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Opinion | What happened to Republicans?

From praising communist dictators to abandoning the basic principles of America, the modern GOP has lost its way.

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The other night, I flipped on my TV and caught the start of a “Daily Show” episode featuring clips of rightwing fishstick darling Tucker Carlson denouncing America because he bought some cheap groceries in communist Russia. 

A few days before that, Alabama’s senior senator, global policy and three-branch government expert Tommy Tuberville, launched into a Kremlin-worthy defense of Russia and its dictator Vladimir Putin. Among other things, Tuberville said Putin was “at the top of his game,” while simultaneously criticizing America and our NATO allies for putting “missiles  … from the United States” on the Russian border. He later tweeted that Putin wanted the war to end – another Russian talking point with zero validity – and again criticized the “warmongers in D.C.” 

Tuberville and Carlson are not alone in this. 

Over the last several years, there has been a shocking and embarrassing tendency among many on the right to cozy up to Putin, offering praise of the “tough” dictator and comparing Russia more favorably to the U.S. 

And it’s not just Russia and Putin. Rightwingers have cozied up dictators all over the globe of late, and the more authoritarian the better, it seems. In many cases, they do so while simultaneously criticizing Americans, specifically Democrats or anyone else they happen to disagree with that week. 

They seem to long for the authoritarianism that would allow them to stamp out any behavior or any people who they find objectionable, or just a little different. 

They are now openly embracing Christian nationalism. Hell, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court last week literally quoted the Bible and solely used his personal religious beliefs to justify an opinion concerning frozen embryos. 

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Um … what the hell is wrong with y’all?

I’m sorry, but as a child of the 80s, watching Americans – especially those in the party of Reagan – express admiration and respect for the Russian dictator – a brutal butcher of his own people – and then in the next breath criticize Americans in comparison to that dictator is beyond shocking. 

It’s disgusting, actually. 

And it explains a whole lot about the current divide in this country. Because while we’ve always had our differences when it comes to specific policy and social issues, the one thing that always brought the Right and Left together was their genuine love of this country and the recognition that our freedoms and rights made this the greatest place on earth. 

That includes our freedom of and from religion. The separation of church and state. 

My God, Thomas Jefferson might actually murder the judge, much less a state supreme court justice, who dared use religion to justify a legal decision. The rest of the Founders – the guys who started with a blank page when they decided to make religious freedom our No. 1 right – would wonder what, exactly, y’all have been reading. 

Because it sure isn’t those pocket Constitutions those rightwing groups were handing out just a few years ago. 

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It’s no wonder there’s a national movement to hide history and push kids out of public schools and into indoctrination academies, where I assume they’ll start learning that sometimes dictators are apparently OK. You know, if you can buy cheap bread and kill gays with impunity. 

So much for those personal freedoms that the right used to harp on. Say what you will about Democrats, but they’ve never tried to legislate your bedroom or dictate what personal medical procedures you can and can’t undergo. 

In the meantime, the alleged party of Lincoln is fighting to racially gerrymander voting maps. The party of Reagan is in awe of the graffiti-free Russian subway and refusing to even provide weapons to the country Russia invaded. The party of personal responsibility wants to ban in vitro fertilization, contraception, women’s healthcare, gay sex, all transgender people and Black history that makes white people uncomfortable by mentioning what white people a long time ago actually did. Oh, and they also want to ban books because they can’t appropriately monitor their own children at public libraries. 

What happened to y’all? 

You used to be so bold and independent. Most of you only wanted freedoms and to be left alone. Honestly, if your social policies hadn’t been so callous and uncaring, it was a platform I could get behind. 

But now … now, you’re scared to death of cartoon penises in library books and that a transgender person might make eye contact with you in the bathroom. You’ve fallen for so many scare tactics that you’re literally running to the safety of a communist dictator. 

It’s embarrassing. And it’s threatening the country. 

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Get it together.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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