This is the mainstream Republican line on a woman’s right to choose. Since becoming the party of faith, firearms and fetuses, the GOP has regularly subjected Americans to grand declamations about the sacredness of life. Yet, while Republicans proclaim themselves brave defenders of humanity, their words, actions and policy decisions paint a different picture.
That hypocrisy has been especially on display this week. After last Friday’s brutal terrorist attacks in Paris, many in the Western world woke up to the savagery ISIS is capable of – a truth Syrians have known for years. While we mourn the innocent who were affected by the Paris tragedy, Syrian citizens have witnessed friends and family members executed, bombed, tortured and beheaded by these extremists, and are now seeking a better life. Surely the GOP, the party that upholds the preciousness of human existence, would do anything in their power to assist those fleeing imminent persecution and death.
House Republicans, with the help of 47 Democrats, voted 289 to 137 Thursday to enact greater hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees looking to come to America. New House speaker Paul Ryan is trying to make us believe the plan is to “pause, re-evaluate and make sure that we have the proper standards in place,” Republicans have presented a much different argument to their base. For instance, GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson said recently, in reference to Syrian refugees, “If there’s a rabid dog running around in your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably going to put your children out of the way.”
Since 9/11, the U.S. has taken in some 784,000 refugees, and three have been arrested on terrorism charges; none had planned an attack on U.S. soil, and two of them were arrested in the airport attempting to leave the States to join foreign terrorist groups. How is that miniscule risk justification for turning away thousands of innocent people running from oppression and danger?
It also seems like keeping guns out of the hands of potential terrorists and others who wish to do innocent people harm is a cause we could all stand behind. Yet the party that promotes the invaluableness of human life disagrees.
Right now, there’s a legal loophole in America that allows suspected terrorists to legally buy guns. In fact, more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist have bought weapons in the U.S. since 2004. In response, New York Rep. Steve King – a Republican, as it happens – has introduced the Federal Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, but it little chance of passing because his fellow Republicans, along with their friends in the NRA, are staunchly against any sort of gun reform, even if it means keeping weapons out of the hands of extremists.
But guns and terrorism are not the only grave threats to humans. There’s also, notably, climate change, which has reared its head recently in the forms of devastating droughts, wildfires and even earthquakes. Yet the party that supposedly believes so strongly in the incalculable significance of human life has demonstrated time and again that it is not committed to tackling climate change in any significant way – even undercutting the critical upcoming Paris climate talks.
And therein lies the problem with the gap between Republican rhetoric and Republican actions: They claim life is precious, but they do everything in their power to prevent helping people in dire need. If the GOP truly believes that “every human life has potential,” maybe they should try fighting for humans after birth too.