The story of Abraham is probably familiar to most people reading this, but to sum it up quickly, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son as a sign of devotion. Only when an angel intervened, because God saw that Abraham feared him, was Isaac spared. Instead a ram was sacrificed – a victory for child welfare advocates, but a big L for vegans. I have been reminded of this biblical story as I watch the modern GOP – a party willing to sacrifice everything from the planet’s health to the lives of (other people’s) children. But unlike Abraham, the GOP is not doing any of this to please a deity.
After reading Invisible Child (a 2022 Pulitzer Prize winner and glowingly reviewed in an early episode of my book club series on my Patreon) I read (probably in the afterword) that the author, Andrea Elliot, had focused her reporting on child poverty. She did this because it was less susceptible to the “personal responsibility” arguments the GOP uses to reject helping the living, while being “pro life” of course. Now thanks to Joe Manchin and the Republican Party (please do not say “Democrats aren’t getting it done when 98% of Democrats in the Senate vote for something and 0% of Republicans vote for something) we have seen that an enhanced child tax credit that reduced child poverty by 30% was still not a worthy enough endeavor to continue. The truth is, as cliché as it has now become, the GOP cares about children as fetal burdens on women and no more (sorry – they do “care” about their exposure to books that talk about sexuality and drag shows).
The GOP’s resistance to solving or even mitigating the myriad problems associated with climate change is so well worn I do not think I have to spend a lot of time addressing it. The bottom line is the world can burn and their grandchildren can drown (of course it won’t happen to their grandchildren) in pursuit of fossil fuel profits. I believe the Democrats should be investing heavily in nuclear energy, but their resistance to that particular solution pales in comparison to the GOP’s resistance to any solution.
It is the gun issue that really made the Abraham comparison crystal clear to me. I do not know who said it, but it is clear that after 20 first graders were slaughtered with an AR-15 in Sandy Hook in 2012 and the GOP did absolutely nothing that the 2nd Amendment had become a suicide pact provision of the Constitution (with the filibuster and its defenders as Dr. Kevorkian). The GOP cannot even be taken seriously when they scream “mental health” as they almost never back up their insincere rhetoric with actual funding. But I think the problem is now deeper than mere hypocrisy. I think the GOP, as much as they do not like the idea of children blown apart by weapons of war, find a perverse pride in not budging on gun control after repeated massacres. In a sort of twisted logic, what shows your principle more than not changing course, even after repeated slaughters of children? And the sunk costs are too high now – how many men, women and children have been gunned down since Sandy Hook? If you admit a mistake now, then those 11 years of killings might partially be on you.
Now of course, we know that “bad guys will always get guns,” but we have so many guns involved in mass shootings that are obtained legally. Why not try? Because owning guns and the futility of gun laws are now articles of faith to the GOP, or at least to their elected representatives. And who gives a shit if x percentage of Republicans believe in common sense regulations if they don’t back that up with votes? They are no longer bound by data or facts (or morality) – and that is the problem.
The only way to save the future of the country and the planet (not in some Fox News fever dream sort of way – but to actually save life on the planet and in our schools) is to elect fewer Republicans. That is it. If you want to have reasonable policy arguments the place to have them is within the Democratic party. But if you want to reduce gun violence and environmental destruction voting for Democrats is the only way right now. When Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son he was doing it for God. As frightening or barbaric as some might find that, the GOP is going much further for a lot less. They are willing to sacrifice your sons and daughters, not for God, but to confirm their fallacy of the sanctity of unencumbered gun rights. Whatever you think of religion, it is clear that the GOP is the most dangerous faith in America and their gun loving members are the worst version of Abraham.
Perhaps it is time they admit that guns are their gods: they give them a sense of safety, a sense of power and the ability to take life. Of course that is the Old Testament God. It is in the New Testament when Jesus showed up (before the GOP, he had a big role in Christianity) and replaced that wrath with love. Quite tragic and ironic that so many “Christians” believe that God gave up his only son as a sign of love for humanity, just to have many of those self-identifying followers sacrifice other people’s sons for their guns.