Political parties are constantly accused of what they believe in, and these criticisms are often heavily laced with hyperbole and misinformation. But every four years during a presidential election cycle, each political party enumerates and delineates its positions on a number of the controversial issues of its day, a real chance for the public to see for themselves, and hear from the parties themselves, what it is that each stands for and against.
The 2016 Republican Party Platform, I argue, is one of the most divisive and regressive platforms that the country has seen, one that not only alienates the largest voting block—the millennial generation—but even abandons vast pockets of well-meaning Republicans in the sort of fear-mongering and ignorance that purports a draconian moralizing that most of the American people have started to see right through.
In one of the most homophobic party statements yet, claiming that the ideal family stars a married mother and father, already excluding all same-sex couples, as well as all single parents, are not being up to par with the expected norm. Even though the majority of the Republican Platform Committee stands against gay marriage, they still refuse to use the word ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian,’ opting instead for ‘homosexual.’ The first openly gay Republican Platform Committee member had to ask herself what she was doing there, as her case for the diverse beliefs on traditional marriage even within the GOP aren’t accurately being represented, and has been considering leaving the party since. But while apparently rejecting the gay agenda and their lifestyle choices, the GOP was quick to pander to the LGBT community, stating that terrorists specifically target this demographic, and that the GOP would protect them from terrorists, but will bar their bathroom according to their gender identity, encourage conversion therapy, ban this demographic from adopting children, and prevent them from getting married. Understandably, this thoroughly disturbed many, including the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization for gay conservatives.
Other aspects include barring women from military combat, which perpetuates sexist views of women’s role in society, considers coal as a clean energy source, highlighting an anti-environmentalist view in favor of big business interests, and calling pornography a “public health crisis.” This speaks volumes to the party’s unflinching commitment to scientific ignorance, when pornography is considered a public health crisis, but the VP nominee, Gov. Mike Pence in 2001 claimed that smoking doesn’t kill. Understanding science it vital to implementing public policy, whether it be reproductive medicine, climatology, evolutionary biology, immunology, or epidemiology, or any other science. This is a party that believes the differences between a one-day fertilized egg and a human being are irrelevant, that climate change is a hoax produced by liberal propaganda (unless it’s affecting Trump’s golf courses), that the Bible ought to be taught in public schools, against mandatory vaccinations and for parents beating children if they choose to, etc.
The GOP puts forth a facade of being against Big Government, yet some of the most intimate parts of an American’s life (marriage, comfort in bathroom use, spirituality, one’s uterus) are dictated by very government that Republicans warn citizens about. The Constitution that is so fervently upheld in the public eye goes to waste once it conflicts with their Christian-only teachings in public schools and other assaults to the Constitution. And worst of all is what this does to fellow Republicans.
This platform, the most regressive, arguably, in our nation’s history, forgets about the average working-class Republican. And this is not a celebration of the Democrats, as they have ample shortcomings clearly in contrast to their alleged values. But the GOP platform leaves no room for differences, differences of gender, sexual orientation, other religions or faiths, the value of scientific inquiry, etc. This is a platform that favors an older America, what our country once was, a homogenous nation where gays and lesbians existed, but kept quiet about it, a nation in which other races may have dwelled but surely posed no threat to white America, a nation where a Christian upbringing was needed to perfect and mold society into moral obedience, a nation in which women knew the roles they served and dared not trespass that line, a nation in which parents held authority over children and the state dared not interfere, even if it mean physically hitting children, preventing vaccinations, or sending them off to conversion therapy for choosing a gay lifestyle.
But times have changed. People respect one another, acknowledge differences, understand the idiocy of wanting to privatize national parks and forests, and hopefully are beginning to understand that holding certain conservative beliefs doesn’t necessitate that government dictate lives in oddly intimate ways. And more importantly, these sorts of bigoted platforms are not representative of the majority of well-meaning Republicans, people who hold different and important views economically or regarding policy. And it is political suicide for a majority party to alienate the largest voting block
The GOP has done everything it can, and has crafted the most ignorant and bigoted platform in recent history, one that puts special interests, profits, and white straight Christian sanctimony over the livelihood of fellow human beings, starring a Trump-Pence ticket, on a one way track to political demise in the face of a new liberated and informed generation that outright rejects the vast majority of this sort of platform.
This article was written by Amar Ojha, founder and writer at dusk magazine.