Abigail Ruhman is a freshman journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about student life, politics and social issues for The Maneater.
No matter where you fall on party lines, it is absolutely vital to the health of democracy to stop the constant cycle of hypocrisy. When different groups are held to different standards, it creates a world where politics becomes a game of calling people out rather than serving the interests of the people.
The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are both guilty of creating a double standard that lets them get away with more power. By idolizing one party over the other, it creates a world where people are willing to justify any behavior as long as it’s their party.
For the Republican Party, there is evidence of Republicans saying one thing, but doing something else with their policies. One of the more prominent examples of this is the party claiming that they are protecting Americans with preexisting health conditions, while taking away protections when they vote. Approximately 75 percent of Americans believe that keeping protections for preexisting conditions is very important when it comes to insurance companies denying coverage, according to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.
At a rally in Philadelphia, President Donald Trump told the crowd, “We will always protect Americans with preexisting conditions,” according to Vox. Other candidates, including Missouri’s own Sen.Josh Hawley, have showcased a similar stance on the issue when talking to the public, but in terms of policy, they tend to go against the grain.
Despite Trump stating that he would protect those individuals, his administration asked a federal court in Texas to remove those protections. In addition, the party itself spent most of 2017 trying to remove that part of Obamacare, according to Vox.
Another example of this comes from one of the Democratic Party’s concerns with Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court justice confirmation hearings, which was the accusations brought up against him of sexual assault. The Democratic Party called for an FBI investigation into the allegations brought up against Kavanaugh, and they used it as part of the reason against putting him on the bench, according to CBS News.
While this might have been an appropriate response, the Democratic Party didn’t have a similar response when Lt. Gov. of Virginia Justin Fairfax was accused of sexual assault. The Democratic Party called for Brett Kavanaugh to step down almost immediately, but took their time in saying that Fairfax needed to step down, according to CNN.
With Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam being asked to step down due to accusations of blackface, the Democrats needed Fairfax to take over that position. If Fairfax also steps aside, Mark Herring, the attorney general of Virginia, would take over. The only issue with that is he was also accused of blackface, according to CNBC.
Democrats have already condemned the governor and the attorney general, so they seem to be hesitant to do the same to Fairfax. The main reason is because the likely replacement is a Republican.
The issue with both of these occurrences is that the party is being hypocritical. If Democrats have zero-tolerance of all sexual assault accusations, then they have to stand by that even if it means they lose power. For Republicans, doing one thing while saying something else isn’t fair to the constituents they represent. Whichever party someone falls into doesn’t matter if they abandon their beliefs and values for the sake of that party.
While these examples are in no way the only examples of hypocrisy in government, they showcase how saying one thing and doing the other is not a partisan issue. This needs to stop. It is hurting constituents and building distrust in government. It doesn’t matter what party you affiliate with, it’s time for society to hold politicians to their words.