More than any other major demographic group, U.S. Republicans staunchly oppose Covid-19 vaccinations and other standard mitigating measures (like masking), plus anyone — but especially government — questioning the depth and breadth of their Second Amendment right to own and bear arms.
Because of these facts, it’s probably fair to say that the GOP has been at least partly complicit in a large percentage of the nearly 800,000 American deaths (as of late November) in the coronavirus pandemic, and 49 million overall who have been infected, according to the Worldometer website. Former President Donald Trump’s decision alone to arbitrarily politicize and slow-walk government response to the pandemic surely resulted in tens of thousands more deaths than a robust national mitigation program would have realized.
And since Republican lawmakers at all government levels have steadfastly refused to codify common-sense firearms legislation over decades, it’s also probably fair to say the party shares significant responsibility for the continuing epidemic of lethal gun violence in America — from streets to schools to homes. The result is hardly surprising considering that America is virtually buried under more than 434 million civilian guns in a population of 334 million, and informed by a macho culture super-charged by mass media and violent video games.
With the first U.S. case of the latest Covid variant — Omicron — reported on Wednesday in San Francisco, fears are spiking that another dangerous surge of the disease is in the offing, and more deaths. But, still, Republicans, including GOP federal politicians, remain more intractable than ever toward vaccines than other Americans, regardless that vaccinations are scientifically proven to be the most potent, effective weapon to defeat the virus, by far.
Also, the latest in a heartbreaking, unending series of school mass shootings occurred Monday at an Oxford, Michigan, public high school. A 15-year-old sophomore, armed with a 9-millimeter pistol his father had reportedly purchased days before, opened fire outside a bathroom. He killed three students immediately (a fourth died later) and wounded 7 others, including a teacher, The New York Times reported. The shooter was quickly arrested without incidence.
Nonetheless, Republican lawmakers and GOP rank-and-file members continue to consider any attempt by government to regulate firearms, even rationally, with insurrectionist zeal. They see it as government overreach and a violation of their sacred constitutional right to carry weapons designed to kill. Regardless of how many die, including innocent children, in part due to their partisan obstinacy.
Certainly, as gun-rights advocates insist, people kill people, but when they pack powerful guns with high-capacity magazines they can kill far, far more.
With the coronavirus and endemic gun violence among the two leading killers of Americans today, the question is, will the GOP continue to be part of the problem or step up and offer practical solutions in tandem with Democats? These should not be partisan issues but public safety ones.
And more cops isn’t the answer for gun violence, although that extra law-enforcement would be welcome (even most liberals think “defund the police” is a silly slogan). The answer is fewer guns in fewer public places and in fewer questionable hands. That would take reasonable gun legislation. Australia, for one, did it. Why can’t we?
For Covid-19, the irrefutable best answer is more vaccinations of the heretofore unvaxed, and less unscientific, political obstructionism by the GOP and its allies. Coronavirus is now almost wholly a disease of the unvaccinated — and the bulk of those are Republicans.
First step, stop watching Fox News and its nonstop drumbeat of misinformation and disinformation on both topics. They aren’t informing you; they’re fleecing you by manipulating your grievances.
Honestly, people are dying of it.