I often feel as if I could check the “politics” category on every post of this blog. It’s not because I particularly love the stuff. Indeed, I’d rather it go away. But it is inescapable in a representative democracy, and what our elected officials do can make a world of difference. Yet, and you knew this was coming, there seems to be a perversion afoot, a completely bizarre, if not deranged, form of the ancient art of compromise—and how silly to even refer to it in that vein, given the verbal slings and arrows that fill chambers and airwaves these days. What emerges from our legislative bodies stinks.
It’s easy for me to blame it on a single party. I call them bastards, taking a cue from my grandfather. However, calling Republicans names or dismissing them with profane descriptors does not make them go away. There are literally millions of them in the U.S., and while they do not breed like cockroaches they are every bit as pernicious. See. I can’t help myself.
The very large question begs itself: Why are there Republicans at all?
They don’t like government, yet they spend billions of dollars in an effort to run them, and, I dare say, into the ground should they succeed.
They don’t like people not of their own ilk—basically white guys and their worshipping females. In demonstrating disdain for others, Republicans lock them behind bars, deny them the ballot, and refuse them assistance.
They don’t like science and do their best to betray ignorance of all things.
However, they do like guns, wars, prisons, Ronald Reagan, and John Wayne.
Margaret Thatcher suggested that there is no such thing as society, only individuals. She was no philosopher, but rather an ideologue who believed that ‘I’ was far more important than ‘we.’ Her legacy lives on in the Republican Party, which eschews collective responses to systemic problems. (I suppose that systems don’t exist in Thatcherville either.) Thus, there is no real difference between one person unable to find work and tens of millions in the same boat. It does not occur to the Thatcherite Republicans to even wonder why so many might lack jobs. Also, the answer to all problems is lower taxes on the rich, those folks who have shown the Rest of Us that they deserve all they have and more if they can get it—by whatever means.
Why should anyone find this appealing?
Well, I don’t get it and neither do people who live outside our borders, judging from this post at ginandtacos.com. I can’t resist sharing the opening two paragraphs:
It makes sense that people around the world can enjoy occasional America-bashing; god knows we make it easy for them. We export the worst parts of our culture – fast food, corn syrup beverages, idiotic entertainment, Jerry Lewis – around the globe, we still have a strict policy of American Exceptionalism in global affairs, we have an unpleasant tendency to start wars, and (worst of all, in my opinion) a large number of Americans know absolutely nothing about the world outside our borders. Many people around the world no doubt conceive of Americans as the stereotypes that some of us work so hard to deserve: as anti-intellectual, violent, proudly ignorant slobs who eat KFC every day and drive pickup trucks.
When I read non-U.S. news sites it’s hard to miss the occasional “Look at how barbaric Americans are” stories, usually focusing on gun violence, racism, our failing healthcare system, or the latest can-you-believe-this-shit proposal from some Republican state legislator. Part of the reason that people in one country look down on another is to distract from their own problems, but there certainly is a ring of truth to these criticisms. Like I said, we do make it easy for anyone who wishes to paint us with a broad brush. It would be silly to take it personally or to point out the bleedingly obvious fact that stereotypes do not describe all members of a group accurately.
I am a reminded of the following quote, attributed to Oscar Wilde:
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.