Where to begin with the current crop of republicans? We have newt Gingrich threatening to lock up any judge who dares to disagree with his edicts when he’s crowned king, I mean, elected president. We have Mitt Romney’s utter tone-deafness to the woes of the middle class. And we have Rick Santorum, a man evidently sprung full grown from some bronze-age cave, fully convinced that women are chattel, and gays should be burnt at the stake.
We have the Virginia ‘trans-vaginal’ law, called, with some hyperbole ‘legal rape’ by some progressives. I say ‘some hyperbole’ because the law certainly shares the same motivations as rape: the suppression, humiliation, and traumatization of women. The author of the bill had the temerity to say that a ‘woman has already consented to being penetrated when she decided to have sex’ – as if having sex with your lover is equivalent to being probed with an instrument by a stranger in a completely medically unnecessary procedure. This comment, coupled with Rush Limbaugh’s recent shocking rants, reveals the depth of vulgar, vitriolic antipathy that many men, it seems especially many republican men, feel towards women, especially women who insist that they are free to govern themselves, instead of being the property or extensions of male ego.
We also have Romney, Santorum and Gingrich all again saying they’ll never apologize for America. I feel like I’m listening to a bunch of churls in 5thgrade. What, America never makes mistakes? Or, we are so fabulous that even if we make mistakes, we shouldn’t acknowledge them? This seems so puerile, so obscenely immature that I cannot take people who say these things seriously. If only the rest of the electorate agreed with me.
We have Santorum throwing the red meat that Obama was ‘weak’ for apologizing for the burning of Korans by our military. One can only think what his reaction would have been had they burned bibles! And the hypocrisy of a god-fearing loyal Catholic like Santorum completely disregarding his Pope’s position on global warming or acting like a blue collar, college-hatin’ Joe when he has two degrees only adds to the sense that most of the Republican candidates and office holders are masters not only of hallucinatory illogic, but also of the most baroque, filigreed, inlaid, burnished hypocrisy ever seen in the already hypocrisy-festooned world of American politics.
Take Gingrich with his not-so-secret desire to abolish the judiciary or Santorum’s comments on church and state. Although these candidates constantly assert that Obama is out to destroy the constitution (when he’s not practicing infanticide or worshipping Satan), it is the Republican presidential hopefuls, and the various state and federal Tea-Party office holders and candidates who seem intent on killing it. They sing its praises while scheming for its abolition. Their collective contempt for the rule of law, whenever it contradicts their beliefs and desires is obscene in office holders and candidates for office alike.
The Republicans seem to have finally drunk their own kook aid. Just as the US essentially created Osama Bin Laden, only to have him murderously turn against us, the Republican elites, from the Koch brothers to Carl Rove all helped foment this type of emotional ‘lizard brain thinking’ amongst the Republican rank and file. They financed the Astroturf Tea Party fanatics, and now the lunatics are running the asylum, to the point that extremely conservative old-line Republicans like Wyoming’s Alan Simpson are actually calling Santorum ‘Homophobic’!
It’s blowback, plain and simple, and I admit to feeling not a small degree of schadenfreude about the whole thing. The big tent of the Republican party has morphed into a tarp slung over a branch; there’s no room in there for rationality. I think I’m seeing, I hope I’m seeing, the death-knell of the party as we’ve come to know it – that is, a party far, far, far to the right of people like Richard Nixon and, yes, even Ronald Reagan. Either the lunatics will be cast out into the wilderness, or the Republican Party will cease to be relevant, as it spews fire and brimstone at a world that largely no longer believes in such things.
America may be a very pious country – but the majority of Americans support limited abortion and contraception rights and the rights of gay people to marry, serve in the military, and to be protected from discrimination.
The majority of Americans actually think that Black people are, wow, just people! And that Mexicans are, wow, just people too! And that those who follow Islam, or Buddha or the Hindu faith are… wait for it… just people too! People who deserve the same respect and protection as those in the majority.
The pity is that such a large minority of Americans don’t believe any of these things, and take seriously those who decry the evils of big government and sing the praises of our constitution while all the while scheming to gut it and insert ‘big government’ not only into our bedrooms, but actually inside our bodies when it suits them.
Samuel Claiborne is a poet, essayist, composer, musician and photographer. A native of New York city, he now makes his home in Rosendale, New York.
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