Republicans vs Democrats: What A Difference One Letter Can Make

Words have power. Anyone with sense knows that. They can communicate a wide range of ideas, intentions, and abuses, and they’re only limited by our creativity and imagination in that capacity. Furthermore, their ability to define or categorize can shape the fate of individuals or whole communities. For example, calling black people “thugs” when they don’t toe the line sufficiently for the taste of Fox News defines them as criminals, dangerous people who don’t deserve the rights given to REAL citizens, while calling white sports rioters “boisterous” paints them as just too enthusiastic in their celebration… so enthusiastic that they burn police cars and loot businesses, just because of a sports event. A black man with a gun is a “gangster”, while a white man with a gun is a “patriot”, according to the words chosen by some, no matter how they use those weapons.

Beyond that, even individual letters can make a huge difference. Take, for example, the difference in the treatment of two white New York congressmen, based on the difference between the letters that come after their names.

Representative Michael Grimm, R-NY, has done a lot of bad things. Actual CRIMINAL things, ranging from tax evasion to assault (stopping just short of the additional charge of battery or attempted murder, had he followed through with his threats). It’s not surprising that he’s resigning under such a cloud. Even with this stink about him, he’s enjoyed the blind support of his party and its voters, being re-elected to his seat despite the copious evidence that led him to plead out rather than defend himself in court. Until now, there has been zero action by his party’s leadership to censure him or call for him to remove himself. Indeed, it could be possible that, despite the discussion with Boehner, this resignation is merely Grimm himself deciding he’s had enough – or perhaps it’s to deflect a little of the attention surrounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise who is finding himself in the middle of a huge scandal involving David Duke and the KKK. It certainly doesn’t result from any principled stand or outraged call from his fellows.

Anthony Weiner, former Democratic congressman from New York, on the other hand, committed no crime. He sent pictures of his covered junk to a woman. That’s the grand sum of his crimes and misdemeanors. Oh, and he lied about it when asked about it, but that’s a non-starter as an outrage in Washington. If lying were that big of a deal, three-fourths of Congress would have to be booted to the curb, not to mention most of the press core. The response from his party couldn’t have been been more different from Mr. Grimm’s experience. The body of Democrats who called for him to resign included Representatives Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, Mike Ross of Arkansas, Mike Michaud of Maine, Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts, Larry Kissell of North Carolina, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Among the leadership of the party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel, and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz called for Weiner’s resignation. All this for a consensual act between adults that doesn’t even reach the level of late-night Showtime programming.

It can’t even be claimed that the difference is the sexual nature of the “crime”. David Vitter, former congressman from Louisiana, was embroiled in a scandal involving “the D.C. Madam” and admitted to having been a customer of her prostitutes. Unlike Mr. Weiner’s behavior, Mr. Vitter did commit a crime, solicitation of prostitution which is a misdemeanor. Also unlike Mr. Weiner, there was no effort by Mr. Vitter’s party to remove him from power. This is a fascinating disconnect from the propaganda of the Republican Party; it styles itself the party of morals and family values, but fails regularly to uphold either concept upon its members. It’s almost as if they’re giant hypocrites.

So, we see how broad the chasm of difference in standards between having a R after your name and having a D after your name can be. How much power those little letters can have! Or perhaps it indicates a more significant difference between the parties. Republicans vs Democrats: one of them merely talks about morals and standards, and the other actually attempts to live by them.

Jason Francis

Jason Francis is a red-state liberal, residing in the heart of Dixie where he gets to watch the train wreck of conservative politics up close and personal on a regular basis. He's lived in affluence and poverty, in both urban and rural settings, attended both public and private schools, and has visited most of the US at one point or another.


Facebook comments