Thursday, November 06, 2008

What is shocking about this election is that Republicans were able to convince 56,542,266 Americans to vote to keep Republicans in power. After eight years of criminally incompetent mis-rule, 56 million Americans said: "More please!"

There are a few understandable, but ultimately incoherent, reasons for this.

1. Personal conservativism and the successful demonization of political opponents. Some people will always choose the old, familiar, and non-threatening, whether it is a Chevrolet, a ham sandwich, or continued political malfeasance by old, rich, white men. If they were mature, well-adjusted human beings, Republican leaders would help people to trust their better instincts and overcome their innate prejudices. Instead, they have acted like frightened adolescents, seizing on people's weaknesses, painting Democrats as traitors, Communists, terrorists --- essentially as scary monsters. Amazingly, tens of millions of Americans are so uneducated and ill-prepared for the world that they actually believe this garbage.

2. Misplaced, confused ethical issues. Some people have genuine moral qualms about political issues, such as legalized abortion. Of course, as most countries have figured out, abortion is primarily a medical procedure between a patient and a doctor, but the primacy of faith for some people demands that they intrude on other people's doctor-patient relationship with not just government regulation, but criminal ramifications. (Additionally, they do this while calling themselves "small government conservatives" --- go figure.) They should recall that America strives to be a constitutional representative republic, not an ancient Near Eastern theocracy. I find the logic in reason #2 to be odd, but it is obviously light-years more legitimate reason #1, which boils down to pretending that half the world are scary monsters because a comedian with a hate radio show told you so.

It is also edifying to note that from 2000-2006, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive branch. Strangely for anyone naive enough to believe that they are driven by sincere ethical issues, they didn't make much progress on the ostensibly all-important abortion issue in those six years. To me, it is clear that for Republican politicians, the abortion issue is a political asset, one which they do not intend to give up by attempting to solve it. Voters who vote on the basis of advocating for criminalizing abortion merely reward politicians' cynicism without the slightest chance of actually solving the supposed problem.

3. Racism. This is actively cultivated and encouraged by the Republican party and their operatives, which dominate the American mass media, much to the detriment and shame of our country. The NYT has a map showing the counties in which McCain-Palin outperformed Bush's '04 campaign. This is inexplicable apart from racism.

4. Infantile irresponsibility disguised as greed. Nobody likes to pay taxes, but Republicans have propagated the myth that government services don't actually have to be paid for. You know --- roads, schools, fire departments, invading other countries in order to indiscriminately kill civilians and take their oil --- all of this takes money.

These are all clear failures of our republic, attributable to the failure of public education, to the domination of the mass media by right-wing propaganda, to a financial system which only benefits the rich, to the entrenched, calcified two-party political system, and to a poisonous coalition between the military, the manufacturing industry, and a so-called neo-conservative political group which is dedicated to Likudnik imperialism. We have begun the first step in restoring our republic, which is to overthrow the Bush-Cheney junta and elect a real leader. We must continue with the work of fighting the aggressive irrationality that the right-wing thrives on. Reason and compassion are toxic to political, social, and spiritual regression.

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