Democrats and Republicans are equivalents

Don’t let Democrats tell you otherwise

%28Courtesy+of+Donald+J.+Trump%27s+official+facebook+page%29

(Courtesy of Donald J. Trump's official facebook page)

By Greg Fournier

Earlier this month, Dan Riley wrote an article titled “Democrats and Republicans are not equivalents.” In this article, Riley talked about the differences between Republicans and Democrats and claimed that the Democratic base is morally superior to the Republican base because they have fewer skeletons in their closet. This argument is fundamentally untrue, and the article is an egregious example of how Democrats vilify Republicans at nearly every instance.

In order to prove his point, Riley first mentions the celebration of John McCain’s actions in the 2008 election, in which a woman at a McCain campaign rally called then-presidential candidate Barack Obama an “Arab,” and then said that electing such a man would be detrimental to the country. McCain, now deceased, took the microphone from her and told her that Obama was a “decent family man” with whom he “just happen[s] to have disagreements with.” Riley says that today, “not nearly enough Republican politicians […] would have the ‘bravery’” to do what McCain did. This draws a false distinction between the two parties: Republicans, according to Riley, are uncivil, whereas Democrats are totally civil in the political sphere. However, events in the 2012 presidential election belie this. Joe Biden, for instance, told a group of Democratic voters that Mitt Romney was going to “put y’all back in chains” because he wanted to “unchain” Wall Street banks. Instead of apologizing for essentially calling Romney the moral equivalent of a slaveholder, Biden and Obama doubled down on the sentiment. Maybe this incident is not equivalent in Riley’s mind, but it certainly shows that Democrats are not as civil as he may think.

Perhaps the most contentious statement that Riley makes in this column is that “the liberal and conservative bases […] have different values, and the liberals’ values – don’t sexually harass women, for example – are better.” This would be laughable if he wasn’t so serious. Has Riley forgotten about the sexual assault allegations against Bill Clinton in the 1990s?  I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one, considering neither of us were cognizant of what was happening at that point in our lives, but I’m sure that he remembers the 2016 election during which Hillary Clinton said she still didn’t think her husband should have resigned in the wake of these allegations. Riley argues that Democrats aren’t okay with sexual assault, and he gives the example of Al Franken resigning from office after sexual assault allegations were brought against him as evidence. But Riley seems to overlook that a sitting Democratic president was impeached because he lied about his sexual history and had sexual encounters where power was so imbalanced that relationships could not have been consensual, not to mention the time when he was accused of rape.

The Kennedys are another scourge on the Democratic party in this regard. For example, Ted Kennedy drove a woman off a bridge in his car, left her to suffocate at the bottom of a river and went hours without reporting the incident – and he was allowed to stay in the Senate. You may, as I do, have a problem with President Trump saying that he could get away with shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, but you should also have a problem with a prominent Democratic politician literally killing a woman and being voted back into the Senate.

Not only does Riley claim that Republicans are fine with sexual assault and that Democrats are not, but he also suggests that calling Trump voters “a ‘basket of deplorables’” is “far from unfounded.” As someone who does not like Trump, you may be fooled into thinking that I wouldn’t be offended by this comment. However, I know a number of people who voted for the President (most notably my parents) and I can assure you that they are not “deplorable” people. They are kind, caring and compassionate people who just don’t see eye to eye with people like Riley.

The irony in this article is quite striking. Riley spent some time saying that Democrats are decent people who will act with some level of civility in politics, while Republicans generally won’t. Now, Riley is saying that Republicans are racist, sexist, bigoted and xenophobic simply because they voted for the opposite candidate that he did. Yes, it is quite obvious that Riley and the Democrats are the civil ones here.

Greg Fournier is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]