BY KENNY BELFORD
There is nothing “grand” remaining about the Grand Old Party. Once a viable national political force, they have now sunk to a reduced base of mainly predominantly white, under-educated, fringe radicals, residing in a few southern regressive states. They did it to themselves, and their leaders seem powerless, or unwilling to reverse the trend.
Actually they no longer have national “leaders,” just individuals more recognizable than others. In place of leaders they just revel in the wisdom of their stars like Joe The Plumber, Sarah Palin, who couldn’t even finish one term as governor, and radio hate mongers.
They’re not part of public debate. They want no part of a debate. They show up at town hall meetings armed with loaded pistols, loaded semi-automatic assault rifles, and they come, not to voice an opinion or debate, but to yell and shout. Their only objective is to ensure no one else can participate.
They don’t express differences of opinions, they make up lies designed to scare and inflame. Political message board sites are loaded with Republican posts serving up the most vile racist terms about the president. Some describe in great graphic detail the joy they would feel watching an actual assassination. It’s been reported that the Secret Service has received a 400% increase in death threats over the previous administration.
A large part of the Republican base calls themselves the “religious right” and they’re equally unhinged. When the president visited Phoenix Aug. 17, local minister, Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church, who strongly expresses hatred for Obama in many of his sermons, told his congregation that he wished him dead. Later it was discovered that Chris Broughton, the man who brought an AR-15 assault rifle to the Phoenix town hall meeting where Obama spoke, had attended Anderson’s sermon. In a later interview, Broughton said he concurred with his pastor’s wish to see Obama “die and go to hell.”
They’ve convinced themselves that the president isn’t even a citizen. He’s a socialist. He’s a Nazi. They have more conspiracy theories than the National Enquirer. It’s as if they’ve become the party of Sasquatch hunters and UFO spotters.
During the president’s speech, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina actually yelled “You lie” during the speech. It was coarse, rude and totally inappropriate in that setting, but this breed of Republican seems to have mastered disruptive yelling and he couldn’t allow the opportunity to escape without showing his skills. The portion of the speech this Republican called a lie dealt with the false claim spread by Republicans that health care reform would cover illegal aliens. When the president stated that illegal aliens would not be covered, it prompted Wilson to yell out, “You lie.” Just for the record, independent fact check sites have backed up the president’s claim. The portion of the bill dealing with this issue is Sec. 246 in HR 3200. It has the title “NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS.” If that isn’t clear enough, the portion states, “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”
What the Republican Congressman was really upset about was having another Republican lie challenged and publicly debunked.
Republicans are floating the new line that all discussion on health care reform needs to be scrapped, and we should just start over. What an absurd concept. Think of it as a strategy in a football game. It’s late in the fourth quarter and the coach of the team losing calls the referee over and suggests scrapping the game played so far, and just starting over. It’s a desperation play on their part after refusing to be involved, except to try to sink it. The Republicans actually have an official policy on health care reform, issued by the Republican National Committee. All they want to do is slow down all discussion of health care reform, hoping it will just go away. They have no interest in working on any bi-partisan measures, just to stall it until it simply fades away. Their position is founded on the belief that this would damage the president’s ability to lead our nation.
Civility, even on the floor of Congress during a prime time presidential speech, has no value to Republicans. We now know they intend to grab their guns before they arrive at Town Hall meetings, and they’re prepared to shout down anyone wanting to discuss the topic. We now know they intend to spread outright lies, and show indignation when challenged on them. We know they’re scared, they’re in disarray and have no ideas other than to yell “NO!” We now know they’re more than willing to inflame, frighten and attempt to divide our nation. Their worst fear has arrived. The Democrats have a leader that can actually lead. He’s smart, very smart, and he’s pragmatic. He’s informed them, in front of the nation, that when they lie he’ll call them out on it. And worst of all, he’s an American of color.
The current crop of Republicans really hates an America that could elect such a person. They really hate an America that could feel compassion for our neighbors. They really hate an America that has a social conscience, displayed in actions, not just the erection of Ten Commandment monuments. They hate an America that wants to be morally responsible, not just in words, but in actions. It’s best illustrated by the Town Hall crowd in Oklahoma City that actually applauded when Sen. Tom Coburn informed a sobbing woman – whose insurance company had denied coverage for her husband’s brain trauma, and a nursing care facility had moved him out informing them, “You’re on your own” – that the government had no responsibility to help her.
That’s who they have become. But the good news is, they were rejected in 2008 and they’re in the minority, and it’s a dwindling minority.
Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Texas Republicans got what they wanted and were allowed to secede from the United States, creating a haven they could all flock to.
It’s just a hunch, but I kind of think the remaining Americans would suddenly become huge supporters of border security.
– Kenny Belford lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer