Not much, as a Matter of Fact
Consider the Zombie
The zombie. Certainly a popular fellow in mass entertainment these days. We seem to see them everywhere. Consider what makes them different from human beings.
A zombie, at first glance, looks like a human being. But, of course, it is not. It was a human being, but now it is the undead – not really dead or alive, but somewhere in-between. There is no heart. No soul is evident. It has no purpose other than sustaining itself by eating the occasional brain. This, of course, makes everyone not in its group (zombies) either an enemy or a victim.
Enter, The Republican Party, Stage Right
You would not have to be too clever to see where this is going. The similarity of a zombie with what now passes for the Republican party is striking. In the rest of this post, I will be unloading on the Republican party. In one sense, that is not a surprise. I don’t think I have been too coy about my politics since starting this blog.
But know that I take no joy in this. The zombie reference is not a joke. Part of the genius of American politics over many decades has been the two-party system, with one party being slightly left of center, the other slightly right of center. Both had wings that were more right or left than the main body, and some overlaps in policy and philosophy. But no more. I have been in countries lacking this balance or having a multitude of parties. The results are usually not pretty. I mourn the passing of what we had.
The Republican party has become a full -fledged zombie. Some early symptoms were evident in the Goldwater era. Roots took hold under Reagan. Then came the backlash to a black president and the rise of the Tea Party. People like Jessie Helms were suddenly mainstream Republicans. Add talk radio.
Trump thought it swell to besmirch the Medal of Freedom by giving it to Rush Limbaugh. That speaks volumes. And that doesn’t even address what a wrong time and place it was to do this. Now add Fox TV and social media to the mix and the poisoning effect is complete.
And So Here We Are
Some party elders thought they could control the extreme elements along the way. They were, or course, spectacularly wrong. Others agreed with the extremists all along. Now they have reaped what they have sown.
If the Republican party stands for anything other than staying in power and agreeing to whatever Donald Trump says today, I will be damned if I can figure out what that might be. The party once stood for strong national defense. It now openly repeats Russian propaganda. Republicans once celebrated liberty and democracy; now they side with dictators and despots. This party once saw fiscal discipline as a cornerstone. It now creates trillion-dollar deficits on an annual basis. It does so by huge tax cuts to those who do not need them and who will not invest them in America.
The Republicans once called themselves friends of small business and family farmers. Their current policies hurt both, deeply and deliberately. This is now a party that treats any compromise or even discussion as weakness and treasonous. That is an odd way to view a diverse country of over 300 million people. To disagree with the president on anything is to risk censure and isolation, if not outright attack. Because, you know, disagreement is not allowed – at all.
Have You No Shame?
Once upon a time, one could count on Republicans (at least some of them) to put country and constitution first. After that came the institutions in which they served, such as the Congress. Finally, there was their constituents. The Party was a means of organization to support those priorities. Today, it is little more than a cult of personality. It was not unexpected, but still stunning to watch senators twist inside out justifying Donald Trump. They knew he had earned impeachment.
Watching the impeachments process, sometimes I could not decide between laughing and crying. People once thought to have had some independence and standards withered like flowers in heat. Susan Collins is sure Trump has learned his lesson in all this. Yeah, right. Lamar Alexander agreed the president did what he was charged with, but decided that was not bad enough to earn a conviction. And on it went. We watched an entire branch of government disappear into the support troops of something that looks like a mobster movie.
Time for a New Solution
The zombie analogy fits like a glove. What used to be the Republican party is now something without much of a brain, a heart, or a soul. It has no purpose other than self-feeding (power). It is incapable of standing for anything other than hanging on to power and pleasing its Dear Leader.
This is a sad state of affairs, for real Republicans and for the country. We all deserve better than this. The last half decade has made it clear this is no longer a party that can recover. It has no leadership worthy of the title within its ranks.
I probably would not vote for them, but if someone starts an honest center right party that has values and represents much of America, darned if I wouldn’t cheer them on. I might even send in a donation. We need such a party as a part of our national mix. Will the Real Republicans please stand up, state your purpose and values? Will you make something new? America awaits your response.
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