Every politician and political party plays partisan politics with a healthy dose of hypocrisy, but the Republicans, once again taking their cues from the failed dictator Trump, have really upped the ante in this never ending game of Calvinball.
First, they cheer the Citizens United decision, which essentially turns corporations into human beings (while simultaneously still longing for the early days of the Republic when Sub-Saharan Africans, Natives and women weren’t Constitutionally quite full humans or citizens). And, now? Now that some major corporations put their reading glasses on, grokked the public message and have come out (rather) forcefully against the fakakted Make Georgia White Again through Voter Suppression Law and are behaving like *gasp* human beings in their disapproval the GOP suddenly has their knickers in a knot.
I can understand the occasional, or even cyclical, bout of political and policy hypocrisy from politicians, corporations and individuals alike. In this case, though, the Republican Party has crossed over from espousing ideas in jingoistic rhetoric to fan the base but not really intending on following through to declaring that just because they’ve dived head first into the cake after gorging at the All You Can Eat Sushi place, a 4 hour stop at Sizzler, a mid-day layover at Olive Garden for All You Can Eat Soup, Salad and Breadsticks, they shouldn’t actually gain any weight and their pants fit just fine, thank you very much.
Reality has a nasty way of expanding our waistlines, though, when we drown a little too much in our own stupidity and fantasies. And, with major corporation after major corporation piping up about how voter suppression isn’t really, truly democratic or American, well, the Republican Party now has a problem, and one Mitch McConnell seems all too happy to ignore. And, what exactly is that problem? Public opinion and the People’s Power of the Purse.
See, this is where I see the Republican Party has dived headfirst off the deep end. For all of eternity (at least it feels that way) Corporate America has been close buddies with the Republican Party, with regular poker nights on Wednesday and dinner dates with the spouses on Fridays. Real chummy chummy, and if this were a 1960’s sitcom I’m sure there’d be some cute kids, a dog, a Chevy in the driveway and a freshly baked apple pie always in frame. But, one thing the Republicans seem to have forgotten, especially in the last 4 or 5 years under Trump’s spell: Corporate America gets to remain Corporate America with a fat expense account and a liquor cart in the office because The People give them all their money. When The People are disgusted by outright power grabs, Jim Crow-era laws waking from the dead to suppress their friends, neighbors and family, and politicians behaving in the most cynical ways bolstered by paper thin false narratives, and they can’t reach those elected officials to tell them to reverse course, well, there’s only one place to go. The Big Money Guys who historically have supported these detached from reality politicians.
And, what can The People do when their elected officials run amok and start taking away constitutional rights and freedoms? Oh, that’s simple, something my father always said to me, “Vote with your wallet.” And, that, my friends, is exactly what’s happening in Georgia and will happen across the country as other Republican dominated State governments decide that the fantasy world of Trump and The Big Voter Fraud is in fact reality.
So, why exactly do I say that the Republican Party has officially lost its collective mind when for decades the party and its members have gleefully pursued discriminatory laws? What makes today so different?
Well, simple, changing demographics and a changed American ethos and mental image of what a Democratic Republic should look like. A changed, and I’d say supercharged, idea of where our, the Voter, power lies. When we can’t get through to our Representatives or Senators (State or Federal), our Governors or Mayors, that doesn’t mean we’re shit out of luck. It just means we have to use the nuclear option, the Lever of Commerce. We have to stand up and tell the corporations that support these politicians, that make the States their home where voter suppression is the new hottie in town, that these laws, these restrictions, these handcuffs around our Constitutional right to have our voice heard (First Amendment, anyone?) are vile and intrinsically wrong. That if they continue to support these politicians and by extension voter suppression and discriminatory laws, be they aimed at the trans community, women, people of color, etc., they are no longer worthy of our Almighty Dollar. And, it’s not enough to pull financial support (or, as is all too often the case, say they’re pulling financial support but continue to donate), these companies, from the top down, must make a public stand. Not just release the words to the press, not just give a short public statement, but they must back up their rhetoric with real world action.
Major League Baseball has done just that. Delta and Coca-Cola have both condemned the Georgia law. And, what has the de facto leader of the Republican Party, Mitch McConnell, said to all that? Not that this is America and one of our greatest, most cherished freedoms is to be able to publicly disagree, not just with each other, but with our elected officials and governments. No, Mitch McConnell comes out and tells corporations to stay out of politics, but keep giving us money. Not sure how that works in a sane reality. What this tells me is that the Republican Party knows, deep down somewhere, that even before Trump they had less than a policy agenda. All they’ve had for the past decade or so is strategy and tactics to suppress the vote, either through extreme gerrymandering or State-level laws. More often than not, as we’re seeing, through both. Without a solid party platform they are left with nothing but the insanity of The Power Grab and The Big Lie. The Party as a whole has, for some twisted logical reason decided that America no longer needs Democracy. That in the bent and tortured reality Republicans have created for themselves America was never a Democracy, the Founders never intended for the country’s politics or social order to change, that the country’s democratic features would always only extend to wealthy White Christian property owners. They’ve also, collectively, decided that threatening major, multi-billion dollar corporations that employ tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people worldwide will somehow, for some reason, cower in the corner when State politicians decide to take a few million in subsidies off the table. When faced with hundreds of millions, or even billions, in lost business because The People are voting with their wallet, I know where I’d position my company, and it’s not at the dinner table with Mitch McConnell and his wife. To think otherwise, to expect otherwise, well, I’m no psychologist, but that to me is sheer insanity.