Although there are similarities between hypocrisy and double standards, most Americans understand that the type of person, or group, practicing either one indicates a fundamentally flawed character. For Americans paying attention to Republican rhetoric and activities over the past month, it is obvious the party, and the conservative movement in general, is lacking any semblance of morality or respect for the United States Constitution or their own ideals. In fact, what is becoming a defining trait among Republicans, so-called true conservatives, and particularly the religious right is that their distorted view of the Constitution is only applicable and true when it fits their decidedly anti-American agenda; an agenda they claim is protected by the nation’s founding document. However, Republicans have exceeding just applying constitutional protections and standards in a one-sided manner, and have exhibited blatant hypocrisy and double standards that belie their own strongly-held advocacy for positions on foreign policy, business and free market capitalism, religious freedom, and now the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech.
Over the past month, Republicans disregarded their contention that it is a mortal sin to interfere with a private corporation’s business when they intervened in a Tennessee Volkswagen plant’s union representation vote, as well as attempting to dictate to technology giant Apple who and how they could do business with. After protestors drove Ukraine’s president out of the country prompting Russian president Vladimir Putin to send troops into Crimea, Republicans demanded that President Obama confront Putin militarily for intervening in a sovereign nation’s internal affairs despite giving undying support to George W. Bush when he pre-emptively invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Across America, Republicans defend evangelical fundamentalists’ contention that the Constitution affords them the right to abridge other Americans religious liberty, and now Louisiana Republicans are attempting to deny private Americans their 1st Amendment freedom of speech.
This week, MoveOn, an organization with more than 8 million members received a letter from Louisiana Republican Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne ordering the organization to cease and desist exercising their right to free speech. Earlier in the week MoveOn purchased ad space on billboards in Republican-controlled states criticizing Republican and teabagger governors for rejecting free federal funding to expand Medicaid to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of poor Americans from receiving healthcare. Republicans in Louisiana are furious that a non-right wing organization has the temerity to criticize Governor Bobby Jindal and lied by claiming their objection to the billboard is that it used Louisiana’s slogan, “Pick Your Passion.” The full text of the billboard is; “Louisiana – Pick your passion! But hope you don’t love your health. Gov. Jindal’s denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.”
MoveOn Communications Director Nick Berning acknowledged that Dardenne’s letter was an attack on the organization’s freedom of speech and responded by saying, “MoveOn will not back down in the face of baseless legal threats. If Republican officials don’t want to be criticized for keeping hundreds of thousands of Louisianans from accessing Medicaid, there’s a simple solution — they should stop preventing Louisianans from accessing Medicaid. Neither Governor Jindal nor Lt. Governor Dardenne will silence MoveOn members. This billboard is protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Instead of wasting our time and theirs with a pathetic attempt to suppress criticism of the state government, state officials should focus on helping nearly 245,000 Louisianans access Medicaid. If he is truly concerned about Louisiana’s image, Lt. Gov. Dardenne’s time should be spent getting people health care, not trying to take down a billboard.”
The real issue is not that MoveOn used Louisiana’s slogan, or that the organization exposed Jindal’s hateful move to prevent nearly a quarter-of-a-million poor people from receiving healthcare; it is Republicans demanding that Americans adhere to GOP ideology or face suppression. Republicans subscribe to a different standard for their contributors such as the Koch brothers, Heritage Action, or any right-wing group spreading blatant lies in television ads, radio spots, and billboards criticizing President Obama and Democrats. Republicans are so averse to the truth they are attempting to abridge 8 million Americans freedom of speech to prevent Louisianans from learning their governor hates the idea of poor people receiving healthcare; even if the federal government pays for it. Under the Affordable Care Act, 100% of the cost to expand Medicaid is covered by the federal government for three years. After three years the most any state, including Louisiana, will ever have to contribute cannot exceed ten percent of the expansion costs.
Louisiana Republicans’ attempting to abridge 8 million MoveOn members’ freedom of speech is typical of fascists, Nazis, and tyrannical dictators who use lie-filled propaganda to incite opposition to their enemies and silence dissenting voices telling the truth. It certainly is a blatant attack on the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech, but it is a trend among conservatives and Republicans holding groups, foreign nations, and corporations to a different standard than their supporters if they fail to follow conservative ideology. It is not the first time Republicans have silenced dissenting voices as evidenced by their town halls where they evicted or arrested attendees who disputed a Republican’s (Paul Ryan) sophistry about a plethora of issues.
Republicans and their various cohorts hate the Constitution as much as they hate democracy, free enterprise, and the American people. It is a warning about what kind of nation this would be if Republicans controlled the government. Since the election of Barack Obama, Republicans have attempted, through legislation or the judicial system, to enforce adherence to one conservative standard and suppress opposition whether it is Democratic voters, non-religious right fundamentalists, corporations embracing unionization or renewable energy, or 8 million Americans freedom of speech and it is tyrannical fascism. Perhaps asserting Republicans hold Americans to a double standard is inaccurate because if the past month has revealed anything about Republicans, it is that they demand all Americans adhere to one standard or face suppression. It drives their government obstruction, interference with private corporations, voter suppression, support for religious extremism, and now silencing dissension that makes Republicans the only dictators in America.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.