Recent events in our corner of the world brings home the strange transformation of at least one of the major American political parties. I first knew this wasn't just a bad dream when my wife turned to me about three years ago and asked “When did we become “Lefties?””
Both of us are life long Republicans and neither of us seem to share much in common with the present party platform, at least not the loudest part of it. It’s as if alien body snatchers came and took over our party. All of a sudden, we’re RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only)? Which has left us asking, “Who invited these people to our party?”
I was horrified when Ann Coulter was identified as a party member, then I found out Rush Limbaugh was our “Party spokesman,” Glenn beck our “Prophet” and the Koch brothers our master strategy team. I’m not supposed to worry though, Rupert Murdoch is on our side!
Where once wise Republicans only slyly smiled at the antics of “those crazy wild-eyed Democrats” now it seems as if we are locked in a grim “do or die” battle to the end. The loss of any political point means the end of our nation as we know it, every vote is taken in lock-stepped union and every opinion expressed by a Republican, no matter how witless or inane deserves our undying support. Whatever happened to talking it through over a nice lunch? What happened to sensible negotiation? For that matter what happenned to fact checking?
This same attitude has drifted down (trickled down?) to local politics as well. You can hear it during the campaigns and on the floor of the state and local assemblies as well as see it on the discussion boards right here on the Patch. Points are no longer graciously conceded, loud rhetoric and derision has taken the place of the convincing argument and sides are hardened to to point of immobility. It’s as if we’ve lost the art of discussion and compromise. Are those dirty words now?
This new attitude has left our party holding the bag. And it’s quite a bag too, full of some of the nuttiest notions in our history. Talented, well adjusted, normally intelligent citizens are defending yet another investigation into the President’s birth certificate. All the while, book sales and votes are rolling in for every wacko and crank with a “Firm suspicion.” Obvious charlatans should not be embraced by serious politicians, they should be out on the street wearing a sandwich board telling the unfortunate passerby “The end is nigh!”
The party is out in force and outrage about the Presidents purposeful raising of gas prices. Really? Do we think he has a secret lever in the Oval office, or does he do it over his blackberry? Republicans in state legislatures have and are currently passing Voter Identification laws to stop the tide of rampant voter fraud. However, these laws mostly have the effect of making it more difficult for Americans who’ve been casting their ballots for the last 50 years to vote. Doggedly they are now waiting in walkers and wheel chairs in the long lines of Motor Vehicles Departments or County Court houses all across the nation. They can’t wait to vote, and they will remember.
We’re against the Democrats because they want our guns. Those would be the same ones who haven’t even brought up the subject of Gun Control, except possibly when their leader signed a law making it legal to carry your “Gat” in a National park. Park Rangers everywhere are sure to be thrilled about that. We’ve even worked hard to isolate ourselves from half the voting population by coming up with new ways to annoy, infuriate and shame women. Don’t worry give us time, sooner or later we’ll loose the men as well.
We need to shun these notions. The party of The government needs to stay out of my life shouldn’t be anywhere near laws banning Gay Marriage. The party of fiscal responsibility should be investing and growing us out of the Recession, not leading the doom and gloom cheering section. The Republicans I grew up with would have borrowed enough Chinese money to break their economy, not our own, and then gone out and bought an entirely new national infrastructure so we could whip them in the markets of the world as well. Those Republicans would be jumping into the greatest growth industry in history, Green Energy, with both feet. Which would be a lot more hopeful than continuing to subsidize running out of gas while watching China sell solar panels like hotcakes.
While we all listen to the antics of local “Republicans,” or try to work out why Fox news hasn’t been caught hacking into some Minnesota farm girl’s email yet and why Arctic ice is vanishing at stunning speed when there really is no such thing as global warming (All those Arctic researchers have Socialist zippos signed by the President himself!) we can rest assured that our “time out” is coming. That’s not a bad thing. A little quiet time alone in a separate room will give us all a moment to think about what we’ve done.
Maybe people will forget the shenanigans that ruined the country’s credit rating. Maybe if we’re a little less gung ho about sending a task force we might get other nations to listen to our advice once in a while. Maybe it’s ok to spend more money on schools and teachers than shiny new battle systems. Maybe it’s ok to be a little politer, a little more considerate, a little more thoughtful about what we say. If we got a little tougher on racist rhetoric from our own party members, maybe people might stop calling us all racists. It’s possible that we might even consider backing away from a fight and calling the cops rather than opening fire on suspicious strangers in our own neighborhoods. Maybe, just maybe, things that sound a little nutty, after sound consideration, really are.
It’s even possible that the US isn’t a Christian Nation, it’s just a nation with a lot of Christians in it. After all, when when Elder statesmen of “the Church” announce that Haiti is being punished for making a deal with the devil, it’s still possible to change the channel. We don’t have to listen to it, defend it or spread it around. What if the next time a Republican Congressman calls the President of the United States a liar at the top of his lungs we get him to take a look into to that complex political situation at the south pole, for a year or so, in person. Most of all, wouldn’t it be fun to be the Party of “Fatcats” again, instead of the party of “Fatheads?”