There's usually a big difference between most Ds and most Rs

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

I wish I had a crisp new Hamilton for every time I've heard somebody say, "I don't vote because there's no difference between Republicans and Democrats."

It can be difficult convincing such folks otherwise. But there are big differences between most Democrats and most Republicans on just about any issue.

Right now, no issue is bigger than the COVID-19 pandemic, which is surging anew. The deadliest pandemic in a century has already killed nearly 700,000 Americans, including close to 9,000 Kentuckians.

So let's compare two well-known Kentucky politicians, one Republican, the other a Democrat. Both fairly represent their party's response to COVID-19.

Sen. Rand Paul, who is seeking a third term next year, has helped make the GOP party of COVID denialism, though "it's hard to pinpoint when the Republican Party’s long-cherished hostility to scientific facts went, shall we say, viral," Michael Hiltzik wrote in the Los Angeles Times last December, when the deadliest pandemic in a decade began to unfold.

From the pandemic's start, Paul rushed to the forefront of science-denying Republican politicians who are still spreading lies and distorting the truth about COVID and still downplaying masking and getting vaccinated.

Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat going for a ninth term, has consistently sided with science and urged his constituents to mask up and get vaccinated, the two scientifically proven, surest ways to curb the virus and avoid winding up in the hospital or the cemetery. 

In August, Paul, who had reveled in publicly belittling Dr. Anthony Fauci and other epidemic disease experts, launched maybe his most unhinged diatribe against emergency government orders to fight COVID. (Paul preaches libertarianism, but practices the most perverse form--one that elevates selfishness entitlement over selflessness and social responsibility.)  

He made a video calling on people to "resist" COVID fighting public safety measures.  "Will we allow these people to use fear and propaganda to do further harm to our society, economy, and children?" he asked on camera. "Or will we stand together and say, absolutely not? Not this time. I choose freedom."

Paul's the one trotting out fear and propaganda. "Freedom?" How about the freedom for us to protect ourselves and our fellow Americans? The longer people spurn masks and vaccinations, the longer the pandemic will continue. 

"...Paul’s anti-science, anti-life rant is going to do nothing less than get people killed," Joseph Gerth wrote in the Louisville Courier-Journal right after the senator's outburst. 

"....Every time he tells people to resist recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he risks more and more people hunkering down in their refusal to get the vaccine that has already proven to save lives.

"...."And each time he tells people they should fight back against mask mandates that are designed to keep schools from being raging cauldrons of the delta variant, he places the children at the schools and everyone they meet at risk.

"....When he says your freedom to not take simple precautions to protect lives is more important than your brother’s freedom to breathe, well, my God, how did we come to this?"

Indeed. 

Anyway, the other day, Yarmuth posted this on Twitter: 

Rep. John Yarmuth
@RepJohnYarmuth
Sep 28
Received my vaccine booster shot earlier today after completing my first two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech earlier this year. These vaccines are safe, available, and proven to help save lives. When you’re eligible, get your booster shot. Visit vaccines.gov for more info.
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On his website, Yarmuth has links directing people to the most current state and federal information on COVID-19. Of course it's everybody's right to vote for whomever they wish for whatever reason--or to go fishing on election day. But it's just flat wrong to say there's no real difference between most Republicans and most Democrats on big issues. Paul is typical of Republicans on COVID. Yarmuth represents the Democratic consensus on the pandemic. But don't take my word for it. Do your own honest research. Use your head, not your gut. Make your goal getting at the truth.