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Election security divides Congress after Mueller's testimony (copy)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, arrives to speak with reporters July 23 following the weekly policy lunches on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Every day I think they can’t go lower, and every day they do. Any hopes I harbored for morality or courage in Republican lawmakers have disappeared. It’s now clear that most of them lack those virtues.

Their cowardly refusal to stand up against the president’s more than 10,000 lies; his refusal to condemn white supremacists; his ignorance of foreign affairs and diplomacy; the unethical, inexperienced appointees he chose to lead our most important departments; his attacks on our environment; his bullying and childish behaviors; his lack of integrity; his refusal to read briefs on national security and other important matters demonstrate not only their cowardice, but that they care only about pleasing his base and getting reelected, no matter how many people are hurt or endangered.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preventing hundreds of important bills from coming up for a vote, including one that protects our elections from foreign influence and protects our votes. He’s only one example of the cowardice and corruption that now typifies most of today’s Republican legislators.

They had a majority in Congress for more than nine years, including most of the Barack Obama administration, and did nothing to lower the cost of health care or prescription drugs, to fix the immigration system, to ensure fair elections and taxation, to repair our broken roads and bridges, or to help struggling school districts. And they thwarted any Democratic attempts to do all of those things.

The only ones who have benefited from Republican budgets and laws are the polluters, rich people and large corporations. Any person who doubts that should ask themselves why they pay more in federal taxes than companies like Amazon — a company that made more than $10 billion in profits last year and paid no federal income taxes.

Republicans complained about debt under President Obama, but never mentioned they were the ones who had the majority and who wrote and approved the budget bills. Also, Republicans under George W. Bush started two unfunded wars that have so far cost more than $4 trillion, gave no-bid contracts to their defense contractor pals, borrowed money from China, and bailed out the big banks before Obama was elected. Yet they blamed the debt on him.

And speaking of debt, the last budget bill, under Donald Trump and a Republican-dominated Congress, has resulted in the national debt reaching a historic high of $22 trillion. And last March, the Treasury Department stated the deficit — what we owe compared to what we bring in — hit $310 billion, up from $176 billion from 2018. So much for “fiscal conservatives.”

Here in Wisconsin under Gov. Scott Walker, Republican lawmakers followed the same orders: Take power and money from unions that fight for fair wages and benefits for ordinary workers; lower or eliminate taxes on the rich; ease regulations on polluters and shady businesses like payday loan companies; rig voting district lines so they’re guaranteed to win more seats in the Legislature even though, overall, they get fewer votes.

In their infamous “lame-duck” session, right after Gov. Tony Evers was elected, they suddenly decided the governor’s office and attorney general had too much power and passed laws that severely limited them. Funny they didn’t feel that way when Walker was in office, isn’t it? That, my friends, is called corruption.

As for Trump, a lot of us thought when he made fun of a disabled reporter or bragged about assaulting women, his campaign would surely be over. It wasn’t, and since then, he’s gotten worse. But his supporters don’t care. So long as they’re making money from the stock market and believe the lies they hear from the president, his enablers in Congress, Fox News and other right-wing sites, they cheer him on. It’s the “I’ve got mine and I don’t care about anyone else” mentality.

A couple of Republican lawmakers have had the guts to speak out, but the majority are silent. Some, like Paul Ryan, aren’t running for reelection but are too cowardly to say anything while they’re in office. A few sane Republican columnists, like Kathleen Parker, George Will and Jennifer Rubin, have warned of the dangers of the Trump presidency, but Trump’s base has ignored them.

Hundreds of mental health experts also have warned the nation the president is a clear and present danger to our democracy. And on Friday, the Baraboo News Republic published “Nation must stand up for what is decent,” an editorial from faith leaders at The Washington National Cathedral.

They stated that Trump’s words and actions are dangerous and asked, “What will it take for us all to say, with one voice, that we have had enough? The question is less about the president’s sense of decency, but of ours.”

Amen.

Pat Nash has lived in the Baraboo area, off and on, for more than 35 years. Contact her at patnash5149@gmail.com.

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