stated that as a Jewish leftist I should be cancelled - is not something of interest to me.
The corporate media has finally called out the Trump government for its repeated lies and creative use of the law. Now the American people need to push the new party in power to hold the Trump mob accountable for their many crimes, to speak of a country where we are willing and able to support those many who are in need right now, and to push for a long-term movement toward a sustainable and moral society.