Viewpoint: Trump’s Republican Party is unrecognizable

By Opanyi K. Nasiali | Special to the Courier

The Republican Party no longer believes in limited government.

When I received the privilege of American citizenship — more than 30 years ago — the presiding judge at the naturalization ceremony told the new citizens they would enjoy all rights accorded to all citizens. He added, “Just because you were not born here must not make you feel like second class citizens.”

After the ceremony, I headed straight to the political party booths outside the Los Angeles Convention Center and registered to be a member of the Republican Party. I had lived in the U.S. long enough to understand the various political philosophies. The core Republican Party philosophy at the time was “limited government.” That appealed to me. It was the main reason I registered to be a member of the party. I am sad today’s Trump Republican Party has abandoned that core principle.

The principle of limited government is supposed to espouse no government intrusion in citizens’ private lives. It also means providing government services at reasonable cost within means. The Republican Party has failed in these core values.

Here are some examples where today’s Trump Republican Party fails on limited government:

Abortion: The government should not be involved in private decisions about pregnancy. A woman has a right to choose whether to have an abortion or not, for whatever personal reasons, just like one should choose whether to be religious or not.

LGBTQ+ rights: Some people among us are born homosexual or bisexual. And some people are born either male or female when in actuality they are more natural as the opposite gender. These citizens deserve respect and must be accorded equal rights. Government should not deny them the rights other citizens enjoy.

In both the abortion and LGBTQ examples, I offer this Swahili saying: “Pilipili usiyokula yakuwasha namna gani?” Translation: “How can the hot peppers you don’t eat burn you?”

Education: Banning certain books from school libraries is abhorrent. Curtailing certain subjects, such as African American history, from being taught in schools is un-American. A democratic government must not do this. Yet the Republican Party is tolerating it.

Government expenditures: The Republican Party has always preached restrained government spending. Nevertheless, Federal government over-spending and increased deficits almost always occur under Republican controlled presidency and Congress. Is that limited government?

Over several years, the Republican Party has progressively allowed itself to be infiltrated by organizations and groups intent on imposing their beliefs on others. In 1979, televangelist Jerry Falwell and others formed a “Moral Majority” organization to advance the interests of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians. Their goal was to advance conservative social values which included opposition to abortion and homosexuality. They also demanded religious prayer in public schools, contrary to the Constitution requiring separation between church and state. Even though the organization disbanded 10 years later, its intentions and legacy have been adopted by the Republican Party.

With Trump’s blessing, radical groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other white supremacist groups associate themselves with the Republican Party. The party appears to tolerate these groups.

Trump tells us he admires dictators, signaling his inclination to be one of them. The Republican Party is acquiescing to his bullying tactics and authoritarianism.

If Trump ascends to the presidency again, the traditional Republican Party of “limited government” will be completely dead.

Opanyi Nasiali was a Claremont City Council member from 2011 to 2019, and served as mayor from 2013 to 2014 and in 2018.


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