We Need a New Word

Republicans have now stretched the concept that the word, “hypocrisy” denotes to such extremes that this venerable word can no longer encompass the vastness of their perfidy, malfeasance, and irresponsibility.

We need a new word.

I propose “gopocrisy,” which has the virtues of linking the Party explicitly to the concept.

The word, “hypocrisy,” comes from the Greek term for an actor, or an interpreter from underneath. This makes perfect sense, since the modern word points to pretense — a hypocrite is one who wears a public mask of virtue — ancient Greek actors used masks to indicate the character they played — to hide bad behavior. Our English word entered our language around 1200 and came to have its modern meaning after 1700.

Modern Republicans have been stretching the meaning of “hypocrisy” regularly at least since Richard Nixon announced forcefully, “Well, I am not a crook,” only to turn out to be arguably the biggest crook to hold the office of President of the United States — so far, anyway.

Speaking of which, in the last few days, we have learned that the number two man on a ticket that literally conned the Republic into letting it win by screaming and yelling about the nontroversy of the other candidate’s use of a private email server for public business while she served as Secretary of State – after the Director of the FBI first stated he could find no grounds for a criminal charge, then conveniently reopened the investigation days before the election – was the whole time himself using a private email server for public business. Okay, Pence’s use of a private server as governor of a state is less alarming than the use of one by the Secretary of State, who’s emails virtually by definition must contain classified and other sensitive information that she and everyone else who works for the federal government would want to keep confidential. The governor of a state, especially a landlocked state, is far less likely to have confidential or otherwise sensitive information in his emails.

Making Pence’s violation far worse, however, is the fact that he used an AOL account – yes, AOL, as in the account your grandmother has had for twenty years and never changed. After a phishing expedition involving emails to Pence’s AOL contact list claiming that he and his wife were stranded abroad and needed money, he allegedly switched to an account with greater security, and gave the AOL account up entirely upon his inauguration as Vice President (!), but a review of messages to ensure that they all got archived in a manner that comports with state law found some that reviewers could not release for security reasons – Pence had stored them on his AOL account.

But the take home for our study in gopocrisy is that Pence was doing the very thing he excoriated Hillary Clinton for as he was castigating her. That’s gopocrisy in action.

He must have learned it from his boss, who spent the past several years repeatedly criticizing the previous President for allegedly excessive travel and golfing, but is now on his fourth weekend at his golf club in Florida of the seven since he tool office. Trump’s travel habits, security for his adult children, and his wife’s decision to insist on living in New York City ensure that providing security for him will cost more in a month than Obama cost in a year.

The Donald is a master of gopcrisy.

But the gold medalist in galloping, naked, brazen gopocrisy at the moment, at least, is Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan. On November 5, 2015, at his first press conference as Speaker, his own official web site gushes, “At his first Capitol press briefing as speaker today, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) shared his vision for a House of Representatives that is more open, inclusive, and transparent.” Note that last word, “transparent.” Obviously, nothing government does can be literally transparent in the sense of admitting a human to see through. In government, “transparent” refers to ensuring that all actions are as publicly visible and accessible as possible.

Now we find out that, with Republicans in the House at loggerheads with each other over what should replace the Affordable Care Act, which they have promised to “repeal and replace” literally since Obama signed it, the Republican leadership in the House has a draft bill that they apparently intend to try to pass, but they have hidden that document in the basement of the Capitol and will only allow Republican House members – no Democrats, no Republican Senators to see it.

Does one need to state that deliberately hiding a bill that the majority Party in Congress intends to pass from the public, and even from members of that Party in the other House of Congress, as well as members of the minority Party who will have to decide whether to vote for it, is the exact opposite of transparency in government.

Quite apart from historical developments since Nixon – never mind Ronald Reagan allowing his staff to pay off kidnappers in the Middle East after he publicly proclaimed he would not negotiate with terrorists, or the Party that constantly whines about government spending first cutting taxes, then starting two unnecessary wars, then instituting a huge, new domestic program – this action by the House Republican leadership alone would merit the coinage of a new term, beyond hypocrisy, to describe it.

We have gopocrisy.

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