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What if the GOP had to admit its lies?



Big Tobacco, which along with the National Rifle Association is one of the most disreputable organizations in America, contributing to countless deaths over the years, is doing something surprising: “Starting as soon as next month, Altria [Marlboro]…R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Philip Morris…will begin running court-mandated ads…on prime-time ABC, CBS and NBC television” admitting that they “intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

We’ve known for decades that Big Tobacco was deliberately churning out lethal products, but they lied about it as long as they could, until the U.S. Department of Justice, under President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against them back in 1999. They fought it for nearly two decades, with their corrupt lawyers, but in the end, had to give up: the ads, which will run five days a week for one year, are the result. The cigarette companies also have to run full-page ads in dozens of newspapers.

It’s nice that an industry whose official policy was to addict people to killer toxins is finally being held to account, although it’s regrettable that no one went to jail for their crimes. But the cigarette companies themselves should get no credit for this mea culpa. They did not choose to come clean; they have to do it. When I read the article, the first thought that popped into my head was, What if the Republican Party had to do the same thing? Namely, admit that they repeatedly lied to the American people and deceived voters. Here’s how their confession might appear:

Dear Americans, the Republican Party intentionally lied to you about almost everything over the last forty years. We told you that lowering taxes on the richest Americans would benefit you through ‘trickle-down economics.’ That was total hokum. Actually, cutting taxes on the richest Americans did absolutely nothing for you and everything for them. We sold you this bill of goods because rich people, like the Koch, Scaife, Adelson, and DeVos families, are our base. They contribute the money that gets us re-elected, and they demand lower taxes on themselves, so we had to comply with their wishes.

We also lied to you about climate change and global warming. We—the Republican leadership—unlike you are smart enough to see the evidence presented by science; we realize the planet is heating up due to human activity, and that this climate change is imperiling us in dangerous and deadly ways. But the same billionaires that get us re-elected make their money from industries that cause global warming, and they don’t want their profits impacted. So we had to cater to them, and that, of course, meant lying to you.

And we lied to you about homosexuality. We pretended that it is a threat to the family and the institution of marriage. That’s not true. But a big part of our base is the Christian right, including Catholics, Mormons and evangelicals, and they hate gay people. So we had to cater to them, too. We feel really bad about that, because many senior Republican leaders are themselves gay. But we repeated the lie anyway.

We lied to you about gun control. It’s clear than America is overrun with guns. It’s clear, also, that we permit people, like Paddock, to have as many guns as they want, even if they’re mentally deranged. We Republicans know, in our hearts, that we should have stopped the proliferation of guns years ago. Tens and tens of thousands of Americans have died because of our inaction. But we’re indebted to the National Rifle Association and their leader, Wayne LaPierre, for supporting us and giving us huge amounts of money; and the N.R.A. strictly forbids us from doing anything at all to control the spread of weapons and ammunition. So we lied to you and told you that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” We apologize for that.

We lied to you about so much other stuff, like saying Barack Obama was a Kenyan terrorist and Hillary Clinton conspired with America’s enemies, that there’s not room enough in this newspaper to list all our fibs. But we’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to you. What we did was really awful: due to our lies, we’ve come close to wrecking America. We’ve destroyed the middle class. We’ve polluted our air, water and earth; we’ve allowed fossil fuel companies to run rampant and big corporations to rip you off; we’ve embarrassed our country before our international allies. We’ve caused endless suffering. We’re really, truly sorry.

But America, you know what? We’re only partly to blame. There’s another party that shares the blame: You. You were stupid enough to believe us. Even when our lies were patently obvious, even when there were mountains of evidence proving that we lied, even when our lies hurt you and your loved ones, you still chose to believe them! Why did you believe us? How could you have been so dumb? We’re just asking…

Anyhow, America, there you have it: We lied, and we’re sorry. Have a nice day!


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