BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
Too bad that we have this mixed up nomenclature for our party symbols. We really should name our parties after their style of conduct. In that case, Demos could be deserving of their donkey symbol. Indeed they are a bit rambunctious and difficult to handle and organize at times. But on the other hand, they are very sure-footed, and they are often employed in carrying people along the most hazardous and treacherous paths. They are most reliable in traversing the high mountain trails, and along the edges of deep gorges such as the Grand Canyon.
We trust the donkeys with our lives.
Elephants aside, it seems to us that Republicans should be symbolized by the mule. Mules may be excellent beasts of burden, but they do not ride easily. Mules are considered both dumb and stubborn. It takes a lot of training to get a mule into the harness with others, but then they work well in gangs – witness the 20-mule team Borax, appropriately advertised by no less a personage than Ronald Reagan. They pull their load well, but it is difficult to keep them headed in the right direction.
And then, Republicans are hybrids. They are a party with a misguided populist Tea Party and religious base, mixed with cohesive conservative leadership, and carried by financing from corporations and billionaires. That is something of a mule.
Bing Crosby helped popularize a song back in the ‘40s, when this writer was a young Navy radioman in training during WWII. It was called “Swing on a Star.” Quite applicable to the behavior of our Republican group, it went like this:
“Would you like to swing on a star,
Carry moonbeams home in a jar,
And be better off than you are,
Or would you rather be a mule?
“A mule is an animal with long funny ears.
He kicks up at anything he hears.
His back is brawny and his mind is weak.
He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak.
And by the way, if you hate to go to school,
You may grow up to be a mule.”
How could any casual observer of our state and national political scene fail to see the resemblance between the mulish behavior of today’s Republicans and that lyrical description?
Who, other than the Republican base, would constantly kick up a fuss over anything and everything they hear? That rumor mill runs rampant daily on the internet through mails and websites. Their deliberate perpetuation of such known lies as the birthers pass along is illustrative of stupidity – either plain or corrupted by evil intent. Their media spokespersons constantly vilify their competing political personalities with falsehoods, lending credence to an underlying mean spirit.
When in office and dominant in houses of Congress or the Legislature, these mulish Republicans eschew any decent, positive leadership toward goals helpful or productive for the people. Instead, they follow the whims of their most radical elements, promoting government interference with women’s personal matters, turning the country into a gun-toting wild west, persecution of any who are different from the rest or follow a different religion, and attacking education, culture, science, and the arts.
These hard-headed radicals want to use government as their tool to force their beliefs upon others to follow, often ignoring the Constitution to do so.
The other thrust of these mulish Republicans is to push the agenda of their corporate and billionaire masters for cutting taxes. Of course, that tax cutting agenda concentrates of cutting corporate taxes, cutting taxes of the wealthy, and giving out tax breaks for the business constituency. These poor dumb mules probably don’t even know they are being used for nefarious purposes against the working class to which they probably belong.
They have been led to believe that it is good for America to cut services to the people, persecute public service occupations, and trade tax breaks for servile jobs.
Now set free by the Republicans on the Supreme Court, these corporate and rich mule-trainers and drivers are afraid of nobody. They believe that they can go out and buy enough television advertising to convince a gullible public that black is white, evil is good, and that they are patriotically serving the nation and the people’s interest. Can they really do that?
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer