Left In Lowell

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March 27, 2010

Let Me Count the Ways…

by at 12:49 pm.

If you have a good half hour, a lot of browser tabs, and the stomach, this has got to be the most comprehensive list of Republican hypocrisies, lies, and bigotry you’ll see on the internets. You’ll need a dump truck to deliver it all to your computer…

Look, we all know underlying the debate between Dems and Republicans is a fundamental philosophical difference, points of view that can be debated. (One side, albeit, which is more supported by historic proof and facts than the other, and I mean that. If the debate was fair and honest, there would be a clear winner - the fact-based one.) However, today’s brand of Republican is less governed by their philosophy, and more by winning at any cost.

And beneath the win at any cost attitude, is a whole large segment of the Republican population (egged on, now, by their leaders) which is scared to death of losing white power. This isn’t rhetorical - the evidence is right before our eyes. It’s not even veiled any more. It’s right there, in black and white, audio and video. While there was some pretty serious opposition under, say, Clinton, the tone is entirely different now. A significant minority of the American citizenry are not afraid of a socialist takeover, they are afraid of a black or minority socialist takeover.

For a long time, this bigotry was a quietly-held belief, simmering, mostly invisible, living everywhere, but more prevalent in some regions. It bubbled silently in places where poverty and lack of education are still a problem. In states, particularly, which take more federal tax dollars than they give. Who are not productive enough economies to hold their own. And the more help they need, the more they can be played for their fears.

That simmering has come to a fierce boiling over. If anything, I think the best outcome of electing a black president is to thrust these attitudes out from the shadows. For too long, we have thought we have progressed past racism, and allowed to think that we are, mostly, above it. We’re finding out now that it is still among us.

Racism, in most cases (maybe all?), is the attempt for someone who is discontent with their own lives to blame someone else, The Other, for their problems - instead of their leaders, or themselves, their own actions. It is people in pain, distress, anger, and fear turning blame outward to answer why. It’s tribalism no matter the truth.

What I find the saddest part of this past year and the lengths the Republicans have gone to win, is the cynical way these leaders have decided to use that fear to stoke up their electoral chances. Never mind that this is a losing proposition - that they will and are tuning out the moderate middle, crucial to winning general elections. The violence being embraced by a portion of their followers is a direct result of the statements of Republican leaders, this last year, and prior, about Dems. No longer a loyal opposition, Republicans in office and in the media have decided that calling Dems treasonous, anti-American, fascist, tyrannical, and the arbiters of the death of democracy is the path to regaining a grip on power. But these leaders and media talkers are more to blame for what is happening than even the militia leaders calling for the breaking of windows or other violent acts. The words of Republican leaders are making it permissible for these actions to occur.

All this, of course, while defending one of their own regarding torture, illegal wiretaps, search and seizures, and wars on countries and peoples which have not attacked us while ignoring the ones who did.

The next decade will be very telling for Republicans. Will they do some soul searching and decide that they still want to remain a part of active American democracy, solving the problems we face with honesty and, often, a simple difference of philosophy? To call for the best in our country instead of the worst? Or will they continue to play, and pray, on the fears of many in their party, and become, at best, a permanent regional minority party?

And if they choose the second, who then will be the loyal opposition? We progressives do think that the country needs to swing leftward - I mean, today’s far Right are to the right of Attila the Hun for goodness’ sake - but we don’t want America to be a one party system. I also don’t want the conservative moderates fleeing the Republican totalitarian attitude to stretch the boundaries of what it means to be a Democrat (as has happened in Massachusetts, or with people like Sen. Spector). Come back towards sanity, Republicans, because the future of our democracy - and the nature of the debate - is at stake.

I don’t hold out a whole lot of hope right now, however. Talk to me in ten years…

6 Responses to “Let Me Count the Ways…”

  1. The Messenger Says:

    Lynne, why must you degrade your position by labelling an entire body of people as racist? It’s a red herring that prevents honest discourse on the issues the divide dems and reps. It seems intellectually lazy to brand a group with an ugly ad hominim attack rather than raising the level of debate with thoughtful point-counter point. I hope my critique doesn’t make a racist, but I’d like to know your thoughts.

  2. Lynne Says:

    It’d be so hilarious that every post I make has one commenter or more than didn’t READ the post and makes a stupid comment, if it weren’t so frustrating to have to repeat myself over and over. Here, let me quote myself so you can read it carefully:

    And beneath the win at any cost attitude, is a whole large segment of the Republican population (egged on, now, by their leaders) which is scared to death of losing white power.

    Not ALL Republicans, not even necessarily a MAJORITY of Republicans (though I’m not ruling it out), said I - just a LARGE portion.

    And if you don’t think it’s a large portion, I direct you to a couple of polls looking at the beliefs of self-identified Republicans. At the rhetoric from the rank and file regarding Muslims, immigration, or other issues.

    If you, as a Republican, don’t LIKE the fact you are labeled, as a group, as having a large segment of racists, I SUGGEST you oust the racists among you, and STOP VOTING for leaders who are racist. Then we can talk about how much sweetness and light the Republican party is made of.

    Your comment doesn’t make you a racist, but it does leave a lot to be desired about your understanding of the problem we face, and makes me wonder about your reading comprehension. But knee jerk reactions are another symptom of being Republican…

  3. The Messenger Says:

    Before you point out the splinter in my eye, you must remove the plank from your own… I read your links where none of the polls indicate the surveyed as racists. Allow me to explain. The polls did display distrust - even paranoia, political divides, religious zealotry, but no where did it say, “we believe Pres Obama is a bad leader because he’s not white.” Am I not connecting the dots? Is my comprehension still lacking?

    To those who think Obama is a socialist, you cry racism, rather than debating the merit of their opinion, and subsequentially the merits of socialism itself.

    Are there racists - yes. Are there racist Republicans - I’m sure. Did the Harris polls demonstrate that a “large portion” of Republican are racists - no.

    My plea, Lynne, is to not shut down the debate with the race card. It’s a low tactic that ends conversation.

    BTW: for the record, I am an Independent. I am no troll - honest

  4. Mill Girl Says:

    Messenger,

    I know you’re reacting to Lynne’s intense delivery but in the interest of point-counter point, I’d ask you…

    If 31 percent of republicans in this poll think Obama is “racist against white people” and 24 percent think Obama “wants the terrorists to win” then how would you characterize these folks? Paranoid about what? If not the differences between themselves and Obama then what? Isn’t religous zealotry really just prejudice against those who are from some other background? What other word is there to use?

  5. Lynne Says:

    Sorry, but I don’t think the 57 percent of Repubs that think Obama is a Muslim are saying in the next sentence, “but that’s ok with me!”

    You really do need to read carefully.

  6. The Messenger Says:

    Ladies, I value the the power of language. The term “racist” refers to one of the ugliest of human acts/emotions, and that epitaph should be wielded cautiously. You both seem willing to suppose and infer, however I contend you are jumping to conclusions by using the inflammatory term - racist - which technically refers to one who who believes in racial superiority, or one who enacts policy based on race. Thinking Obama a Muslim or a socialist does not translate to one being racist. Misinformed - sure, but racist? No.

    Thoughts?

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