I woke up this morning with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, because I knew that as soon as I turned on my phone, I’d get a notification of the Republican’s “accomplishment.” Late last night, the Republican Party displayed their true colors by passing their tax bill that, as I stated on Thursday is nothing more than a love letter to the 1%.
This bill is a nightmare for the American people. It reduces corporate tax rates from 35 to 20%, downplays the estate tax, and, while it does not destroy the ACA’s individual mandate, it will abolish the requirement that every American have insurance, much the way the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder by saying states didn’t need their voting practices reviewed by the federal government. The bill will also authorize drilling for oil in Alaska, because ripping Americans off of their health coverage wasn’t apparently enough. Even though there is no need right now to give a tax break to the wealthiest bracket, Republicans believe the cuts will mysteriously pay for themselves. This despite the fact that when Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush sold the same mythical philosophy, we ended up with three of the worst financial crises in our history.
If you have spent the last few months, or few years, searching for a “good Republican” who will stop the madness and stand up to Donald Trump’s, you have wasted your time. The Republicans are not loyal to you, or to the country they were elected to govern: they are loyal only to their party and their billionaire donors. I know the Left doesn’t want to believe that one side could be that bad, but if you keep searching for these people’s hearts, you will search in vain. John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski all voted three months ago to uphold the ACA – now they’ve voted to take away people’s Medicare. Jeff Flake, who stood up to Donald Trump and isn’t even running for re-election next year, voted with them as well. Only outgoing Tennessee Republican Bob Corker stood against the bill, but that was only due to what the bill will do the national debt.
This is what the Republican Party has been since the turn of the 20th century: an institution to uphold the rights of the 1%, while occasionally throwing a bone to the rest of us. You want to know why they put up with Trump for so long? You want to know why Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell never took a stand against him during the election, and never forcefully condemned his behavior? It’s because they wanted this tax cut. All they care about is making their donors and themselves wealthy, while leaving the rest of us in the dust. Even if the Mueller probe removes Trump from office, you can bet they’ll all pretend they never supported him. They’ve already got what they wanted. If he’s removed before the midterms, many of them will campaign on, “I was never really for Trump.”
And this is where you and I come in. We must hold Congressional Republicans accountable for their actions both last night and throughout the last few years – their obstruction of Barack Obama, their unwillingness to do anything when they learned the Trump campaign had Russian ties, and their enabling of the closest thing to a dictator our nation has ever had. Take the disappointment and sadness you feel right now and translate it into activism, organization, and outrage.
First, if your Senator who voted for this bill, call their office and express your frustration. If you have a Republican representative who is going to vote for this bill when it goes back to the House this month, call them too. House phone numbers are in this hyperlink; Senate phone numbers in this one. Remember that they always have more than one office, so don’t stop until you’ve tried calling every one. If they don’t pick up at any of them, fax them. Jam their lines if you have to, just don’t stop until they’re all tied up.
Then, get involved with your local district. You can use this article I wrote about organizations that you can get work with. Get involved with a campaign. If there’s a Republican congressman whose district voted for Hillary, and they are close to where you live, work for their Democratic challenger. If you’ve thought about running on the local level, do that too. The results in Virginia and New Jersey last month proved that there are many people out there who have been emboldened by this administration and want to make change happen on the local level. It doesn’t matter if you’re not running for Congress; running for school board can make a huge difference too.
We don’t have a moment to waste. The Republican Party will never represent the entire American people, and if everyone voted, they would lose every single time. They know this, and we should know it too. It takes a lot to see past the BS they’ve tried to infect you with over the years, like the belief that “both sides do it,” but that’s not true. The Republicans have betrayed this country and the sooner we start organizing for 2018, the more we can insure that they never do it again.
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Jeremy Fassler is a writer and journalist living in Brooklyn, New York.