My Turn: What to know about Party of No

People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

People walk outside the U.S Capitol building in Washington, D.C. AP FILE PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY

By JUDY WAGNER

Published: 07-10-2024 6:08 PM

 

Throughout the history of our country there has been a pattern of shifting priorities for the political parties seeking power through elections. There has been some fluidity as people sought the party that best reflected their interests. One group of party defectors who shifted allegiance in 1884 was called the “Mugwumps,” humorously defined as “a bird who sits with its mug on one side of the fence and its wump on the other.”

At one time the Democrats were the supporters of the Confederacy aligned against Lincoln and his Republican Party, who espoused equality and national unity and opposed slavery. Remnants of powerful segregationist beliefs dominated in the Deep South Democrats until the 1960s. Then Democrats somewhat reluctantly (after the assassinations of JFK and then Martin Luther King Jr.) became the advocates of equal rights under the leadership of President Lyndon Johnson.

These days the parties have switched completely. Lincoln’s party, once the vanguard of equity and opportunity for all, has become the Party of NO.

Let’s look at some of the key issues and positions:

NO abortion rights: The most extreme proposals never allow any abortion options even if the mother’s life is in danger, the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest, or the fetus has no chance of survival.

NO contraception: More recent proposals hint at criminalizing the use of many or all types of birth control so that women and their partners have no say in the planning of families. Related is NO in-vitro conception options for childless couples who need help with fertility.

NO fair taxes: Repeated proposals of lower taxes for rich people and corporations, and higher taxes proportionately for lower-income Americans. Donald Trump’s tax cuts added nearly $2 trillion to the national deficit and if extended in 2025, deficits will increase continually into the future.

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NO Social Security: Proposals range from outright abolishment to privatization that would surely increase costs and reduce benefits.

NO Medicare or Medicaid: Plans range from outright abolishment of the Affordable Care Act to further privatizing medical care (undoubtedly increasing costs) to deep cuts in coverage and retraction of price controls for medications.

NO bipartisan action on immigration: The recent bipartisan plan was scuttled by radical Republicans who espouse massive deportations, rounding up immigrants and internment.

NO climate action: In fact, the proposals are to rescind the recent bills providing huge support for American businesses and families who want to invest in green energy to reduce global warming and help the country prepare itself for the dangers of climate-related heat, storms, flooding and fires.

NO support for quality public education: The preferred model is vouchers for private schools, often religious in focus, funded by our tax dollars.

NO enforcement of judicial ethics and integrity: The Supreme Court embodies the ethical lapses at the highest level, and lower courts are also showing signs of obstruction and deep bias undercutting established precedent and laws. So far this has swept away abortion rights, the ability of government to enforce laws set by Congress and the destruction of “no one is above the law” by granting immunity to presidents for even unlawful acts if they label it “official duties.”

NO restraints on businesses: Whether they monopolize, use unfair competition, pollute, abuse employees or workers, gouge prices, falsify information or otherwise prey on the unwitting consumer.

NO protection for the right to worship (or not) as one chooses: Instead, “Christian nationalism” is proposed. Would Jesus condone this definition of Christianity?

NO commitment to allies around the world: Republicans suggest retreating from NATO and other international alliances, allowing Russia to overrun Ukraine and potentially neighboring European nations.

NO common-sense gun control: Guns are a leading means of suicide and homicide. Firearms suicide rates are the highest since 1968; six out of 10 gun deaths are suicides — 69 per day. Republicans have blocked efforts to strengthen gun protection; the Supreme Court just rolled back protections from altered rapid-fire weapons.

NO respect for the rule of law: Witness the constant repetition of lies about the Jan. 6 insurrection, recent court actions that fail to hold our former president to account, and flouting of basic precedent and process in legal proceedings.

Where does this platform leave this voter? No confidence!

Judy Wagner lives in Northfield.