Me: I really don’t like getting into politics on this blog, but sometimes I just have things to say.
You: You don’t like getting into politics? SMH. LOL. Get off my lawn!!! You are all about politics.
Me: Yeah, but I don’t want to be anymore. I want it to all go away.
You: That isn’t going to happen. What’s on your mind?
Me: Really? You want to know what I’m thinking?
You: Sure. Why not? Why hold back now?
* * * * *
A few weeks ago, I got into a back and forth on Facebook over the current election season. Two of the friends are married to each other and are staunch liberals (although the husband has a few not-so-liberal views) who are deeply, incredibly offended by Trump and anybody who supports him. The other friend is a long-time conservative who told me once during the Obama Presidency that he “hated!!” Obama. He said it with such venom in his voice and on his face, I decided I never wanted to talk politics with him again.
He’s a good friend who is always helpful and supportive and kind, but with politics — well, we risk ruining that friendship if we go too deep. Which this FB back-and-forth might have done.
He said he would never vote for Biden-Harris because they want to defund the police and take away his guns. (This friend grew up in a very conservative part of California and his father was in law enforcement in that rural area.)
I provided the links to the official positions taken by Biden and Harris on those two topics and asked him what specifically he objected to. I also pointed out that “defund the police” doesn’t actually mean what he thinks it means. It’s an unfortunate choice of words that doesn’t accurately reflect the overwhelming perspective of those on the left. Law enforcement needs to be reformed and re-imagined, not eliminated. Only the most extreme of extreme leftists believe otherwise.
But it was pointless — he refused to comment on their official positions and instead said that he was entitled to believe what he wanted to believe — just as we are entitled to our beliefs. I agree with that to a point. And what’s that point? When your beliefs are not factually-based, when there is no basis in reality to hold those beliefs.
This is what I hear more and more from conservatives and Trump-supporters when I try to talk to them. They have a right to believe what they want to believe. And when they say that, there’s no point in continuing a conversation, a dialogue, an attempt at exploring each person’s views for any common ground. They refuse to consider facts or reality and I just have no ability to carry on a conversation like that. It’s a soul-crushing exercise.
How did the Republican Party become so devoid of reality and eager to get their members to go down this fact-free path of a belief system? Well, I’ve got some ideas I’m going to try to summarize here.
There is a base group of Republican conservatives who have never bought into the direction this country has gone in since the Great Depression. They hate Social Security, they hate welfare, they hate taxes, they hate government. What they want is a world in which they can do whatever they want, where the individual is paramount, and where survival of the fittest is the guiding principle of life. In their world, there is no community, there is no support for each other. It is just a dog-eat-dog world in which there shouldn’t be any dog training provided to anybody.
This base group thinks every moderate Republican is a RINO, a traitor to the cause. Any effort to actually govern, to work with others, to identify and provide solutions to our country’s problems is a cause for cancellation from their cause. They are supremely arrogant, never admitting a mistake or failure or anything wrong with their views. They are the truest believers in American Exceptionalism and believe their view is it, the end all and be all both here and abroad.
They view what happened to Nixon as a travesty, a “crime” manufactured by the media, and the elites, and the Dems. And correspondingly view Trump as the divine retribution for all they have suffered over the last decades. They are absolutely wallowing in how Trump takes it to Dems and the media.
But let’s back up for a sec. A lot of this started with Reagan. He was really the first President in decades who bought into the doctrine of the far right-wing of the American polity. Sure other Republicans have to some degree, but hell, even Nixon proposed a universal health care system.
Reagan, on the other hand, followed the right-wing economic path to a tee. Cut taxes, starve the government, gut social programs, use social issues like abortion to divide, prayer in school. Blah, blah, blah. Ever since Reagan, the Republican Party has pursued its path ever more single-mindedly and successfully.
All of that has culminated in what we have today. A party that simply has no interest in governing. Ever since Obama was elected, Republican leaders in Congress have demonstrated a complete unwillingness to pursue solutions, to compromise, to do anything other than block every attempt the Dems put forward to govern, to address those solutions.
In the last two years, the House has passed hundreds of pieces of legislation. The Republican-controlled Senate has done nothing with any of that legislation. They have failed to address election security issues at a time when our election security is a major issue for everybody. While they passed initial stimulus packages, they refuse to do anymore now even though our economy still teeters on the edge of catastrophe. They haven’t put forward any immigration proposal in years. There is nothing they have done in so long, it’s hard to believe they have any relevance anymore. Yet they retain significant power to continue to gum up the works.
Why? Because actual governing in America would require them to violate their most sacrosanct principles — that government is not the solution and that government doesn’t do anything right. So, they sit in their seats in the House and the Senate, in state houses and legislatures across the country, and do nothing.
Well, except for a couple of areas.
- Defense spending
- Tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations.
- Judicial appointments.
It’s that last one that matters the most. Here’s the deal. Republicans know that the demographics of America are not in their favor. They know that in the years ahead, they will become a significant minority in this country. As a result, anything they do legislatively now, to the extent they even want to do anything, is likely to be reversed by future legislatures. It’s why they are doing so much in so many states where they have the power to suppress the vote, to eliminate whole groups and classes of individuals from the franchise, to eliminate voting stations in areas where more Dems live … well, the list could go on. They are trying, desperately, to preserve their power. To do what? Absolutely nothing. Except preserve those three things listed above.
And why do they care so much about judges, above all else. Because they know their political relevance is doomed and the only way they can further their political objectives as long as possible is to get as many right-wing, ideological judges appointed to lifelong terms — thereby using the courts in the decades to come further the political objectives they can’t obtain at the ballot box or in Congress and legislatures across the country. Demographic change is a very real thing and Republicans see that. What’s going on, I hope, is the last dying gasp of an ideology that is destroying this country from the inside.
I really hope that November 3 will see such a tidal wave of blue that the dying gasp comes sooner than later. It needs to happen. Having so much of our government controlled by a group that hates government, that wants nothing more than a dog-eat-dog world, that doesn’t see the value in community in support and help and compromise and solutions is a disgusting thing to see.
There are a few sayings that come to mind here. It takes a village to raise a child. A rising tide lifts all boats. That first saying is anathema to conservatives. The second saying is one they apparently have lost track of as they pursue economic policies that destroy the middle class and lower class. What both sayings point to though is this — we are all in this together. The success of the business and corporations that pay the Republican bills is dependent on the broadest pool of consumers possible. That success depends on opportunity for more, not for less. But virtually everything Republicans do these days is about shutting down opportunities, destroying participation, damaging the middle and lower classes, hurting people who are not like them. They have lost sight, if they ever had it, of the importance of helping and supporting our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, the homeless people on the corner. They’ve lost track of how important it is for their greatest nation in the world to actually take care of its own and not leave them stranded in a world that is more and more filled with weeds and destruction.
I can only hope that sanity returns in a major way to our politics. It begins November 3 if Americans have the guts to turn their backs on this dying animal. Vote. Vote like you mean it.