UNITED STATES—Sooner or later, we all need each other. So it’s bewildering how our Congress seems oblivious to the obvious: If they continue with their spineless, deafening silence by not speaking out on behalf of those who would need and very much appreciate their support, eventually they will lose enough of them to be ousted from office.
Their callous disregard for others’ otherness combined with their staggering lack of concern and empathy is truly appalling. Here are just a few examples that showcase how little regard our republican elected representatives must feel toward those whom they believe have nothing in common with them.
When Trump attacked “The Squad” by saying they hate our country and should go back where they came from, how many republican senators or representatives immediately pointed out that they were either born here or became a citizen? Why should they since none of them were women of color.
When Trump spoke of Charlottesville, saying there were fine people on both sides, not one republican senator or representative went ballistic over that comment; after all, none of them are Jewish.
When Trump went after Congresswoman Maxine Waters, saying she is an extraordinarily low IQ person, which republicans in the house or senate energetically defended her and berated the president’s comments? Not being black and female, it was of no concern to them.
When Trump seems gleeful about the deplorable conditions he is needlessly inflicting on immigrants at our southern border, why didn’t ALL republican legislators rise up as one voice and declare this is not what it means to be an American? Well, none of them were desperately trying to escape violence and poverty so how could they relate?
When Trump makes it exceedingly difficult for women to get proper reproductive health care, it likely could be because republican senators and representatives are either male or menopausal females.
When NFL players protested police brutality and racism by respectfully kneeling during the national anthem, a legal form of expression protected by our constitution, why did not one republican senator or representative ferociously denounce Trump when he opined how much he wanted NFL owners to fire them? This answer is easy – none of them are football players.
When Trump argued that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel shouldn’t handle his Trump University lawsuit because he is of Mexican descent, disregarding the fact that he was born in the United States, there was no collective outpouring of support for this judge. And really, why should they as none of them are judges of Mexican descent.
Decrying people coming into our country from “sh**hole” places like Haiti, El Salvador and Africa as Trump notoriously said, why did no one speak up on behalf of these people? C’mon – no republicans in congress came from these countries.
Trump fanned the fires of the birther conspiracy, claiming Obama was not born in the U.S., but how many came forward to say this was absurd? Why bother when they knew that they themselves were born here.
When Trump attacked Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings’ hometown of Baltimore, saying the majority-black city is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess, not a peep from the halls of congress. But geez, why should they get upset; none of them were from Baltimore.
When Trump disparaged Denmark’s prime minister for telling him that Greenland was not for sale, thus driving a wedge between us and a loyal NATO ally, there was no immediate response from congress. Hello? None of them are Danes.
Our elected officials are supposed to protect and defend not only all U.S. citizens, but immigrants and our allies as well, affording each the respect and dignity to which all deserve. But our elected republican officials have stood by impotently, watching the abasement unfold in a nearly paralytic state, so reluctant are they to do their sworn job in upholding our laws, our constitution, and our once unique ideals.
They should take a moment to reflect on the following because those for whom they have not supported and defended may very well someday be unable or unwilling to support them at the polls.
Our lawmakers should heed the words of Martin Niemoller who, speaking of the horrors of the Nazis, wrote:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
These are wise words to contemplate before the upcoming election.