You might think me uncharitable, but I don’t believe Senator Jeff Flake’s shock that his party is supporting child molester Roy Moore. Flake wondered on Twitter today, “Is this who we are? This cannot be who we are.”
Above, Senator Flake’s either naive or disingenuous Tweet wondering how a party that elected a man who said he likes to grab women by their genitals could possibly support a man who grabs girls by their genitals. Oh, I know that Flake sees that Trump is vile. But Flake still supports a party that codifies laws that hurt women and children, and he has benefitted from the same misogyny that got Trump into office.
Senator Flake: This is who the Republican Party has been for a long time.
Note: I’m not saying that Dems don’t make excuses for the crimes of their own. I’m saying that, for Republicans, violence against women and children and other vulnerable people is a commitment. It’s part of their party platform. It’s the result of their policies. Why in the world would you expect them to be outraged at personal behavior that aligns with their politics, which consistently say that powerful men should have control over weaker people? In fact, according to Donald Trump says that powerful people taking advantage of weaker ones is EXACTLY how people should act.
Flake has long been invested in the idea that Trump isn’t representative of his party. And I do think that Trump has brought out the worst in conservatives. He hasn’t simply revealed how deplorable so many of them are but has also fostered hatred in them. But it wouldn’t have worked if Republicans hadn’t, since at least Nixon, been overtly waging a war on the vulnerable, and Flake has been a part of that.
Don’t believe me?
Why did a Republican-led Congress allow health insurance for America’s needy children to expire?
Why does the House’s proposed tax bill eliminate deductions that support families, like the personal exemption (which will hurt large families), the deduction for child care, and the deduction for tuition interest?
Why won’t Republican governors or legislatures ban child marriage in their states? (Hint: it’s at least in part because they justify it on religious grounds, just like Moore’s supporters in Alabama do.)
Why do we have 50,000 children in youth prisons (and even more in adult prisons) on any given day? Why do they pretend to care so much about the state of black families but incarcerate black men at such high rates?
Why do Republican-led states spend so much less on public education for children?
Why do Republicans continue to work against women’s health care? I’m not even talking about abortion–I’m talking about access to safe and reliable contraception, prenatal care, breast pumps, and maternity leave that allows women to heal from delivery and bond with their children.
Why do Republicans make excuses for rapists?
Why do they allow police officers who kill children of color to go unpunished?
Or maybe this question will suffice:
Mass shootings are clearly linked to domestic violence: entitled men who feel that they have the right to control women and who lash out when that power is threatened. Because mass shooters often target women, they occur in settings where women and children are more likely to be: schools, churches, daycare centers.
Why won’t Republicans do anything at all to stop violence that disproportionately kills women and children?
Above, the explosion of gun manufacturing in the US over the past 8 years. And, yes, Republicans have disproportionately benefited from donations from the gun lobby and so have every little incentive to curtail the number of guns made or sold in the US.
To be fair, Senator Flake is working to keep guns out of the hands of known abusers, which is hardly a heroic position to take if you think that men who crack their children’s skulls forfeit their right to bear arms. And, like his handwringing about conservative defenses of child molestation, it’s a little late. The number of guns manufactured in the US has doubled in the last 8 years. You simply can’t put a gun for every single person in America–including the more than 33,000 who will die by gun this year–into the marketplace and expect that violence won’t happen.
Republicans are quite willing to let those deaths happen. They–the lives of pregnant women, babies, and kindergartners–are the cost of freedom. That is, freedom for men to own guns. The costs to women–our lives, our safety, our babies–isn’t even part of their math.
If Republicans won’t protect women from mass murderers, why would we expect them to protect us from sexual assault?