Opinions From A Young Progressive, Volume Three

Why Republicans Have Been Fooled

Over here on the left, we have a bit of a joke. We say that there are two types of Republicans; the manipulators, and the manipulated. I think there are a few more. Those who are genuinely bigots, those who are willfully ignorant, the manipulators mentioned above, and, lastly, those who have romanticized the Republican Party for what it has done in days gone by.

Let’s be honest, progressives, liberals, and left-minded people: the Republican Party of history has done some pretty awesome stuff. They haven’t always been obstructionists and voter suppression artists.

If you didn’t read last week’s Opinions, wherein I dissected the religiously-obsessed GOP platform for this year, you can find that here, or the one from the week before, here.

Little could you tell from current evidence, but the Republican party used to be quite progressive. Here’s an excerpt from one of my colleague’s articles:

Where would you guess the following quote came from?

“We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs — expansion of social security — broadened coverage in unemployment insurance — improved housing — and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.”

If you guessed the 1956 Republican Party Platform, congratulations! Once upon a time, Republicans stood for far-reaching advances in matters of basic human needs. Once upon a time, Republicans stood for expansion of social security. Once upon a time, Republicans stood for broadened coverage in unemployment insurance. Once upon a time, Republicans stood for improved housing. Once upon a time, Republicans stood for better health protection for all our people. And once upon a time, Republicans stood for being warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.

Another Addicting Info piece, by Nathaniel Downes, details how “progressive” used to be a word you could apply to the Republican Party:

“When the word progressive is thrown around in the politics of today, it is always tied to the Democratic party. But it was not long ago where if the word was uttered, it only applied to another party, a fresh upstart party which refused to “play ball” with established power brokers. They took office and attacked corporate interests, corruption, those oppressing labor unions or the minorities of this nation.

What was this miracle party, which put into its platform over 100 years ago that women are equal to men, and that racism was unacceptable in this nation?”

The Republican Party, of course. But the Republican Party of history no longer exists. It simply doesn’t. Now they want “traditional family values” and fiscal conservatism that are used as code words for organized bigotry and failed fiscal policies. However, the right-wing propaganda machine has pushed this agenda onto innocent Americans whom, in some cases, truly believe in that cause.

Here are some reasons why you should reconsider being a Republican:

Do you hate women?

Let’s face it. The right wing has a war on women. I know, I know, there are Republican women that disagree, but it simply isn’t true. Let’s concentrate on abortion, for now. In the recent VP debate, Biden illustrated a point beautifully; he said he was anti-abortion because of his personal beliefs but wouldn’t push those beliefs on others, while Ryan said there is no difference between his public and personal agendas. If you don’t believe abortion is right, don’t get one! However, you shouldn’t restrict someone else’s right to do what they wish.

Not only that, but here’s where the hatred of women comes in: it is a fact that the same percentage of women will seek out abortions whether or not they are legal. And back-alley abortions end all too commonly in lethal hemorrhaging or sterility. Therefore being anti-abortion is, in no way, being pro-life. You’re just anti-choice, which is interesting because the Republican Party claims to champion individual rights.

Are you racist?

If the answer is yes, by all means be a Republican. I have no interest in associating with anyone ignorant enough to truly judge someone from their region of origin. I don’t even view it as a type of hate; more a type of stupidity.

I don’t mean to say all Republicans are racist. That would be wrong. However, racism is accepted by the right, and there is an undercurrent of white/male superiority that can’t help but be slightly racist by definition.

The acceptance of racism on the right can be seen almost weekly; from direct hatred and bigotry from a Republican legislator publishing a book that said slavery was a blessing in disguise and that African-Americans are holding white kids back in school, to the passive racism shown by Ann Romney saying Hispanics need to “get past their bias.” There seems to be a fear among conservatives that if certain demographics achieve equality that somehow their own demographic will suffer for it.

Do you believe in religious freedom?

I’ve gone on and on about the religiousness of the right wing before, so I’ll keep this short. The Republican obsession with Christianity is a danger to this country, Christians and non-Christians alike. First of all, we are not a Christian nation. If we suddenly decide to be, as some of you reading this might wish, which sect of Christianity shall we select? There are over 10,000 different versions in the United States alone. James Madison said it excellently, “The same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects.”

If you value your religious freedom, you value secularity of government. When we secularists say we want “God” off of our money and out of our pledge, it’s not because we dislike your religion! It is because we love our country and value its historical values (the pledge and money did not contain ‘God’ until 1954 and 1956 respectively). Would you want “Allah” in those places? I somehow doubt it.

Do you believe in personal freedom?

This one really ties in to all of the above, with the addition of gay rights (uh oh). See, if you value your personal freedom, why are you supporting a political party that doesn’t? They want to control what gender you have sex with, what you do with your body, even what god you worship!

That isn’t freedom. That is facism. Bush the younger started that with his talk of “freedoms.” There are no “freedoms.” There is simply freedom, or lack of it. For the record, if you think “Obamacare” is taking away your freedom by forcing you to buy health insurance, well, you need to stop watching Fox and go do some research into what Obamacare really does.

When it comes to same-sex marriage, if you have a religious reason for opposing why others get married, go re-read the abortion one. It’s a personal freedom. If you think a couple of men that truly love each other in a romantic way are violating the sanctity of marriage, well, I’ll start to come around (no I won’t) when there aren’t people with seven ex-spouses and 24-hour marriages “just for fun.” Marriage is no longer a sacred concept; individual bonds are. And there is no reason you can justify for opposing it. If you believe in personal freedom, well, you aren’t a Republican.

Do you believe you are intelligent?

If you do, you aren’t a good Republican, because your representatives treat you terribly. Let’s take Mitt Romney for example, and his 47% remark. If you’re an avid conservative and are already think of your arguments about my comments above to put in the comments below, you probably really think that those 47% of people are freeloaders that pay no taxes. Well, first of all, there are many taxes besides Federal income tax (the tax Romney’s statistic came from) and so those people — the working poor, soldiers, and elderly — have contributed regardless. However, he insults his own constituency when he says that; red states have higher welfare rates!

They think they can control you. Don’t let them.

Do you continue doing things repeatedly when they’ve been proven not to work?

If the answer is yes, stay where you are! Fiscally irresponsible is a good way to describe several of the more recent Republican administrations. To face facts, rampant capitalism simply doesn’t work. Superrich companies feel that they can privatize their financial gains and socialize their losses, and that’s exactly what happens. Let’s look at the facts. Back during the Democratic National Convention, I did a piece regarding the fact checking on Bill Clinton’s speech.

Here’s an excerpt that both Bloomberg and FactCheck.org agree is absolutely true:

Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private-sector jobs. So what’s the job score? Republicans: twenty-four million. Democrats: forty-two.”

The simple truth is that the blue has been doing better fiscally for a while now. I’m sure that you’ve seen economists that have argued the opposite, or political figures, but we see that on both sides and the simple truth is that history shows the Democratic side to be better economically. “Trickle-down” economics doesn’t work. By the way, am I the only one that thinks “trickle-down government” doesn’t even really make sense?

You should note I’m not telling you to be democrats. I just wish you wouldn’t be Republicans! Either someone is lying to you, or you are lying. Either way you see it, it’s sad. I understand if you don’t like the Democratic side. I just don’t think you should be part of the voter suppression crowd. Isn’t that anti-democracy? These people represent you! If you don’t want to be blue, I understand. Just be purple. Or green.

Start a new party and get the Tea Partiers out of it at least.

I don’t hold much hope to this reaching any of them, unfortunately. Another fact is that conservative rhetoric has been tied, in studies, to lazy thinking or simple thinking. People that are busy or under the influence of a depressant are more likely to have conservative ideals.

I wrote this in the hope that a few Republicans will wake up and see what is happening. I somehow doubt it.

Next week’s Opinions will explain bias in journalism and the errors on both sides; don’t miss it!

I would be delighted if you joined me on Facebook for instant access to my articles.