I don’t think that it has really dawned on the Republican National Committee that among every draftable Senator, Congressman or retired Republican statesman, they haven’t been able to come up with a single one who resonates with their party’s base. They are so far out of touch with the real people of this country that a washout TV game show host seems like a better choice. As they say, “politics makes strange bedfellows.” The Republicans (and I used to be one) managed to hop in the sack with the Koch brothers and the religious right and this is their offspring. Somebody should put a pillow over its face and put it out of its misery.
As the saying goes, “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” When Hitler rose to power in Germany, he seized upon the anger and frustration of a nation in tremendous economic upheaval (their Great Depression, even worse than ours), and said, essentially, “We are going to make Germany great again. We are going to rebuild this nation and elevate everyone out of their misery. And we realize that we have enemies in the form of foreigners (Trump’s Mexicans) and a religious minority who control the banks (Hitler’s Jews, Trump’s Muslims as terrorists against the homeland / fatherland). And everyone who does not join us or agree with us is part of the problem.”
How has Trump’s rhetoric been any different? And his supporters, like Hitler’s, join his cause because they feel powerless without him and fear that if they do not become part of his “club,” they will suffer the same fate as the other parts of the “problem.” For the past 30 odd years, the Republican party has been wooing the religious right as their “soldiers of democracy,” and has indoctrinated them with fear of the outside world and of internal governmental policies that would strip them of their cherished religious identity. I’m sure they never planned on Trump, but they certainly have sown the seeds of his rise.
It is rapidly heading for February and the general election is just nine months away. In case you haven’t noticed, the Republican party does not seem to have a viable candidate. Trump is and has been a joke from day one. Cruz is so despised by his own party that old guard Republicans have stated that they would support Trump preferentially to him. Lindsey Graham stated that the party would do better picking a name out of the phone book than Ted Cruz. Folks, this ain’t good. And, while I am backing a candidate from another party, I believe whole heartedly that we need two good candidates, that we need two parties with viable ideas and candidates so that the voters can sort out the best course for the country. Trump, Cruz and the implosion of the Republican party may be great for the Democrats, but it is very bad news for America.
Tonight I realize that to many, I am looking at the world through my own tainted glasses. How could I (or any of us) not? But here is what I see. Until a few months ago, I was always a Republican, politically. I grew up in Pennsylvania in the 60’s and 70’s. So, the kind of Republican I have always been was a moderate one. I believe in fiscal conservatism, a strong military to protect our country and its people from outside threats, but on social issues I am more centrist, more of a “live and let live” kind of person. I don’t understand what motivates gay folks, but I have no problem with them getting married either. I am not religious, but I figure anyone else is entitled to their religion as long as they don’t try to beat me on the head with it. I believe in science and education and teaching our kids to be as smart as possible, because they are the future.
This was the core of Republican thought, as I grew up with it. But, like Bob Dole and George Bush (the elder), I look at today’s Republican party and don’t see a place for me in it. It has become a party of radical conservatism, protective of ignorance in all forms, which has moved so far to the extreme end of the scale that a fascist (Trump) and reality deniers (Carson and Cruz with their 6000 year old planet) are deemed fit to lead. Did Unions go too far? Sure, but without them you and I would be shopping at the company store, living without any kind of retirement income, and working for slave wages under slave conditions (Trump has repeatedly said that we need to do away with minimum wage altogether, so we can compete with China – there is your return to slave labor, looming on the horizon).
Am I playing favorites here and denying the mega-rich owners of the mill their right to become richer? I probably am. They can stand it. I have to look at the folks who do the sweating and slaving, the living and dying in this land and ask, what is best for them? The whole country rides on the backs of the middle and working classes. Folks like you and me. It always has. And those backs are buckling under the weight. Yet, it is the Republican right which calls for legislation that does not ease that pressure, but instead just lets the rich get richer.
Are there lobbyists influencing politics on behalf of the democrats? Absolutely! Look at Hillary’s biggest donors – they come from Wall Street and big-media, both institutions which pour millions of dollars into lobbyists to sway political legislation in Washington. Both sides are completely corrupt and completely guilty. The system today is absolutely broken.
But things were different in the 1970’s. Republicans and Democrats could still find consensus and work together to pass legislation to help our economy. Those days are gone. There is zero cooperation in Washington so there is nothing being done, even when the issues are cut and dried.
Again, the issue du jour has become who can and can not possess a firearm. There are many folks in America who want to have guns, some for sport, some for self-defense. Unfortunately, many of those people feel the need to have guns because they have bought into the fear mongering that is coming from that same radical right. That is a separate issue.
We can all agree that some people in this country should not have access to guns, either because they are known, habitual criminals, or because they are mentally unfit to act responsibly with a gun. If we can agree to that notion, we can surely agree that there should be a way to do all that we can to keep guns from those folks, without impinging on the rights of honest, responsible citizens to have them. It can’t get much simpler than that.
Yet, if Obama had tried to get this legislation passed through a bipartisan Congress or Senate, it would fail just because the Republicans are committed to making sure that anything coming from Obama must fail, whether or not it has merit and benefits the population (if Obama was a Republican, the Democrats would undoubtedly do the same). Trump is already campaigning on the notion that he will repeal such legislation, day one. So, if we can see what needs to be done, can agree on what needs to be done, and can put it into action in such a way that it does not harm those citizens who should not be harmed by it, what are we to do when the government, OUR representatives in Washington, refuse to act upon OUR desires?
At some point, sanity and doing what is best to keep Americans safe from criminals and nut cases, must trump partisan politics. I do not see where the President had a hell of a lot of choice. As I have come to see it, part of the problem is that our political system has become a kind of religion. And one of the hallmarks of religion, any religion, is that the leaders have to be able to convince the followers that theirs is the true way. It is an elaborate house of cards. Someone once commented that there have been about 3000 gods so far, but yours is the only one that is real. Every one else’s is just a silly bit of make believe, but yours, yours is the real deal.
You see where I’m coming from. In a country where the cult of personality has taken over politics and political lines between parties are drawn so clearly that each party is driven by a religious fervor, each party knows that if they are ever shown to be full of shit, the whole house will come tumbling down around them. Like any religion, the political parties must not budge, must not admit any flaw, must never acknowledge that perhaps, just perhaps, they were wrong about something. The biggest fear the Republican party has in this particular issue is that the legislation put forward by a Democratic president just might work. And then, everyone will ask, “what was all the fuss about?” And they might just wonder what the real issues are that we need to deal with.
I’m becoming increasingly bored with the Republicans (I’m an ex-Republican) and their bat-shit crazy proclamations. If they had bothered to check out what the proposed legislation intends, they’d find that it calls for background checks for on-line purchases and at gun shows and more funding for law enforcement and for mental health care providers. If you are an honest, law-abiding citizen with no history of mental health problems, you will still ace the background check and get your coveted piece. If you side with law enforcement, you should be glad that they are getting additional funding to fight the bad guys.
If we have an increased ability to monitor the truly stone crazy people running around out there, we might just keep some ordinance out of their hands. What the hell can possibly be wrong with any of this? Nowhere in the legislation does it call for people to turn in their guns or to stop selling them. It may mean that to sell them you’ll have to go through an intermediary which could perform the background check, but then I’m sure you would never want to sell your gun to someone who might turn around and use it on your own family.
Can we, just for one bleepin’ minute, stop being led around by the nose by people who want to take our attention away from real issues in this country? Issues like why the rich keep getting richer while the rest of us slowly starve? Issues like why big-oil, big-pharmaceuticals and big-media hand pick the candidates for office and give the rest of us a vote that isn’t worth anything because we have no real choice or say in the matter? Issues like how Walmart has come to be the nation’s #1 employer and not GM.
The Republican party has carefully studied the role of reality TV in our lives and has figured out that half the blasted populace can be conned into believing candidates whose sole qualifications for the job are that they starred in a TV show or believe that the earth is only 6000 years old. And you want these sons-of-bitches to have their hands on our nuclear arsenal? Get real, get an education, pay attention to what is going on (with your own eyes and ears) and grow the hell up. This is pathetic.
A while back, I reached the conclusion that I felt that Donald Trump would flame out as a candidate, and I still believe he will. My worry was that he would be replaced as a candidate from the GOP by someone far more clever (politically) and far more sinister than himself. We may have found him in Ted Cruz. I was listening to an interview with Mr. Cruz this morning on NPR.org’s “Morning Edition,” which I am sure you can find at the site. It was rather revealing! He is a war hawk if ever there was one, prepared to drive us into Syria (he’ll lead from the rear, thank you) on the fool’s errand of trying to eradicate ISIS, and, like Trump, wants to keep Muslim’s out of the US homeland. But, when asked very short and straight up questions, he also revealed that he has no coherent plan other than “carpet bombing” Syrian cities (“there will be some civilian casualties”) and halting the inflow of refugees, but not Muslims on tourist, work, study or fiancee visas (the San Bernardino attacker’s wife came from Pakistan on a fiancee visa). He only really wants to block refugees fleeing ISIS, not potentially radicalized Muslims from other countries. In short, he has no plan at all, other than to paint people from the Middle East with a very broad brush. I’m sure that there are elements in the Pentagon who would approve of dropping some ordinance; it has to be restocked, you know! Another election cycle and once again, the people of this nation ask a very simple question; Is this the best we have to offer?