The only thing missing from the Republican National Convention mobs and their hateful chants, whoops, and hollers are the white hoods. Amid the ridiculous claims that Donald Trump is actually going to accomplish anything besides being a bombastic bully lurk the scary beliefs of today's Republican Party.
Extreme, irrational, and un-American, the official platform of the Republican Party embraces extreme measures that would destroy our country as we know it. While it's amusing to take pot shots at Melania's plagiarism and Trump's theatrics, we need to pay attention to devil that is in the details.
Here are some direct quotes from the Republican Platform:
On religion: “Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring speech based on religious convictions or beliefs, and therefore we urge the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.” The Johnson Amendment of 1954 reinforces the separation of church and state by prohibiting tax-exempt groups including churches, temples, synagogues, and mosques from making explicit political endorsements. The platform also states, “A good understanding of the Bible [is] indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry,” and it “support[s] the public display of the Ten Commandments.”
All guns, all the time: “We support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states. We support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them. We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle. We also oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law. We condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the current Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers. We oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban.” This is an argument against all types of gun control.
Opposition to legalized gay marriage and support of discrimination:: “Five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman... [We do] not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states. We oppose government discrimination against businesses or entities which decline to sell items or services to individuals for activities that go against their religious views about such activities.”
Letting business exploit student loans: “The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans. In order to bring down college costs and give students access to a multitude of financing options, private sector participation in student financing should be restored.” This undermines reforms that Democrats achieved to dramatically cut student borrowing costs for college.
A constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion: “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.”
Rejecting international human rights: “The Republican Party does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. We support statutory protection for U.S. personnel and officials as they act abroad to meet our global security requirements, and we deplore the current inaction of the Administration in that regard. Our service members must be subject only to American law.”
Climate change denial: “The central fact of any sensible environmental policy is that, year by year, the environment is improving. Our air and waterways are much healthier than they were a few decades ago. As a nation, we have drastically reduced pollution, mainstreamed recycling, educated the public, and avoided ecological degradation. Even if no additional controls are added, air pollution will continue to decline for the next several decades due to technological turnover of aging equipment. These successes become a challenge for Democratic Party environmental extremists, who must reach farther and demand more to sustain the illusion of an environmental crisis. That is why they routinely ignore costs, exaggerate benefits, and advocate the breaching of constitutional boundaries by federal agencies to impose environmental regulation.”
Discriminatory immigration policies: “We support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border.” The platform also states: “Asylum should be limited to cases of political, ethnic or religious persecution.” That would rule out asylum for those terrorized by crime, women discriminated against because of their gender, and those persecuted for being LGBT.
If this were the platform of a fringe Tea Party group or a list of Donald Trump's shoot-from-the-hip policy pronouncements, it would be pathetic. But because it enshrines the core beliefs of one of America's two major political parties, it is disturbing and downright dangerous.
Electing Donald Trump, and giving Republicans a majority of legislative seats in statehouses and in Congress, would lead to a hard-right turn and then a full-speed reverse of America's progress. We must not let that happen.