By Ryan Chou
For the past few years since I’ve gotten more actively engaged in the events of modern American politics, something has become apparent to me this year: morality does not seem to matter because hypocrites keep getting elected and re-elected to their positions.
2020 has been a perfect example of this hypocrisy. Remember when in 2014, Trump tweeted out that Obama should resign because an Ebola-positive doctor from Guinea had gotten into the United States? Or how relentlessly Republicans attacked Obama for allowing any cases to get into the country because it was unacceptable? Yet now, with 260,000 dead Americans in a pandemic that has not had anything remotely close to an ending due to an incompetent administration pushing the lie that this virus is a hoax and apparently less fatal than the flu despite the fact that hospitals across the country are now being overwhelmed for a third time due to skyrocketing cases, Republicans are mostly silent. Trump has called his response a “10/10”, and many of his Republican colleagues, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have consistently pushed to often ignore CDC guidelines by re-opening the country.
Oh, and don’t forget how Republicans such as Lindsey Graham are now accusing Democrats of “politicizing” the virus for their advantage. Personally, I don’t think there’s much to exaggerate or a way not to politicize this crisis where most Republican lawmakers seem to have fallen exactly in line with Trump’s neglect of the virus, who has often cited a 98 or 99% survival rate for COVID despite how misleading that statistic is. However, back to “politicizing” a virus. “Politicizing” a disease should sound familiar to Republican lawmakers. We never even got to the double digits in Ebola cases, and we only had 2 deaths, yet Republicans took full advantage of the political advantage the virus posed and used it to attack Barack Obama and the Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections. Yet six years later in the middle of a pandemic that has killed far more people in America alone than Ebola did globally, the GOP is now crying foul over the same thing they did six years prior, although this time there may be more merit to “politicizing” this crisis.
And let’s not forget Amy Coney Barrett. Aside from controversy over her experience and the fact that vital stimulus checks were on the backburner while her appointment was placed front and center, what happened in 2016? Justice Scalia unfortunately passed away, and 8 months before the election, Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take his vacant seat. Did the Republican-controlled Senate seemingly drop everything they were doing to appoint him? No. They delayed the nomination because they argued it was too close to the election. But when Barrett was nominated, the Republicans rushed her through and appointed her a week before the election. And I’ll use Lindsey Graham’s words against him here because he said, “I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’” Donald Trump was a Republican president elected in 2016, and the vacancy opened just over a month before the election. And he said to let the next president, who will be Democrat Joe Biden, decide on the nominee. But in pure hypocritical fashion, he voted yes for Judge Barrett and seemed enthusiastic about her. Not only that, but he got re-elected to his Senate seat this November by double-digit margins.
As someone who does not necessarily align themselves with the Democratic party, witnessing the revelation of the blatant hypocrisy of so many Republican lawmakers has been annoying and angering. And I have little doubt that if the roles were somehow reversed, the corporate politicians who affiliate themselves with the Democratic party would be doing the same.