As we watch the Republican National Convention, Republicans want Americans to know what they stand for and what they hope to accomplish if Donald Trump is elected President. To this end, a platform committee has put together a list of planks or statements that have been approved by a majority of its 112 members and adopted by all the delegations at the convention.
So, what will it take to make American great again?
The GOP platform states that pornography is "a public health crisis" and a "public menace" that "destroys lives." I wonder if they know that their party's new leader and presidential nominee has a history of Playboy magazine interviews. I wonder if they are aware of Trump's two dozen appearances on the Howard Stern Show where Trump and Stern judged various women by the shape and size of their body parts, discuss who they would and would not have sex with, and other topics too raunchy to mention in this column.
While the platform pledges "our commitment to children's safety and well-being" by controlling pornography, many wonder if making it illegal for suspected terrorists to buy weapons in the United States, recently blocked by 53 Republican Senators, would also help keep our children safe.
The GOP wants to make America great again by formally negating the authority of the U.S. Constitution where it refers to religious freedom. The platform demands that elected officials use religion, not the Constitution, as their guide when writing laws. But, of course, they don't mean any religion; they mean their religion. Indeed, the platform demands that the Christian Bible should be taught in our public schools because the Bible is "indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry." In the eyes of these delegates, their religion is the only true religion. But isn't this way of thinking at the very heart of terrorism around the world today?
The platform calls for overturning the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision, and makes references to appointing judges "who respect traditional family values." Interestingly, no such standards of behavior were recommended for their presidential nominee.
The Platform Committee received a proposal from a committee member, Rachel Hoff, suggesting that the GOP consider having a "thoughtful conversation" about same-sex marriage as it has now been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. As stated by Hoff, the only gay member of the 112-member committee, "We are your daughters, your sons, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues. All I ask today is that you include me and those like me." The committee promptly rejected Hoff's suggestion by a vote of 82-30. Instead, they voted in support of "conversion therapy" to make gay people straight.
The committee wants to make America great again by rejecting efforts by moderate committee members to condemn anti-gay discrimination. On the other hand, according to Damon Winter who reviewed the platform for the New York Times, "nearly every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed." This is consistent with Trump's selection of Indian Governor Mike Pence as his running mate who, as governor, signed legislation that legalized discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
The platform also offers support for state laws limiting the use of restrooms for transgender people to their birth gender, not their current gender. Thus, males (in all sense of the word), who were born female 30 or 40 years ago, would need to use female bathrooms. No problem there!
The platform calls for barring women from combat roles in the military. Of course, this is a slap in the face to the many women who have served in combat roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, despite the successful deployment of women in combat forces in a majority of modern nations, Republicans still believe that women are inferior to men and need to be protected.
When it comes to women's rights, especially in the areas of abortion, birth control and military service, much of the GOP platform reads like it was borrowed from Saudi Arabia or another backward country known for its repression of women. To their credit, however, the GOP platform does not forbid women from driving or leaving their homes without a male escort.
Finally, in a nod to their party leader, the platform calls for the building of a wall between the United States and Mexico. But I wonder, is the wall to keep Mexicans out or to keep Americans from fleeing if Trump wins?
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Tom Zirpoli writes from Westminster. He is program coordinator for the human services management graduate program at McDaniel College. His column appears Wednesdays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.