Former president Donald Trump is rumored to be starting another political party called the Patriot Party, which might also incorporate the MAGA slogan. Why not? Those who would affiliate with it would tell you they are the real patriots, the ones who stand up for and protect our Constitution and freedoms, and exclude everyone else who doesn’t agree with them. We should be comforted in knowing the current Republican RINOs (Republicans in name only) and radical socialist/communist Democrats will be marginalized.
Among many things anathema to conservatives is any redistribution of their wealth---except when it comes to things like private banks getting loan guarantees from the taxpayers, government subsidized flood insurance to allow the wealthy to live along river banks, lakes and beaches. Don’t want to leave out agricultural payments, courtesy of the taxpayer, going to big corporate farms, or tax breaks for the special interests who pay to play with campaign contributions. These examples aren’t really redistribution, but rather deserved payback for those who provide the bulk of all tax revenue. It’s those who get food stamps, who depend on subsidized transportation, and other forms of government assistance who are the free-loaders. The real patriots are the honest, hardworking Americans, and they will tell you as much.
Trump worked hard to get the Evangelical vote. His efforts included his Religious Freedom executive order issued in May 2017. This order was an attempt to undermine the provision in the Affordable Care Act ( Obamacare) requiring employer insurance plans to cover contraception with no co-pay. The EO would have allowed for a religious exemption, meaning that if participating in making birth control available violated the employer’s religious beliefs, the employer could opt out.
The danger in this was expressed by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in a religious freedom case before the Supreme Court in the 1990s, who said that it "would make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself."
The new Patriot Party would presumably support Trump’s dangerous understanding of religious freedom. The Trump administration has sided with other organizations that discriminate based on religious beliefs yet receive taxpayer money. In South Carolina, Aimee Maddona, a Catholic mother of three, grew up in a home that provided shelter for foster care children. She wanted to do the same and applied to Miracle Hill Ministries, a government funded foster care agency. Her application was rejected because Miracle Hill would only work with evangelical Protestants. The Department of Health and Human Services upheld Miracle Hill’s right to discriminate based on a religious freedom argument. The case is now in federal court.
Another case, one the Trump justice department sided with in arguments before the Supreme Court last year, concerns a Catholic adoption agency in Philadelphia that refuses to place children in the homes of same sex marriage couples despite the agency receiving taxpayer money, and contrary to the city’s non-discrimination regulation. The case will be decided by June 2021.
Religious freedom to certain religious groups means you can discriminate against certain segments of society that don’t align with your religious beliefs, and you can do it with the support of those who oppose your views through compulsory taxation. Somehow that’s okay, and it squares the circle by their logic.
In May 2019, during the National Day of Prayer ceremony, Trump set forth the Denial of Care rule, which would allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical providers to deny treatment and services to someone because of the provider’s religious beliefs---even in life and death situations. It seems to me that if you go into one of the medical professions, you agree to the licensing requirements and the professional oaths that you take, that saving all life is part and parcel of that agreement.
Under this rule, though, medical providers could deny services to gay and transgender people, and presumably children of same sex parents, divorced people, and single parents out of wedlock among the possibilities. While the religious right proclaims “all” life to be sacred from conception till natural death, they can justify the denial of life-saving treatment to those who don’t comport to their religious beliefs and values. The word “all” has hidden exceptions.
The new Patriot Party could also restore “freedom” of elections by ensuring, ex-parte and to the exclusion of whatever a court(s) might say, that a member of the Patriot Party won an election even if s/he didn’t. It wouldn’t matter that the votes of those who were in the “losing” majority were tossed to allow an unfounded wrong to be corrected despite not having to make their case in any state or federal court. I like the odds on this alone: heads I win, tails you lose.
The party of freedom has redefined the meaning of “freedom.” If the Framers had that understanding of it, they didn’t manifest it in the Constitution. Trump lost his Twitter platform, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) lost his book contract with Simon & Schuster, and the free market conservatives are crying foul. I wonder if the new party of freedom would support me to get my blogs published on some of their media outlets, to include Fox and all the conservative talk radio stations? Surely I can count on them as a fellow patriot.