Friday, May 01, 2009

Beating The Hell Out of Very Dead Horses

Back in August, 2007 I posted in this blog an open letter to Alaska's senators at the time, Ted Stevens, and Lisa Murkowski. In that letter I used the analogy of 'Beating a Dead Horse.' The phrase has come to mean insisting on re-doing something that has not worked.

No matter how many times you point errors out to people, some will stubbornly remain hell bound on doing things their way. Some simply will not allow realities to intrude. Such is the state the 'conservative' wing of the Republican Party finds itself today. It is in fact, in a state of denial.

Conservative Republicans today implacably insist on their 'bed rock basics' which they claim as their 'core values'. To wit:
  • Anti-abortion, & denying individuals the right to choose;
  • Lower taxation - especially for the already rich;
  • 'Social conservatism' which translates into denying civil rights for homosexuals;
But unfortunately for today's Republicans, here are the stark realities:
  • On abortion: Poll after poll show that a majority of Americans identify themselves as 'pro-choice' or support an individual's right to choose;
  • On Christianity in government: A large majority of Americans defend separation of church and state, despite a majority who claim to be Christians;
  • On Taxation: No one likes to pay taxes, but every rational person recognizes the need for taxation 'for the common good'. Polls show people are split about even on the current level of taxation:
  • On civil rights for homosexuals: A hefty majority of Americans support full civil rights for homosexuals, including marriage. Several states have recently passed laws permitting marriage between homosexuals;
  • On the ownership of assault weapons: A majority of polls show a majority of Americans support stricter regulation on gun ownership, and registration of guns.

Where does this leave conservative Republicans and their insistence on their 'core values'? Well, ahem. Solidly to the right of the majority of Americans. Leave aside for the moment the Republicans' generic demonization of anyone who disagrees with them as 'un-American' or even traitorous. Leave aside their insistence on the wholesale use of fear tactics to the disgust of most Americans. And, even leave aside their asinine and implacable policy of refusing to even talk with anyone perceived as an 'enemy' (read, 'anyone of opposite or different political persuasions').

How can you expect to come to terms with someone like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, Fidel Castro of Cuba or Hugo Chávez of Venezuela if you refuse to even talk to them for Heavens sakes? Such attitudes leave few options short of blockades, economic sanctions or war, none of which promote amicable relationships. Sometimes I am bound to wonder just what planet these kinds of Republicans are from anyhow?

After losing two straight elections, Republicans are said to be in disarray today, as Barack Obama and Democrats in general ride on waves of approval, optimism and hope. I see this as the inevitable result of the recent Republican 'head-in-the-sand' positions on nearly everything, and their denial of political realities. They have in truth, moved very, very far from the Party of Lincoln. It is even conceivable we might see the total disintegration of the Republican Party as we know it.

But, I don't think so. Sure, the capture of the party by the radical southern and western factions, allied with evangelical Christians, has moved the party far to the right of everyone else. Yet, there remains a core of decent, moderate people at the heart of the party who can still see the realities. Though pushed to the side at the moment, I believe clearer, saner heads will eventually prevail to bring the party back towards the center. Otherwise they are finished. Americans in general do not want radical fanatics running our country. We simply will not permit it for long.

After eight years of right-wing excess, Americans are now solidly pulling the reins back towards the center. The Republicans have little choice but to rejoin the majority of Americans if they hope to retain any credibility as a party. I sincerely hope they may do so.

And beating long-dead horses just won't cut it.

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