Why I Resist

By Mike Sexton, OFA Volunteer
“Thus says the Lord GOD, "Enough, you princes of Israel; put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness. Stop your expropriations from My people," declares the Lord GOD.” - Ezekiel 45:9

I have repeatedly stated on Twitter that one can be a patriotic American; one can be a good Republican; one cannot be both. I should add that one can be a good Christian; one can be a good Republican; one cannot be both.

Even with the best intentions of the best of conservatives the Republican party (not conservatives) has become an institution that stands solely on the three pillars of greed, ignorance and bigotry. The policy goals Republicans now pursue will result in the hungry going without food, the thirsty without drink, the naked without clothes and the sick and imprisoned with no comfort. Donald Trump is but an extreme example of the principles.

It is the duty of all who seeks to do the will of God to resist evil. It is the duty of anyone who follows the teaching of the Buddha to seek to reduce the world’s pain and suffering. It is the duty of a rational human to fight ignorance and hate. A government controlled by such a political party, a government that rests on the three pillars of greed ignorance and bigotry, a government that pursues as its’ sole goals policies that will result in harm or death to thousands of Americans and tens of thousands world-wide while seeking only to further enrich those who are already obscenely wealthy – that government is evil. The Republican party has transformed the government of the United States and the governments of over 30 states into such institutions. To add to the injury, they have allowed the Executive Branch of the Federal government to be turned into a kleptocracy, rife with graft, nepotism, bigotry and gross incompetence.  They have accepted Russian control over the office of the President.

I do not reach this conclusion lightly. The Republican party has provided us with at least two of our best Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. In my lifetime, Republicans have given us Dwight Eisenhower, who did so much to enforce Supreme Court desegregation orders and Gerald Ford, a man of simple decency who did so much to lift the country after the damage done by Nixon.

If I am to conclude that an institution that has done so much for us has embraced as foundational principles the very things a Buddhist would call the roots of suffering; if I am to say that the Republican party pursues policy goals that so blatantly violate the words of Jesus in Matthew 25, “a decent respect to the opinions of [my fellow Americans] requires that [I] should declare the causes which impel” me to resist the Republican party in its’ current form, to resist the government that was formed on those principles and seek to throw off such a government and to provide new advocates for the security, health and welfare of all.        

To paraphrase again from the Declaration of Independence “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes… But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is [our] right, it is [our] duty, to throw off such Government…” Such has been the patient suffering of America’s workers and poor and such is now the necessity that compels us as patriotic Americans to throw off the oppression imposed upon us by the current governing party of the United States.

The recent history of the Republican party is a history of repeated assaults upon all that is good and decent in the United States. As was done in the Declaration of Independence to prove the justice and rightness of our cause, let the American people and the world judge these facts

They seek to enact laws that will deny 23 million Americans (or more) access to healthcare so they may further enrich the extremely rich.

They have restricted voting rights with laws that “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

They have enacted repressive laws to deny the poor and people of color the right to vote and will return us to the era of Jim Crow.

They have encouraged violence and the threat of violence to remove opposition and quash dissent.

They have created legislative and congressional districts specifically designed to thwart the will of the majority of Americans and deny representation to people of color.

They have allowed the introduction of poisons into our atmosphere and water supply.

They have proposed budgets and laws that will cause thousands of Americans to go hungry or become homeless.

They have refused to accept scientific facts and damage both the planet and the American economy by their withdrawal from the Paris climate accords and refusing any action to mitigate global warming.

They have guaranteed gun violence and mass murder with laws that allow those with the most serious mental illnesses to purchase and use firearms.

They have destroyed good tax paying families and damaged the American economy by deportation and restrictive immigration laws.

They have cruelly withheld permission for refugees fleeing repressive regimes and war to enter this country.

They advocate the use of torture.

They have imposed upon women unequal pay through the revocation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order.

They have endangered the health of women, children and the unborn by a global gag rule, budget cuts to women’s health and maternity care providers.

They have expressly stated that they will not enforce laws that allow handicapped children access to education.

They deny children the food they need by cutting food stamps and school lunch programs.

They jeopardize military and civilian government employees abroad by the release of classified intelligence and cutting security budgets for the State Department.

They have damaged our relationships with key allies, insulted them and placed in jeopardy a system of arrangements and treaties that have kept us safe and prosperous since 1945.

They have endangered homeland security and intelligence operatives in the field by betraying secrets provided to us by foreign government intelligence services.

They have refused to support mutual defense obligations we have had with our NATO allies, a cornerstone of American foreign policy and world peace for every American administration since Truman’s and despite those NATO allies coming to our aid and sacrificing their soldiers to defend the United States after 9/11.

They have provided recruitment tools for terrorist organizations and demonized 20% of the world’s population with ignorant and bigoted statements about Islam, including members of congress who have stated we should “kill them all”.

They have elevated the forces of racial bigotry and anti-Semitism to high government office and prominent positions in American life.

They have refused to begin a credible, non-partisan investigation into a foreign government’s interference with American elections and continue to sabotage and subvert any effort to perform such an investigation.

They have allowed continuing blatant violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause by the current occupant of the Oval Office.

They have refused to give the American people access to financial and tax records needed for them to determine if the Executive Branch is compromised by financial ties or conflicts of interest.

They have awarded high government positions and security clearances solely based on nepotism and have allowed White House staff to use their positions for personal enrichment and promotion of private businesses.

They have allowed the Trump family to enrich themselves at the expense of the American people.

They have allowed members of the administration to continue to hold their security clearances and receive classified information after having lied about their contacts with Russia to the Senate and on security clearance documents.

They have attempted to halt criminal investigations of employees and former employees of the executive branch.

They have allowed employees of the administration to ignore ethics and conflict of interest laws that guarantee that American government employees serve the American people and only the American people.

They seek to imprison our fellow Americans and enrich private companies that provide prisons through the draconian enforcement of antiquated drug laws and immigration laws.

They have made normal human reproduction a “pre-existing condition” that will increase the cost of health care and health insurance for women.

They have refused to investigate the impermissible influence Russia has over the occupant of the Oval Office.  Americans must ask if our troops have been deployed for the best interest of the United States or because Moscow does not wish to see Russian soldiers coming home in body bags.

They have placed into the Oval Office a man who has bragged about his ability to commit sex crimes with impunity, mocks the disabled, routinely engages in racist rhetoric, insults our allies, embraces the most reprehensible authoritarian regimes and flippantly provokes crises that could lead to war or nuclear war.  

They have allowed the occupant of the Oval Office as well as the majority leader of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to repeatedly issue the most damnable lies to the American people on a regular if not daily basis.

These are the position espoused or at least accepted by every Republican holding elective national office. Not one has stood in opposition to such evil.

Progressives have made many attempts to reconcile with Republicans. We have appealed to their sense of justice, their stated adherence to the Gospel and the common bonds forged in the crucibles of the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War II and the Civil Rights era, all to no avail. They have been deaf to the twin calls of the rule of law and God’s call to do provide for the least among us and care for all His creation.

Republican policies oppress our people, poison our water, land and atmosphere, trample the freedoms so many have died for and risk the destruction of the planet’s eco-system all so that they may enrich the rich, comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.

Despite the best intentions of the best conservatives, in the end the Republican party must deny us the right to vote, separate us by race and religion and lie to us in order to rule us.

This is the modern Republican party.

This is an institution of oppression, immorality and evil that must be resisted. And that is what I intend to do. Simple, non-violent resistance to this evil until they themselves see the wisdom of returning to their former greatness and abandon this unjust course of action. When Republican elected officials seek to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, provide for the poor and lift up the oppressed; when they care for all God’s creation then and only then will our moral duty to resist this evil infecting our body politic be satisfied.