A perfect sign juxtaposition

Berry Craig
Berry Craig
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I’ve never seen a more accurate, if accidental, juxtaposition of signage than one on U.S. 301 in southern Maryland, just north of the Potomac River bridge leading into Virginia. The designer of a “VOTE REPUBLICAN” billboard alongside the busy, four-lane highway fudged some facts and left out some others. Hence the nearby “WRONG WAY” highway sign is apt, though coincidentally so.

According to the billboard, the GOP stands for “Rule of Law” and the “2nd Amendment.” The Republicans, too, are “Pro Life” and favor a “Strong Economy, Legal Immigration” and “Equal Opportunity.”

Really? Let’s look at those bullet points.

“Rule of Law”? January 6th must’ve slipped their minds.

“2nd Amendment”? The GOP thinks everybody — even teens — should be free to pack any kind of heat anywhere, including military-style assault rifles – the weapons of choice of school shooters, Donald Trump-doting white nationalist/white supremacist militia groups, and more than a few Trump-incited January 6th insurrectionists.

“Pro Life”? Pro-birth is more like it. The GOP doesn’t give a fig what happens to a mother and her baby after the child is born. “If this country was truly ‘pro-life,’ we would have Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, gun control, universal childcare, a living wage, and an end to the death penalty,” says Professor and former labor secretary Robert Reich. “The right wing agenda isn’t about ‘life.’ It’s about control.”

“Strong economy”?  The GOP’s fundamental goal is redistributing wealth upward – in other words, making the rich richer by providing tax and regulatory relief. The party’s raison d’être is boosting profits and stock dividends while depressing wages and keeping unions at bay.

“Legal immigration”?  Welcome Norwegians! Shut that golden door to brown and black folks.

“Equal opportunity”? This from the party of neo-Jim Crow voter suppression laws and politicians who never miss a chance to yelp “state’s rights” – the old Southern code word for slavery and segregation.

An accurate billboard would proclaim what the Republicans really stand for: racism, sexism, misogyny, nativism, xenophobia, homophobia, and white nationalism. The Trumpian GOP seems bent on replacing America’s pluralistic, democratic republic, whose constitution guarantees us all freedom of and freedom from religion, with an authoritarian, reactionary, white, Christian nationalist, theocracy.

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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