Power Over Principles: How Republicans Chose Power Over Progress.
Republicans have had a colorful history in this country. The party originally began by fighting to end slavery which they wanted to do by government intervention. They once fought valiantly to end inequality and injustice. The great Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President elected. Republicans had the power to end slavery outright and immediately and they did not. In fact they only accomplished their goal of ending slavery when they had no other option left in order to help them win a war. They did not free the slaves immediately, they waited. Had there been no Civil War, the slaves may not have seen freedom at all or at least not as quickly.
Republicans had power during a period of American history that saw the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Businesses went unregulated; there were no workplace safety rules, and no sanitation guidelines. Workers were paid pennies while the captains of industry lived lavish lifestyles. It wasn’t until Theodore Roosevelt that regulations and a minimum wage were put in place. Republicans have largely disowned Teddy, because he did the right thing to help the people he swore to protect. TR knew what true Republicans had stood for…rights and equality for all citizens. He believed that, “In the long run, this country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless it is a reasonably good place for all of us to live in.”
Fast forward to the 1920′s when Republicans had full control of the government. Was business booming? Yes. But Republicans allowed businesses to be greedy. They allowed banks to speculate/gamble with customer money. They allowed economic “bubbles” to grow and allowed gambling to occur on those bubbles. Sound familiar? The stock market then crashed and all that wealth turned to dust. Unless you were already rich, you were screwed. People’s jobs, money, homes, all lost. It took a Democrat and a World War to lift us out of the Depression. Speaking of World War II, Republicans believed we could co-exist with the Nazis and DID NOT want to get involved in the war at all. Some prominent Republican businessmen such as Prescott Bush, decided that investing in the Nazis would be a good idea. Republicans wanted nothing to do with the rest of the world, (unless they could profit from it), even if it meant our own security was in peril. They were willing to “co-exist” with the Nazis. They must have seen something they liked.
Fast forward again to the 1950′s. Republicans haven’t been in power for quite a stretch. The new strategy? Accuse your political opponents of being un-American, and communists. Communists just happened to be America’s new enemy but the enemy was the Soviet Union, not the Democratic Party. Republicans just needed to scare enough people to gain power which they did. Then came a Republican named Joseph McCarthy who claimed that there were communists everywhere in our country and that we should all be afraid. He couldn’t name one communist though. He went on endless witch hunts, investigating labor unions, the Democratic Party, even Hollywood, where a young liberal and union leader at the time named Ronald Reagan stood strong against McCarthyism. Funny how that worked out. In a way Nazis and Republicans share some similarities. For instance, both hate organized labor unions. McCarthy was revealed to be a fraud but not before an extreme right winger and Glenn Beck influence named Cleon Skousen picked up the strategy of accusing Democrats of being un-American communists as a way of gaining and maintaining political power. That strategy should sound familiar. Republicans have been shamelessly and relentlessly using it for the last decade and even more so these last two years.
Republicans also began attempting to destroy the separation of church and state. Suddenly “God” had to be involved in everything. God even became part of the Pledge of Allegiance, which is also ironic because it was written by a professed socialist. All of a sudden, Republicans declared America as a Christian nation that believed only in God, conveniently forgetting or ignoring Americans of different faiths and the Founding Fathers, who were not Christians either. That battle continues to be waged with the Christian Right Wing becoming even more violent and intolerant and practically forcing God and Christianity down our throats, or have them slit. Then the 1960′s came along and the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. Republicans began pandering to the segregationist South and ran away from their roots as fighters for equality and largely opposed the Civil Rights Act. The party had now become the party of fear and inequality.
Fast forward again to the 1970′s. Nixon is in power and makes contact with China which just so happens to be the very nation that most American jobs are being outsourced to, which Republicans fully support. Nixon also attempted to spy on his political opponents, the Democrats, in an effort to destroy them and make America a one party system. Luckily, the Republicans weren’t smart enough to leave the tape off the door to the Democratic office at the Watergate. If they had, the security guard wouldn’t have suspected a thing. That’s another similarity that Republicans and Nazis share, both want to destroy their opponents. Then came the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts, both of which Republicans opposed. Apparently Republicans don’t care how dirty the water is that we the people drink or how dirty the air is that our children breathe as long as big business can make a few dollars more in profit.
Enter Ronald Reagan, a man who was a liberal for a few decades and fought for labor unions, even led one. He changed his political allegiance because it was clear that the Republican strategy of fear would sway Americans toward conservatism. Reagan was politically savvy, but he also tripled the National Debt and made deals with Iran. Remember Iran-Contra? He promised to destroy Social Security and the Education department but the liberal in him told him not to. He also deregulated industries such as the banking and investment sector. Does the Savings And Loan Crisis ring a bell? But for all of Reagan’s foibles, he never once referred to Democrats as evil or un-American and he knew that the real communists were in the Soviet Union and China.
Fast forward again to the Clinton years. Republicans falsely claimed that Democrats were raising the deficit even though Democrats were the ones that passed the Deficit Reduction Act which also included the Clinton Tax Increases that led to not only more jobs and a stronger economy but a surplus in the Treasury. The Republican congress during the Clinton years didn’t have much to do with the strength of the economy during those years although they did cause the government to lose billions when they shut down the government for a period of time because they weren’t getting their way and thus had to throw a temper tantrum. Then came Republican George W. Bush. He campaigned on being a “uniter” but did nothing but divide this country for eight years. He failed to prevent the largest terrorist attack in US history even after being warned by the highest levels of our intelligence network. He then took us into two wars (one illegally) and continued the deregulation of industries including the banking, oil, and mining industries. Outsourcing increased. The surplus he was left with was quickly turned into a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit and even more added to the National Debt. He failed to respond quickly and adequately to Katrina victims. He also signed an executive order allowing higher arsenic levels in our drinking water and supported torture.
Fast forward to 2008. The Republicans, so embarrassed after being beaten by Democrats and the black man who became President by a landslide, fell back to their strategy of accusing their opponents of being communists and un-American. They refused to work with President Obama even on legislation that they would normally agree with. From the moment Obama was elected, Republicans refused to acknowledge that he was the rightful President. They accused him of being a terrorist, and a foreigner. Republicans have demonstrated further prejudices against Hispanics, Muslims, African-Americans, and anyone who isn’t a Christian or Republican. They claim to revere the Constitution but ignore the 1st, and want to repeal the 14th, 17th, 19th, and 22nd Amendments. They have intentionally created a “news” organization dedicated to conservative views. To hell with actual facts and sources. That’s why they accuse the real media of being socialist. So that they can discredit the truth and real facts, and indoctrinate the population with what they want you to believe. Republicans have become so extreme that they have threatened to secede from the Union, something that Lincoln would have absolutely despised.
The Republican Party has lost all its principles. They want to legislate morals, something that would take real government intervention into our every day private lives, which is something else Republicans claim to be against. The American people are in danger of losing their nation. They are letting fear and lies cloud their judgment. Republicans have employed the same strategies since the 1950′s and it is time to reject that Republican strategy. There is only one way to achieve this. Gut the Republican Party and start over again. It would be like taking out a dictator and installing a sane government. Republicans aren’t going to change their ways. Their thinking comes from people like McCarthy, Skousen, and Beck, and organizations like the Heritage Foundation that push the hate, fear, and lies to grab power. This isn’t about ideas to move the country forward, its all about power and who gets to wield it. Democrats have real ideas. Republicans do not know what ideas are. At least not anymore.
This is a dangerous time in America. The electorate in past times has rejected fear and insanity and hate. But now the party of no has their own network and internet sites dedicated to fear, insanity and hate. It’s hard for the public to elect the politicians who have legitimate ideas, when the right wing counters by accusing those politicians of being un-American communists and then proceed to twist history and spread lies. It confuses the public and invigorates those that truly hate, like the Nazis and the KKK. Those groups grow stronger and more determined because they thrive on hate. They are targeting those who are ignorant and sway them to join their causes. This country is heading toward a second civil war. Except it will be a racial and political war. The American people must come to their senses and examine the Republican party and what they are saying. Do actual research and fact finding instead of blindly following a talking head on TV or a politician. This country has too much to lose and we have already lost so much.
The original Republican Party platform called for an end to the spread of slavery, Tariffs that protected American industries, passage of the Homestead Act which granted free lands in the west to settlers, and the funding of a Transcontinental Railroad. Republicans used to support tariffs, now they support outsourcing. Republicans supported granting free land to settlers; in today’s terms, Republicans would call that a handout, which they are also against. Republicans also supported the government funding a railroad. Again, this is something Republicans would reject today because it involves the government. Republicans have abandoned their former ideals and beliefs for large corporations and the wealthy who only care about profits. This was the way it was after the Civil War, in the 1920′s, in the 1950′s, the 1980′s and of course the 1990′s through today.
Republican voters must cleanse their party and re-examine their ideals and principles. They must look back at their party’s origins and look to the greatest leaders in their history, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. They must reject the radical extremists which have taken over, and bring back the moderates that exemplify compromise and sanity. Republicans are not going to get smaller government by electing extremists. Instead, the extremists will be even MORE willing to use government to achieve their goals of destroying separation of church and state, legislating our private lives, screwing around with our health, dismantle environmental protections, further our dependence on foreign oil and Chinese money, and do it all in the name of our Founding Fathers who would most certainly disapprove. The Republican beginnings were honorable and admirable but they have since run so far away from their roots that they will end up doing what they fought against so long ago- the destruction of America.