Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The GOP as Enemy of the Nation

So the GOP has now added “anti-American” as one of its defining traits.  Prior to this stage, they had added the KKK, the NRA, the anarchist, the secessionists, and the ever present Christian Taliban elements to define the core belief system of the GOP. The Tea Party has always been helpful in this regard, bringing the KKK wing into the party. 

But what is one to make of this new GOP? Clearly, they are not a party seeking to govern. Instead, they appear to be a party seeking to divide, even break up this country many of us still hold dear.  It has been amusing at the least to observe the GOP, and its PR wing (aka the Faux News network) chatter on about how supportive the GOP has always been of the civil rights movement, when in fact they are the main opponents of civil rights. It is a fact that, from the end of the Civil War, when southern republicans all switched to the democratic Party (cuz Lincoln won the war) until the 1960s, when Johnson lost the South by introducing civil rights legislation, that the (southern) democrats were opposed to civil rights, But those “democrats” were never serious democrats anyway. Once Johnson made his moves, they all flipped back into the party of Lincoln, only this time on the side opposing civil rights.

But something even more profound seems to be happening to the GOP. It’s like they have become unhinged by the election of President Obama.  They have turned rather completely into the party of No.  It seems to matter not what our President wants to do. They will say No.  And they go beyond merely opposing him. They actively seek to discredit, even dishonor the President and, now even the Office of the Presidency. Their letter to the leaders in Iran went so far beyond mere opposition that it moves in the direction of treason. The letter does not of course quite reach that stage, but it was clearly intended to damage the United States in its attempt to negotiate with Iran. It diminishes the Executive branch really in an obvious attempt to disable it.

And I have begun to wonder whether this nation is at the brink of something far more serious than mere political divisions.  What most gives me pause is that the GOP managed to convince enough voters to place them in charge of both houses of Congress, and many state houses, from governors to state legislatures.  If the nation wants this kind of dysfunctional government, then perhaps we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the great American experiment.  We have been exceptional in many regards, having created one of the world’s great democracies. Perhaps the cornerstone of that democracy is the premise that we are all in this game of life together. Despite our many internal cultural differences, we agree to respect one another and to act as a community. This agreement is in fact the source of our great strength. Without that commitment, we become simply groups of tribal folk who happen to live within the same geographic region. And that is what defines many of the world’s troubled regions—certainly the Middle East, and many regions in Africa. 

But that basic agreement—that comity—is what seems to be breaking down.  People no longer simply disagree politically. No, our disagreements now always seem to contain bitter vitriol, poisonous utterings.

I wish I could say that I saw the light at the end of this tunnel of hate. But I don’t. With Fox News cheering us on, we are on a runaway train plunging down a steep slope with an engineer at the helm, but an engineer being beaten on the head by some of the passengers. And the passengers seem not to care that the train may soon head off its track and plunge wildly down the nearby ravine. They do not care. And that is what troubles me greatly. All reason has left the party of No. And we cannot continue this course they have now set without eventual disaster. So, cheer on, Fox News. Will you still applaud as our train comes apart and leaves its track, flinging us all hither and yon? But then where will you go Fox? And where will you go Republicans?

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher.” (Abraham Lincoln's Lyceum Address)
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