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Pruitt and Greitens: Further Evidence Republicans Are Morally Bankrupt

Pruitt and Greitens

If there's anything good to come from these horrible men, it's that they make clear who the bad guys are.

Unless you shut your eyes, stuck your fingers in your ears, and have been chanting "la la la" since November 2016, you likely know about Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has been caught using his position to reward his cronies, strike sweetheart deals for his corporate friends, generally grifting every last dime he can, including government flights to Disney World, and absolutely gutting the regulatory power of the agency he leads.

A more local, but just as infuriating tale, is that of Missouri governor Eric Greitens; a Republican just like Pruitt. It was revealed in January that Greitens had a now-ended affair with his hair stylist a few years ago. What made it worse for the self-declared family man is that he allegedly tied her up, took nude photos, and threatened to blackmail her if she revealed the affair. He's been indicted and arrested for blackmail and now is being accused of behavior bordering on sexual assault. In just the last few days, he's been accused of scamming from his charity and campaign funds and has been indicted on felony computer-tampering. Like Pruitt, he refuses to resign.

My editor wanted me to talk about how outrageous Pruitt and Greitens for operating like they were above rules and laws (and common decency). I struggled with this. How many "The GOP and conservatives are shocking in their corruption" takes do you see in an average week? I'm sure that if you fed them all into a computer program, you could create a random outrage article generator. Just click the button, wait a second, and an entirely believable article about moral, ethical, and legal failures by conservatives would appear. As many have noted, this stuff gets fatiguing, and honestly I'm just tired of writing, "The GOP are hypocrites and suck," articles. We know already. Another sex scandal? So what. Another corruption scandal? Meh. If an article dropped today that they caught a high profile Republican practicing cannibalism because he liked the taste, I think the hottest take I could muster would be, "Sounds about right."

Then it hit me. For those too young or too coked up to remember the 1980s, there was a group called, "The Moral Majority." It was a merry band of grifters and hypocrites who proclaimed themselves the paragons of virtue and goodness in America. Of course, they were all the evangelical Christian televangelists and Republicans that ended up crying on TV after getting caught cheating on their wives, going to jail for fraud, participating in secret gay relationships, soliciting prostitutes, using drugs, and so much more. Eventually the phrase "Moral Majority" became a joke, but the self-appointed belief that conservatives were the moral side of the political spectrum stuck. If you step back and look at it all though, that entire concept is a joke.

Look at the Parkland shooting. The "moral" right-wing call these children crybabies and whiners, they try to bully these victims into silence with death threats and videos of themselves sticking photos of them to targets and shooting them with AR-15s. They ask us to think of the children, but here they are, threatening to literally kill them for thinking of others.

The so-called moral majority decry the lack of family values, but throw a hotel key and you'll hit a Republican having an affair. They claim to want to protect women, but refuse to believe them when they say they are raped, assaulted, abused and harassed; especially when the accused rapist and abusers happen to favor tax cuts and defunding Planned Parenthood. They'll say they love diversity, but will cheer when ICE agents kick down a door and arrest a soccer mom in front of her kids because she was brought here by her parents when she was six. They'll deport her to a country she doesn't know, can't speak the language of, and leave her children in a foster care system they refuse to fund and regulate properly, leaving them potential victims to sexual assault.

The moralists of our country fear the destruction of family and traditional values, but will vote for child molesters and adulterers because those men will keep transgender people from having a place to pee and to serve a military they won't ever join. They'll fight to keep gay people from having wedding cakes while having unprotected sex with porn stars weeks after their third wife gives birth to their child.

They'll speak of the sanctity of life, but come up with desperate unproven methods to execute prisoners that can lead to torturous and cruel deaths. They'll panic at the threat to the life of a fetus, but when it emerges from the womb it's on its own until they've thrown he or she in prison; a facility they invest money into since they decided incarceration can be rewarded with quarterly profit earnings (a certain Keebler elf comes to mind). They're fine with public schools with ratty textbooks, no heat or air conditioning, but give tax credits for religious home schooling. They'll threaten to break up the country and throw it into civil war if we try to regulate firearms designed for war. Listen to their laments on the collapse of free speech when they want to speak on how others are inferior, but refuse to let a black man respectfully protest police shootings by kneeling at a game.

They'll tell the poor to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, cut funding for home heating assistance, reduce food benefits for children in poverty, all while living in gated communities and telling the poor that refrigerators and televisions are luxuries. They happily pay corporate CEOs a thousand times their average workers, people who can barely afford food and shelter, much less benefits and retirement. Instead they hand those things over to a government they don't want to pay taxes to.

They'll ask for tithes to their churchs that tell them if they pray, God will give them wealth, but refuse to open those arena sized churches to refugees from hurricanes. A disaster that devastates an entire island is a chance to profit, not save lives. They'll call world leaders thugs for using chemical weapons on their own people in civil war, but won't give the people fleeing the violence refuge.

They say the system should be respected, but kill prisoners by neglect. They'll say our mass shootings are caused by mental illness, but close hospitals and cut medical care, then defend shooting someone having an episode on the street. They say this is a land of equals, but shoot a kid with a bag of skittles because he looks like he doesn't belong in the neighborhood. They would rather destroy science and education than accept that they've used science and education to slowly choke our planet to death. Their fellow party member and president might have colluded with a foreign country to undermine American democracy, and they cover it up, excuse it, and call it "troubling" when he subverts the rule of law by firing the men investigating him. Yet, we, those triggered snowflakes, don't love our country enough.

The left, be they Democratic Socialists or simple Democrats, are the now the undisputable ideology of compassion and morality. Sure the left will squabble over things, but they squabble over how much aid we should provide and who it should go to first. Right now, the biggest fight is philosophical; do we fight for economic justice or do we fight for social justice first? Which disadvantaged groups get priority? Yes, it's passionate, divisive, and often biased and problematic, but we're fighting over the best way to help people.

I tried to think of who the absolute worst people on the left could possibly be. The only ones who I could think of who are bad are a miniscule but vocal group jokingly called "tankies"; hard-core Marxist-Leninists who think North Korea and Stalinist Russia are good things. The most violent ideological group on the left is antifa, and they want to punch Nazis, which I mean...they're punching Nazis, so it's morally grey at worst.

I honestly can't see how anyone can describe American conservatives as the party of morality. We on the left may fight, but we fight over who cares more, what we care about, and how we show compassion and love for our fellow human. There is no more reason to be outraged at the right anymore, no more reason to be shocked. When they lie, cheat, steal, abuse, and kill, we can see it for what is now; a lack of moral values. Something more to be pitied than hated.

AMANDA KERRI is an Oklahoma City-based comedian and regular contributor to The Advocate. Follow her on Twitter @amanda_kerri.

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