The above gives you some clue as to my current political attitude. Historically, I’ve always leaned left, which naturally had me voting for Democrats, Independents, and the occasional liberal Republican. (For instance, I voted for Dick Thornburgh for governor of Pennsylvania.) To a certain extent I do think that, given current definitions of the term “liberal”, reality does have a left leaning bias. So I vote accordingly.
However, the Republican party, at least at the federal level, and to a certain extent, at the state level, is a different party than it was even 30 years ago. While I didn’t always agree with their policies, I never feared to see them win political office, even when I didn’t vote for them, because on the whole, they usually put the country ahead of the party when push came to shove, and counter-balancing Democrats tended to temper their more conservative leanings. You usually could assume that even though, like all politicians from both sides, they would look after themselves first, America second and then their party, that order of priority generally stood the test of time. You really can’t say that today. Today the order would be 1) themselves, 2) the Republican party 3) whoever gives them the most money and then 4) America.
Perhaps I have a naive belief in the American political process, believing that patriotism (whatever that means) tends to win out. It always seemed to me that in tough times, in times of crisis, in times when the interests of the country should trump those of individuals, even Republicans would come together with their political rivals in solidarity, for the sake and welfare of the country. They did it during Watergate, truly a constitutional crisis of major proportions.
I don’t think we could count on them to do it now.
When the religious right infiltrated the party, that was the death knell. When people who find dogma more persuasive than logic take over the party, as they have done since 1980, I don’t think we can depend on those same people making decisions in the best interest of the country. You saw it when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House, after he promulgated his Contract with America, a piece of self-serving dogmatic scripture if there ever was such a thing. Once he became Speaker, Congress shut down the government, appointed Kenneth Starr as a special prosecutor to hound President Clinton to his impeachment, and generally created an ambiance of divisiveness and polarity in this country which we have yet to recover from.
Why? Because Republicans with a religious fervor think that they are right, and that compromise is not a good thing. Mixing religion and politics is a recipe for disaster. Look at the really dumb arguments about America being a Christian Country. Look at their truly moronic claims about the separation of church and state. They actually believe this stuff. They think it’s true. And one who truly knows the “truth” will never compromise. Ask Gideon.
They became emboldened during the Bush-Cheney years to completely jettison logic, reason and discourse as a means to accomplish policy. After Obama was elected, they became the party of “No”. Think about what that means. It mean that no matter what is offered or suggested, if it’s advanced by Obama and the Democrats, Republicans say no to it, not on the merits, but because it’s in the interests of the Republican party to do so. And by “interests” I mean “gaining control and power”, not “making things work”.
Imagine if a married couple ran their household that way. Every time one spouse suggested something he or she thought was beneficial for the family, the other spouse said “no”, not because he or she disagreed, but because saying “no” meant that he or she exercised control and maintained power in the relationship. Can you spell D-I-V-O-R-C-E?
Can you also spell G-R-I-D-L-O-C-K?
When Mitch McConnell says that the first thing, and by extension the only thing on the Republican agenda after the elections, is defeating Obama in 2012, you can bet your bottom dollar that not much is going to get done in Washington between now and then.
There’s something in my background, in my upbringing, that suggests that this is actually treasonous. Maybe it was all those time I was forced to Pledge allegiance to the flag. Or all those July 4th fireworks I shared with people in my community. You know, the ones where everyone, of all political stripes, come together to celebrate the birth of a nation. It seems to me that if a political party so explicitly informs the country that it’s really not interested in doing anything other than ensuring it regains the White House in 2012, that is a violation of one’s allegiance to one’s country, to place party over country, and to me that’s treason.
Hyperbole? You decide.