Let's be clear:
Sexual assault is never acceptable.
Sexual harassment is never acceptable.
Sexual misconduct, of any sort, is never acceptable.
Any assailant who has thoughtfully infringed upon the rights of another, regardless of their gender, accomplishments, reputation, or politics, is an unquestionably horrendous offender to their community, and society at large.
In a tweet last week, the Penn State College Republicans called upon us to formally "denounce the allegations against Harvey Weinstein," given his legacy as a donor and supporter of Democratic causes, such as the Hillary Clinton campaign. Their full statement can be viewed here:
Done as easy as it is said, I write the following portion on behalf of the entirety of Penn State College Democrats, the executive board, the various committees, and all participating members. We, as an organization, whole-heartedly and unequivocally denounce and condemn Harvey Weinstein along with all perpetrators and assailants of sexual assault and harassment. Sexual misconduct is not, and shall never be a partisan issue. We will not be deterred in our condemnation of Harvey Weinstein, or ever be deterred in the condemnation of any sexual assailant, because of a history of supporting Democratic causes and candidates. We, the College Democrats, understand sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct as a paramount, abhorrent violation of the rights of others, regardless of the assailant's or victim's gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or fashion expression- that victims of sexual misconduct deserve our fullest listening, support and attention, and that perpetrators deserve prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
We, the Penn State College Democrats, unequivocally expect and look forward to seeing Harvey Weinstein receive the fullest legal consequences, and look forward to seeing him delivered to justice given that such allegations are true. We easily accept the invitation to hold offenders responsible for their actions, and uphold and confirm our principles that sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct of any sort, are incredibly serious matters.
Furthermore, we invite, encourage, and expect the Penn State College Republicans to formally condemn and denounce the sexual misconducts of several notable figures of conservative media, political office, and other right-wing causes, including Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly and even the notably inappropriate statements of the President himself that help to encourage and normalize sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct. We reasonably expect the Penn State College Republicans to hold themselves to the same integrity standards they expect of others, without any apprehension or challenge.
We shall always take this responsibility seriously, that we shall never cower from confronting the gravity and seriousness of sexual assault in the interests of partisanship. The moment our commitment to civic responsibility is lost in the interest of partisan agenda, we will collectively lose our integrity as a society.
I would like to pose yet another important question, perhaps a challenge, to the Penn State College Republicans. From here forward I now write entirely out of my personal interests and concerns, and would like to make clear that going forward in this post, I am no longer representing the varied interests and opinions of the College Democrats as a whole, or any of its individual members, other than myself. I think it's important that we acknowledge the reality of the political climate in which we find ourselves today in late 2017. With a new administration and with a perhaps a new cultural tone since last year, it's important that we ask the Penn State College Republicans an important question: are you still the party of 'small government and family values,' the party of Nixon, Reagan and the Bush family? Or, are you planning to go forward as the party of Trump, the party of nationalism, scientific-skepticism, and frankly, anti-intellectualism?
We don't have to pretend that there aren't voices questioning the best message for the Democratic Party going forward. Yet while we discuss methods of execution, we are united in the cultural ideals we expect for this nation. I await your eloquent response, arguing that perhaps they aren't, as I think that its fair to say that we liberals, moderates, and frankly the rest of the world, equally observe that yes, the two value-systems currently splitting the Republican Party are very much mutually exclusive, and you are at a crossroads of how to best define your future. I hope you're aware of just how important the choice is, the choice that you are in the process of making.
Will you be the party that advocates for personal responsibility and limited government? Will you align with the John Kasichs, the Ana Navarros, the John McCains? Or, will you be the party that advocates for cultural nationalism (note: not patriotism), and resistance to the scientific and academic communities to the likes of Steve Bannon, Steve Miller and President Trump?
Writing for the College Democrats, I, along with many of my peers, will gladly concede that the Democratic Party, as an institution, is far from perfect. I will gladly concede that Hillary Clinton was far from the perfect candidate. However, will you have the courage to stand up to President Trump in his moments of inexpertise. Be it in a critical or friendly, advisory, manner, will you have the courage to suggest that perhaps the President Trump could make better use of his tweets? Will you have the guts to stand up the administration and the President when perhaps he could make better use of his time and reorganize his priorities, and advise him through his learning curve into political office? You have the choice the help steer the debate toward issues that matter: designing a more effective tax policy, discussing the most efficient means to ensure that 330 million have access to healthcare, how to administrate Social Security and Medicare while mitigating the national debt, which will affect our generation more than our parents- discuss the real substantive issues that actually put bread on the table. Or, you have the choice to fall into the trap, align with the proudly blind 'Kool-Aid block,' and continue to allow the President to steer the conversation into divisive cultural issues. YOU have the power to determine whether or not the conduct of NFL players in face of the national anthem is more substantive than appropriate hurricane relief for Puerto Rico. YOU have the power to decide whether defining and combatting 'Fake News' is more of a priority than fixing the complications in our healthcare system. YOU have the power to decide whether the affairs of transgender individuals and their ability to serve our nation are more dire than ensuring that GDP and stock-market growth is reflected in rising incomes for families and low-income Americans. President Trump is not beholden nor responsive to us. YOU have the choice to determine your own narrative as a campus organization, or waver to the interests of the Kool-Aid block and have the President and his twitter determine it for you.
College organizations, we equally participate in this beloved, 'millennial' generation, the culture that enough of our parents, especially on the conservative-end, find pleasure in criticizing. We know ourselves. We know that with technology and the speed of communication available to us, the cultural gap between ourselves and our parents might just be greater than those of generations before. We, "the millennials," have the privilege of access to the fullest extent of human knowledge at the ease of our fingertips, that we have an unprecedented exposure to people, cultures, and ideas, from all corners of the world. We are the future. Do you understand this? How will you help to guide the Republican Party and its message as it transitions from one generation to the next? Given how often our parents and the Fox News pundits love to complain about our generation's political identity, I think it's fair to say, in regards to President Trump and the development of this administration- that not very many of us are buying this shit. The generation that we are, its hard for us accept arguments that belittle the importance of the environment, and actually go as far as to refute scientific and academic consensuses concerning it. It's becoming harder for us to accept arguments that the humanity ought to best develop on its own, within the frame of their national boundaries. Globalization- we all know its happening whether you like it or not. If you're really against it, get off the internet, prove it. Instead, maybe we can talk about how we best deal with globalization? It's becoming harder for us to accept that there is a major political party who authentically advocates for 'small government,' when it often becomes so invested in regulating the personal affairs of other people's lives, using its power to enforce the morals of one group of people upon others, inhibiting people's liberties to lead their own lives by their own definitions, even if such definition bears absolutely no consequence on anyone else, whatsoever. The mob mentality is strong right now, it's a natural part of the sociology of democratic societies. The Kool-Aid vote may continue to have a strong voice for the time being, but our generation is progressively coming up to bat, and those before us will soon fade out. I encourage you to enjoy your electoral successes now as they occur, because while I expect you to laugh and defensively scorn at what I am about to say, I think it's pretty obvious: if the everyday nonsense coming out of this administration and those who represent it continues, the Republican Party, and the conservative principles of 'small government and family values' will be damaged for a generation to come. I almost hope that some of you are laughing right now, so strong in your 'alternative reality,' refusing to acknowledge any of it. If you actually value 'small government, family values, and personal responsibility,' as your party has liked to champion for decades, now is the time when you need to reassure yourselves of that, and continue to defend it, as this new faction within your party clearly seeks to change that. YOU have the power to lead the future of the Republican Party toward the libertarian principles you claim to stand for, and ensure that the Republican Party is truly a party of 'small government', in both our wallets and in our bedrooms. YOU have the power to choose or not if the Republican Party will return to the world of science and academia, or continue to refute it and play the harp of the certifiably insane.
You are presented a choice that determines the Republican Party's cultural vision for the future, for the future of this country. It's 2017. President Trump is watching you. Breitbart and Fox News are watching you. The rest of the world is watching you from a far, as you make this choice. Don't be afraid, because more important than perhaps anyone else, history is watching, and history will remember the choices you made at this moment in time. History will remember the choices we all made, across the political spectrum, to confront the serious issues that confront our time, and how we respond to the different faces of power that seduce their way into authority. History is watching, and in the end, history always speaks.
Frankly, I'm not sure if I expect CRs to respond to any of this. Frankly, I'm not sure what to expect. If they have learned enough from the new President representing them, admitting to your faults and being open to change is be avoided at all costs. Deflect, blame, and the use of twitter as a platform for playground fights have become the new norm. Thanks to Trump, personal responsibility, as a tenet of the Republican mantra, has been completely thrown out the damn window, and may God help you if you actually try to otherwise.
Predictable Trumplicans won't respond to any of this. A predictable Trumplican would instead draft back a fiery response about 'Predictable Democrats' and how we need to redefine our party and cultural vision because we're too radical and thus keep losing elections, and Antifa, and BLM...yada yada yada. A Somehow it will all be Obama or Hillary's fault. Somehow Trump will bear no responsibility in being absolutely damn inept to push forward any of his legislative agenda. It's Mitch McConell's fault. It's the 'Fake News Media's' fault. It's establishment Republicans' fault. It's Democrats' fault for being so obstructive, as if they forget how much hell and obstruction Republicans gave Obama since 2010, yet 44 still got things done. Trump has the ENTIRETY OF CONGRESS to enact his agenda, yet HE STILL CAN'T GET ANYTHING DONE. But yet, no, somehow it's not just because he's an inept doofus who literally has no idea what he's doing, in the eyes of a committed Trumplican. He is adept at one thing, having a twitter account more insecure and immature than a teenager, and being able to distract his army of zombie-like supporters, so brainlessly happy after drinking the Kool-Aid that they'll happily vote against their own interests. Democrats aren't perfect. I agree. Though when it comes to intellectual dishonesty, for Trumplicans it is not only an art form, it is a sport, with Sean Hannity and Milo as quarterbacks, and that is why I can no longer identify as Republican as I was first raised to in my childhood.
But, I know, I know, I know....I'm just a fiery liberal spewing my liberal hatred for the President, and that makes me un-American. All we liberals do is hate, hate, hate, we claim to be tolerant but we're tolerant up until the point where you disagree with our viewpoints, etc. I just love the different forms of right-wing self-victimization, despite their loathing of victimization culture. You know what? If you're a Republican that resorts to facts, science, and reason to form a substantive debate, I will gladly respect and listen to your opinion, even if I disagree with it. If your political and cultural philosophy is formed on the intolerance of other people whose lives bare no consequence to your own, no, and I will say this proudly: I will not tolerate you. You are the cancer of our society.
Deflect, blame, re-assign fault: that is the Trumplican motto. Let's not be blind.
So, what will be the definition of the 21st century Republican? Based on many of the Republicans our age, I do have hope. I do have hope that they will take the reigns and steer their party's narrative back to the principles championed by its greatest leaders. I have hope, that while maybe it is too soon, this all being just too fresh, that they will come to stand for what is honest and true. Maybe one day in the future, some of them will be able to confidently and courageously look at history in the eyes, and let her know that they were the ones who finally did something.
Penn State College