Hee Haw Authoritarianism: Republicans vs. Everybody

the road

Oh, that wacky Confederacy. You just can’t predict what that redoubt of white Southernism, the Republican Party will uncork next. One day it’s the magic biology of “legitimate rape”, the next day it’s secession, and the day after that it’s a machine gun in every glove compartment to guarantee a safer America.

Republicans may not like Social Security, Medicare, unions, foreigners, immigrants, feminists, affirmative action, poor people, environmentalists, scientists, investments in the middle class, investments in educational, physical and technological infrastructure., the middle class, voting, progressive taxes, the forty-seven percent, Planned Parenthood, contraception, the safety net, evolution, the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th Amendments, and recently express some apparent ambivalence about the 19th, academia, Hollywood, urban America, protected wilderness, government workers, community organizers, voter registration groups, the minimum wage or OSHA. But they sure like guns. Lots of guns. And rich people. Looooove em some oil moguls and private equity Pooh Bahs. Take a picture of Donald Trump clutching a Bushmaster to his bosom and you’ve got yourself the official poster for today’s Republican Party. Yee-Ha.

Now that Obama has won a second term, armed insurrection, warnings of secession and civil war once again are among Republican talking points. And to those they’ve added threats of impeachment. You knew that was coming in the second term: the drama being only what the cockamamie trumped up rationale would be. That’s what the Republican Party does now when the opposition party they loonily consider illegitimate, even when a majority of our democracy prefers it, holds the executive branch. So finally we have our answer. The official Obama behavior for which the call to impeachment and revolution will be issued is that the man has the temerity to lead the national effort to remove military assault weapons from American streets and to require background checks on those purchasing weaponry at gun shows. Let’s hang the treasonous bastard!

What a large part of America knows, but what Wolf Blitzer, David Gregory and the other Very Serious People, the bishops and high priests of the Journalistic Church of Phony Equivalence with its supernatural deity ‘Balance’ won’t straightforwardly declare, the objective truth pusillanimous pundits will never dare broach, is that in large part today’s Republican Party is comprised of fools. Yes, fools. Dangerous fools. And not just fools. Cover your ears you delicate flowers on the panel of Meet the Press: Today’s Republicans are also nuts, ignoramuses, radicals, deranged ideologues and drooling cultists devoted to the return of a distant or mythical past.

That would be fine, except, despite their admitted value as a comedic national treasure, this amalgam of rubes, dolts and bug-eyed declaimers continues to retain a degree of power in the nation disproportionate to its actual numbers. The primary mechanisms of this minority usurpation of democratic governance are the Senate filibuster and the gerrymandering of congressional districts. The Republican base literally may be dying out along with its pungent variety of American ‘conservatism’ but this minority still hopes and still attempts, and will continue to strive to effectively rule the country anyhow. And one look at the festering stagnation that seems to abide eternally as this pack of hooligans holds the nation hostage on virtually any issue, from default on the nation’s debts to managing the gun glut informs one that they are successful to an astonishing degree.

Add to the filibuster and gerrymandering the Republican project to suppress the vote, and to weasel changes in the way electoral votes are assigned and you have the keys to how a minority fragment the majority largely finds repugnant aspires to control and to suppress and to repress the rest of the population. While far right power recedes, and will continue to recede at the presidential level, the sane majority’s current fix informs us all of the importance of state and local elections, for it is governors and state legislatures responsible for aligning voting districts after every census, for making laws pertaining to how elections are conducted and who can vote, and how electoral votes in a state are to be assigned. The Republican base will never be moderated or modernized. The Limbaugh Industrial Complex will keep it riled, rabid and misinformed. Diminishing its power to a level that is proportionate to its actual numbers is the only realistic available solution. In other words, who gets elected to governorships and state legislatures matters a lot, a whole lot.

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